Fr. Daniel Gifford
Let the Dead Come Alive
Updated: Aug 5, 2019
What?! A station of the cross on the cover during Ordinary Time?! You may be thinking,
“Wow, we must be running out of images to focus on in the bulletin!” Well, it is true that we are nearing the end of our Images of Saint Louis features, which have been a part of our bulletin for almost two years now. But, you may be surprised that we have more left than you might guess. So, that is not the only reason that we will start occasionally featuring the stations, even in Ordinary Time. An important aspect of Ordinary Time is learning to carry our cross daily. We want to make this more than just simply a figure of speech, but truly a way of life, for it is the way to salvation, the only way to the Resurrection. In order to live this more deeply, as so many saints over the years have told us, we must grow in our devotion to the Passion of Christ. The point of carrying our cross is not just to toughen up and press on, but to learn to walk with Christ, especially when the cross becomes heavy or the need to sacrifice becomes clear. This weekend, that need to sacrifice, to be willing to allow the old self to be put to death, so that the new man can come alive, is very clear in our readings. We must not be overcome by vanity and greed, but focus on the treasures in heaven that we store up by living for communion with God and with one another in Him, all the days of our lives. As St. Paul says clearly in our second reading, “Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ our life appears, then you too will appear with Him in glory.” Recently, our parish high school youth ministry group got to meet, listen to, and even hang out with a Catholic artist who articulates this beautifully in his latest album “Pride and Joy.” Steven Joubert is the lead musician for the Alive in You camps (our summer mission trip). During the programs at camp, he rarely played his own music, out of a humble acknowledgment of the fact that the teens don’t know his music and his goal was to engage them in the program and help them learn to worship Jesus Christ through song, not to sell his own music. But, he is a very talented artist and his insightful new album deals with the true joy that comes from facing the ways that the seven deadly sins have snuck into the “mansion” of our souls, begun to hide away and take residence, so that we can “let the proud man lie and the dead come alive.” We do this by drawing near to Christ in His Passion and choosing to rest with Him, even - figuratively and spiritually - in the tomb (front cover), trusting that the Resurrection awaits all those who offer their hearts to Him, so that the old self can be put to death and we may truly come to life in the joy of living for heaven every day! This is where true joy comes from. It begins anew when we allow the Holy Spirit to purify our hearts of any pride, vanity, greed or any of the seven deadly sins, which lie to us that we can find satisfaction in the ‘treasures’ of this world. Our treasure is in heaven. So, live for heaven today. As Steven says, “If you wanna live forever in the sun, dig six feet deep and lay your pride inside; If you wanna live in a world without end, don’t worry what you did; Pick up and start again.”
And if you would like to support a Catholic artist who is part Praise & Worship, part Southern Rock, and a little bit folksy bluegrass-style Gospel, check out Steven Joubert’s “Pride and Joy.” Also, he didn’t ask me for this little promotion. I sincerely kept thinking of his lyrics when I sat down to write this and decided he is well worth promoting to you all.
CARING FOR THIS BUILDING: As you may have noticed, the stonework on our beautiful church building is in great need of attention. With much deterioration over the years, including moisture seeping through, resulting in more water inside and even flaking of the stones in many places, we are long overdue for an extensive masonry repair project, that requires the technical expertise of the artisans doing the work. I am happy to share the good news that we have been looking into this, it has been approved both by our own parish Building and Grounds Committee and the Diocese of Peoria, and the work is scheduled to begin before the end of August. All of the repairs will take place from the outside, meaning that it will not require any change in our Masses or the rest of our schedule, but you will encounter scaffolds and other temporary fixtures on your way in and out, for the duration of the project, which is estimated at two months. I am very excited about how this will enable us to continue to use this beautiful building to worship God and serve His people for many years to come. And I am also grateful to God for all of your generosity, which makes it possible for us to embark upon this expansive project, so that we can take such good care of this facility. Thank you all for your generous stewardship!
A SUMMER OF HARD WORK: On a related note, you may notice a lot of improvements around the campus in recent months. Two unsung heroes of our parish staff are Bill Uher (Maintenance) and Mark Mead (Janitor). They have both been working very hard and have done so much to help care for what has been entrusted to us. This year, they also had some extra summer help: Nick Lough and Tim Daluga. This trial run of recruiting a small summer crew was very fruitful, so I look forward to what the future holds. Thank you to our entire summer work crew for all of the great work they have done around our grounds!
ONE MORE WEEK: Now, we enter the last week of the summer for most of our children and families, before returning to school. Please enjoy your last week of summer and know of my prayers, as you transition into what we hope will be another great school year for you all.
In Christ through Mary,
St. Louis, pray for us!
Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!