• Fr. Daniel Gifford

In the Hands of the Builder

Dear St. Louis Parishioners, The Lord has laid the foundation and He continues to build. We are drawing very near to the end of another Liturgical Year, as next weekend is already Christ the King! As we look back on this year, we have focused on the first of the Five Pillars of Living Rooted in Communion (Prayer, Humility, Integrity, Responsibility,

and Hospitality), which I presented in detail back at the end of the Summer of 2018. That first pillar, which builds on the Foundation (Relationship→ Identity → Mission), is Prayer. After a Lenten Spirituality Series on Learning to Listen to the Voice of God and the opportunity to explore prayer more deeply through various groups which have been going through the Oremus study series (from Ascension Press), we have been bringing this focus on Prayer to a culmination by a 10 week preaching series on the Our Father, which has its conclusion this weekend. Meanwhile, we have already introduced the next Pillar - Humility - which we will dive into throughout 2020, with our Day of Recollection last month. So, we see how the Lord is still building on the foundation He has laid for us. He laid the foundation for the Church with Himself as the Cornerstone (1 Peter 2, Eph. 2) along with the foundation stones of the Twelve Apostles (Eph. 2, Rev. 21) and has called us living stones (1 Peter 2). And so, He has continued to build throughout Salvation History. Thus, we must come to the Lord in prayer with the humility that embraces being a stone in the Hands of the Builder. Yet, when we ponder the lives of the saints, we see how the Builder uses His living stones to assist with the building. One clear example, in which this image stands out boldly and clearly, is Saint Francis of Assisi. Francis heard the call of the Lord to “Repair My House, for it is falling into ruins.” This is often wrongly misinterpreted or misquoted as “rebuild my church,” but the problem with that understanding is that to rebuild would be to lay a new foundation. If we seek to lay any other foundation than that which Christ Himself has laid, we are not building the Church, but an invention of our own. That which we create will come to an end, as this weekend’s Gospel reminds us. The Foundation He has laid is strong. But, the house needs work. We have had an ironic reminder of this in the masonry repair work, which was underway on our Church building throughout the fall and will have to be resumed in the spring when good weather returns. Meanwhile, Francis heard this call from the Cross of San Damiano, of which we have a copy hanging in the gym (front cover), across from the Image of Divine Mercy. The original cross was an icon crucifix hanging in the old Church of San Damiano, which was physically crumbling, causing Francis to initially take the call very literally. The icon features saints gathered around the cross, inviting us to contemplate how Christ, the cornerstone rejected by the builders, drew all to Himself, as He promised (John 12:32). Contemplating the death of Our Lord on the cross draws us to Him, enabling us to be ready stones in the Hands of the Builder. Indeed, the foundation was laid by Christ, who laid down His life for us. May we allow ourselves to be laid down in the house He is building.

ADVENT AROUND THE CORNER: It’s hard to believe we are here already, but Advent is only two weeks away. Stay tuned for all kinds of details, including extended times for Reconciliation, adjusted office hours, early bulletin deadlines, and some adjusted daily Mass times after holidays. Most importantly, let us remember to be preparing ourselves spiritually for this time of renewal at the beginning of a new Liturgical Year.

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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