• Fr. Daniel Gifford

HIDDEN TREASURES

Jesus tells us just how much is hidden within a tiny little mustard seed. What does it take for that abundance of life within us to come forth? The waters needed to bring the abundance of life hidden within us is nothing less than the waters of hope that we see in the Blood and Water, pouring forth from His pierced side. These “waters” are also known as Divine Mercy. This stream of hope is depicted in the Divine Mercy image, which Jesus instructed Saint Faustina (whose feast day is this Saturday, October 5) to paint according to the vision she saw when He appeared to her. This past year, we were given another copy of the image, which came from the Philippines (thank you, Amie Neiman). The timing of this donation was quite providential, as I had just been thinking that it would be nice to have at least one more Christ-centered image in the gym to “watch over” the kids as they play. Also, the style of our new gift was perfect for that purpose, which is why it hangs there to this day, on the opposite wall as the crucifix.

This is rather fitting since Divine Mercy is an image of the Risen Christ, appearing with His glorified wounds. The primary wound of importance in the image is the wound in His Heart. His Sacred Heart remains hidden from sight, although He is shown pulling His tunic aside, so that the glorious stream of Divine Mercy may pour forth. It invites us to ponder the endless treasure hidden within His Heart for us, and also the treasure hidden within our own hearts, which He is waiting to bring to life, the more that we open them to receive His gift. Especially as the children run and play beneath the image, it is worthwhile to consider the great potential of every human life, which the Lord is still bringing into fruition as His Merciful Love continues to create us. This is especially fitting, as we begin Respect Life Month this weekend. The kind of overflowing love of human life, which is strong enough to overcome our every doubt, fear, or ideology will only come from an outpouring of God’s Divine Mercy, bringing newness of life to our hearts and to our world. There really is no reasonable, scientific doubt of the fact that the new life in the womb truly is a unique human life, as it has its own unique DNA and the only thing that decides whether it is treated like a human life is the choice of the mother (or in many cases, those who are pressuring her into a decision). The facts are clear. Regardless of the opinions of those outside the womb, the life within the womb is in fact a unique human life with immeasurable dignity, as he or she is created in the image and likeness of God. Immeasurable potential lies hidden within each one of those unique human lives, even as they begin to grow and develop within the womb. The infinite riches of mercy and grace hidden in the heart of God are meant for those lives as much as for yours and mine, and although we should not fear they will be denied of them in eternity, neither should they be denied the opportunity in life to live an abundant life in the joy of the Gospel. Likewise, every life that ends prematurely by euthanasia still held immeasurable potential to touch the hearts of others in their lives. Just as every life is precious and has immeasurable potential, so also every moment we have to spend on this earth alongside our family, friends, and loved ones. The gift of human life is always worthy of being more than simply respected. It is worthy of being cherished. We should not oversimplify or trivialize the deep pains and often hidden wounds, hidden sometimes even from those who carry them, that cause someone to choose to support a decision against life. We should be sensitive to those wounds, out of respect for the dignity of those who suffer from them. We should pray for their healing, as we implore God’s Divine Mercy to be poured forth for all of our wounded hearts. Likewise, we should extend this mercy to anyone we encounter, especially anyone who might entrust to us the sacred gift of knowing a secret hurt that they carry with them. So often those hurts remain hidden within the dark and people carry around pains from decisions that they believe they cannot bring to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, while the Lord is simply waiting to open the rich treasure of Merciful Love hidden in His Heart for them, complete with all of its healing power. This Respect Life Sunday, let us implore the Mercy of God to heal the hearts of men and women from whatever wounds hold them back from embracing the gift of every human life, including their own.

HOPE AND HEALING: One opportunity for individuals to find healing of this sort can be found at a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat, which exists to help people find hope and healing after the trauma of an abortion. We have tried to keep information about these retreats accessible through our bulletin, website and other media. If you or someone you know would benefit from such a retreat, and you don’t know where to find the information, please do not hesitate to reach out to me and I would love to help point you in the right direction. The next retreat is coming up very soon on October 25-27. Also, our parish has made it part of our mission to support these retreats with prayer. Please consider taking a slot to offer prayer for those on the retreat during that weekend and watch the bulletin and other announcements for details.

DAY OF RECOLLECTION: Now that we are into October, I would like to remind you about the great opportunity we have coming up on Saturday, October 19th. Our Parish Day of Recollection will welcome Dr. Lawrence Feingold to offer us a series of reflections on humility as a foundation for prayer. Perhaps you have seen his testimony on EWTN or similar outlets and have seen the passion with which he shares his own realization that we have a God who alone is capable of fulfilling our immeasurable desires. I hope you can join us for this day of prayer and reflection, as we wonder together at our Great God, that we may strive to walk humbly with Him each day.

PARISH COUNCIL THANK YOU: Last weekend, I had the chance to extend my gratitude to all of our volunteers at the Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. A few volunteers “snuck in” some extra volunteering in the preparation for and execution of the event, such as The Word of God Prayer Group, who helped set up and decorate the tables, and Andrew Ellis, who spent much of the event trying to get our projector working. I want to extend additional thanks to them as well. But, most especially, I want to thank our Parish Council, who did most all of the hard work to help me put on a great event: Linda Carter, Jeff Ellis, Patti Kelly, Caylee Kennedy, Quint Quiram, Mandy Robinson, and Mary Paula Schmitt. Thank you all!

In Christ through Mary,

Fr. Gifford

St. Louis, pray for us!

Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!

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