Fr. Daniel Gifford
In the Light of His Glory
Dear St. Louis Parishioners,
This past Friday, we just celebrated the Feast of the Presentation. I touched on it in last week’s bulletin, in preparation. But, this great celebration is actually one of the landmarks of the Liturgical Year (after all, it is a sort of “bonus” Christmas celebration early in Ordinary Time) and deserves even more attention. So, allow me to follow up again this weekend. Last week,we discussed how one of the key themes of the Presentation is the Light of Christ breaking into the world, as Simeon refers to the Christ Child as “a light for revelation to the gentiles.” Well, what does it mean for us to live in that light, the light of the King of Glory, as the psalm response for that day refers to Him? It means living our vocation, answering the call of the Lord to follow Him and walk with Him in His Light. We see this referenced in the windows along the Eastern Wall of the Adoration Chapel. Since the Presentation window (front cover) marks the last of the windows along that wall that I have featured on the bulletin cover, I want to take a moment and consider how all of the windows along that wall flow together. As well as considering the meaning of the windows themselves, it is also often meaningful to consider their placement in the Church and in relation to one another. Sometimes the placement and order can be puzzling and unclear, but other times, we can see some definite connections. The process may involve some creative thinking and speculation, without knowing for certain the original intention behind the art and architecture. But, even without that certainty, we can arrive at some interesting insights. For example, reading from right to left, we might notice that the Wedding Feast at Cana window is before the Presentation window, which clearly came first in the story of Salvation History. But, consider for a moment going all the way back to the North end of the chapel and moving toward the back. First, we see the image of the cross and the rings (seemingly, wedding rings), reminding us how married love is the “primordial sacrament” of God’s love (to borrow a phrase of St. John Paul II). This speaks not only to those called to marriage, but everyone of all vocations and stages of life, as a reminder of how our love for one another is meant to image God’s love. Next, we see the Holy Family window, depicting the beautiful harmony within that family, which fulfilled its mission of
imaging God’s love so perfectly. Again, it speaks first of all to families, but to all of us who are called to build up the family of the Church, and indeed even the human family. Human community is meant to reflect the inner life of God, who is a Communion of Persons, perfectly united in Love. Next, we see what we need to do if we are to answer this lofty call to be an image of His Love: Pray and Work. It is not easy, but takes hard work, constant effort, selflessness and prayer (recourse to Love Himself). Any experienced married couple knows this well. Before the next block of windows, we might stop at that beautiful painting of our patron King Saint Louis IX, falling down before our Mother, the Queen Mother of the King of Kings, offering his scepter and crown to her. Overwhelmed by the great task before him (as king, but again, we can relate this to our own vocations), he turns and gives it all to Mary. We, then, imagine Mary turning to her Son, and interceding on his behalf, as she did at the Wedding Feast (next window) and then turning back to us with the simple command: “Do whatever He tells you.” Then, we begin to see how Christ renews and elevates the vocation of every man and woman. He takes our simple yes and transforms it into something new, beautiful and glorious, symbolised at Cana, both by the water turned into wine and by the elevation of marriage into a Sacrament of the New Covenant. Next, we see a married couple presenting their child to God (Presentation window), who gave them the gift from the beginning. As a married couple produces the fruit of their love to the One who is the Source of all Love, so we are called to remember that our vocations, the gifts of ourselves in love, are meant to bear fruit. It is God who makes such new life and growth possible and it is to God that we seek to offer back the good fruit that is borne of our daily yes to our vocations. This is just a glimpse of what it means to live in the Light of the King of Glory. It all begins with saying yes to the life He is calling us to live. We continually look to Him (trusting also in the intercession of our Mother), for strength and grace along the way. Whatever good comes from the gift of ourselves, we seek to bring to the Lord as the offering we present at His altar at every Mass. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
ANOINTING TO THE SICK: I am happy to announce that we will continue our parish custom of offering the Anointing of the Sick to those in need on the Sunday closest to the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes (2/11), which this year happens to actually be Sunday. So, next Sunday, this will be offered. I will elaborate at Mass, next Sunday, on who should receive and when. As a reminder, if you ever have a loved one in need of the sacrament, but not able to be at Church, please let me know.
In Christ through Mary,
St. Louis, pray for us!
Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!