Fr. Daniel Gifford
INCARNATE IN OUR HOMES
Perhaps you too have heard the story about Saint Teresa of Avila enthusiastically proclaiming to her sisters, working hard in the kitchen at their convent: “He is here. The Lord is here, with us among the pots and pans!” If so, perhaps I am not the only one who thinks of this charming little moment in the life of that spiritual master, when looking upon the image of the Kitchen Madonna (front cover) which hangs in our parish kitchen. On this Feast of the Holy Family, with the memories of family Christmas gatherings fresh in our minds, may this image prompt us to give pause and reflect. Do I stop and notice the Lord present to me, amidst my daily activities, even in my own home and family? The best reflection I can think of to help us ponder this thought can be found in a book that I shared with you all a few weeks ago, during the Second Sunday in Advent: Caryll Houselander’s The Reed of God. “There are many people in the world who cultivate a curious state which they call ‘the spiritual life.’ They often complain that they have very little time to devote to the ‘spiritual life.’ The only time that they do not regard as wasted is the time they can devote to pious exercises: praying, reading, meditations, and visiting the church. All the time spent in earning a living, cleaning the home, caring for the children, making and mending clothes, cooking, and all the other manifold duties and responsibilities, is regarded as wasted. Yet it is really through ordinary human life and the things of every hour of every day that union with God comes about. Although human nature is the material which God has made for the fulfilling of His will in us, and although human nature is something we all share, and although we each have the same purpose of knowing and loving God, we do not all achieve that purpose in the same way…” (page 26). May we allow the Lord to enter into the lived reality of our vocations, especially the lived reality of family life. May this Feast
of the Holy Family remind us of how the Lord spent the first thirty years of His thirty-three years walking on this earth: living in a real human family. May our own real human families be places where we invite the Lord to be present, recognize and cherish His presence, and seek to introduce Him to others. Likewise, may our parish family also be a place where we recognize the Lord present in our midst, including among the pots and pans, as parishioners work hard to prepare a funeral luncheon or a meal or snack for any other event. May we stop and recognize Him that we may be ready to point out His presence to others and so bring greater JOY TO THE WORLD. MERRY CHRISTMAS!
MARIAN CONSECRATION INVITATION: On the Fourth Sunday of Advent, I concluded the preaching series on Our Blessed Mother by talking about Marian Consecration, including an open invitation to anyone who would like to join me in renewing your consecration or making it for the first time! The consecration will take place on February 2nd, the Feast of the Presentation (that “bonus Christmas” celebration that comes early in Ordinary Time), on which day I will bless and use a brand new Marian vestment for the parish. More information on that celebration to come as it gets closer. For the preparation, we will begin on December 31. Most of the preparation is done individually. However, there will be a very brief (approximately 30 minutes), optional gathering weekly on Saturday mornings at 9:30 AM. This will not be a class, but simply a short reflection on a decade of the rosary and an opportunity for questions and lite discussion on your readings from the week. If there is a desire for further discussion, I would encourage forming small groups to journey through the preparation together and would be willing to help facilitate this, if desired. For individual preparation, I would recommend reading Fr. Gaitley’s 33 Days to Morning Glory, or one of the other great books on Marian Consecration, and praying the recommended prayers within. To all of those interested in joining, I look forward to being united in prayer with you and I will see you at 9:30 on Saturday morning, January 4th, if you can make it. We will meet in the church for the first meeting.
SPECIAL SCHEDULES IN THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS: As we continue in the Christmas Season, it is important to note that our schedule is different than usual at times. The parish office will be closed beginning on Tuesday, December 24th, until it reopens on Monday, January 6th. Some of the staff and I will be coming in on a few occasions in that time to check on messages and attend to a few other pressing tasks. But, we will not be opening the office to walk-in business. I hope that you enjoy this time with your loved ones. I will certainly be watching my messages (and remember that you can contact me for emergencies by calling the Parish Office phone number and selecting option 6 which is for funeral arrangements and medical emergencies) while I am in town. I will be out of town most of the week of December 30th. Also, remember the special Mass times for Mary, Mother of God (January 1), which can be found printed in this bulletin. In order to focus on this holy day, the Tuesday morning Mass and adoration will be canceled on New Years Eve. We will resume our regular Mass schedule on the week of January 6th.
In Christ through Mary,
St. Louis, pray for us!
Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!