On Monday, September 27th, St. Mary’s will be privileged to host the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima. This statue has been making its way through a number of parishes throughout the Archdiocese over the past month and we are grateful to have it with us for a day of prayer and devotion.
The Pilgrim Statue itself was designed in 1947, a smaller version of the same statue erected in Fatima, Portugal that year. The image reflects the precise instructions of Sister Lucia (the surviving seer at Fatima). Her desire was that the pilgrim image represent Our Lady’s position when she revealed herself as the Immaculate Heart to the shepherds in 1917. Many miracles and conversions have been attributed to the veneration of this statue and, in New Orleans, during a tour there in 1972, the statue famously shed tears. The then Archbishop of New Orleans had the moisture analyzed and it was confirmed that the moisture was that of human tears.
The statue will be here at St. Mary’s for most of the day on Monday the 27th – there will be opportunities for prayer, to learn more about the statue and its remarkable history and the message of Our Lady of Fatima, and also time for visits over the course of the day.
Here is the schedule for the day:
· 8:00am – Day begins with Mass for the school children (please note while everyone is invited to attend, space will be limited)
· 9:00am – Statue Custodian talk to school children
· 9:30am – 5:30pm – Church open for private veneration and prayer
· 12:00pm – Public recitation of the Angelus, the Rosary and the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
· 5:30pm – Statue Custodian talk to the general public
· 6:00pm – Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
· 7:00pm – Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Benediction
I hope you can make some time in the day to make a visit to church and may it truly be a day of graces, flowing from the hands of the Blessed Mother, for ourselves as individuals and as a parish.
Two weekends ago, we had mentioned at the weekend Masses that most (but not all) diocesan guidelines and restrictions on parish life have been removed. One of the most notable of those guidelines had to do with the number of people allowed at each Mass. We developed the current weekend Mass schedule in light of the capacity limits we were under a year ago, which was to maintain attendance at 25% capacity in the church. Now that all capacity and distance requirements have been removed, we can use the church to its fullest capacity. In light of this we are going to make one adjustment to the weekend Mass schedule and one change beginning the weekend of July 3rd/4th. The adjustment will be that the current 8:45 AM Mass will move to 9:00 AM. The change is that we will be combining the 10:00 AM and 11:15 AM Mass into a new Mass time: 10:30 AM. Our hope is that this new time will neither be too late for those who have been going to the 10:00 AM Mass, nor too early for those going to the 11:15 AM Mass. The rest of the Sunday Mass schedule will stay as is. In addition, this weekend will be the last weekend we will be broadcasting the Mass into the Atrium.
Daily Masses will continue at the usual 6:30 time Monday through Friday with an 8:00 Mass on Saturday mornings. It is our hope that the school Masses will once again be open to the public when school resumes in Fall. We are also adding a 10:00 Traditional Latin Mass on First Saturdays. Confession times will remain as they currently are.
I thank everyone for their patience as we have navigated the ups and downs of this past year, it has certainly been challenging for all of us, but God, in His mercy, has helped us to make it through. Of course, God has also used human tools to help make it possible – so I want to thank the Parish and School Staffs who have worked so hard over this year to adjust things and still to accomplish good work. I also want to thank Deacon Richard Piontek and Deacon Dick Niggemann who have been willing to step in and lend a hand wherever needed over the course of this year. Finally, I want to also officially welcome Fr. Patrick Behling our new Associate Pastor, who began this week and also to point out that we are blessed to have Deacon Matthew Kirk as our Seminarian Intern with us in a particular way over the course of this summer – we look forward to his ordination to the priesthood in May of next year.
The summer has certainly hit us with some hot and humid weather right off the bat – from the furnace to the air conditioner in a matter of days as it so often is in Wisconsin, but with the coming of the summer, I hope and pray that these months are times of rest and family and friends and joy, and, most especially, an ever deepening awareness of the depths of God’s love.
Even though the beautiful spring weather we had around Easter seems to have gone missing for the time being, we are certainly in spring – the sun is out longer, many early flowers are blooming, the grass is taking on a lush green and the trees are budding forth. Hopefully this is a prelude to beautiful weather around the horizon and the days of summer looming ahead.
Spring, here in the Archdiocese, means the changing of priest assignments for those scheduled to move. As he mentioned a couple of months ago, Fr. John Gibson is completing his three year term as our Associate Pastor and Chaplain at Catholic Memorial High School and will begin a new assignment in June. I am pleased to be able to share that Fr. Gibson is being assigned to St. Jerome’s Parish in Oconomowoc. Please keep him in your prayers as he begins the move, we are grateful for his years of service here at St. Mary’s, and hope this new role leading St. Jerome’s will produce an abundance of fruit for him and for his new parish.
I am also pleased to share that Fr. Patrick Behling will be assigned as our new Associate Pastor also beginning in June. Fr. Behling was ordained to the priesthood in 2016 and served as Associate Pastor at St. Charles Parish in Hartland from the time of his ordination until 2019 and also served as Associate Pastor at St. Teresa of Calcutta in North Lake beginning in 2018 until 2019. Following the completion of his term at St. Charles, Fr. Behling began advanced studies while living at St. Monica’s in Whitefish Bay and will be returning to full-time parish work as he begins his time with us here at St. Mary’s. Hopefully, in the next few weeks, Fr. Behling will have the opportunity to share more information with the parish about himself in the bulletin.
Also, we are grateful to God for the ordination to the transitional diaconate of Matthew Kirk, our seminarian intern. He along with his classmates were ordained this weekend and will continue their preparation and formation for ordination to the priesthood in May of 2022. Deacon Kirk will be assisting at Masses and preaching from time to time as well as celebrating Baptisms, Funeral Committal services and other liturgical work around the parish.
Finally, we also look in Spring to First Communion. First Communion this year will be celebrated at the 4:00 Mass on Saturday, May 1st and at the 11:15 Mass on Sunday, May 2nd. Each First Communicant will have a pew reserved for their families so please note that those Masses will have limited seating, there will certainly be some pews available and the broadcasting of Mass into the Atrium, but please keep that in mind when planning what Mass to attend that weekend. Please keep our 2nd Graders in your thoughts and prayers.
I hope this Easter Season has been one of continued joy for you – it has been a long and rough road this past year, but the Resurrection of Our Lord always holds out hope to us that we can cling to no matter what may be going on in the world or in our personal lives.
We find ourselves coming up on Holy Week once again – but, as with so many things, Holy Week will be a bit different this year in light of Guidelines from the Vatican and Archdiocese. I wanted to fill you in a bit on these guidelines so you knew what to expect and what would be different from years’ past.
PALM SUNDAY – The celebration of Palm Sunday commemorates the Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Usually this is commemorated with a blessing and procession with palms at the beginning of Masses. However, this year, there will be no blessing or procession of palms as in years past, instead the palms will be blessed prior to Mass and distributed as people enter into church. There will be no gathering in the Atrium and, instead, Mass will begin as usual in the church itself.
HOLY THURSDAY – This year’s guidelines eliminate two main features of our celebration of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday – the first is that there will be no washing of the feet and, secondly, no procession of the Blessed Sacrament to an Altar of Repose. Instead, at the end of Mass, the Blessed Sacrament will be placed in the main tabernacle in church. However, the church will remain open after the Mass until 10:00 PM for private prayer, with Night Prayer being prayed in church at 10:00 PM. Due to the number of people who normally attend Holy Thursday Mass, we will need to have a sign-up in place in order to keep a hand on attendance. Sign-up will begin at Noon on Monday, March 22nd – this will also be true for Good Friday as you will see below. However, everyone is welcome to come to church after Mass to pray and to attend Night Prayer as well.
GOOD FRIDAY – Due to attendance restrictions, the Archbishop has given parishes the option of celebrating two Good Friday Services this year. Since we usually have anywhere from 900-1000 people who come for Good Friday, I am grateful for that allowance this year. The main difference in the Good Friday liturgy will be found in a change in the Adoration of the Cross. Usually this is done with our large cross that sits in the Atrium and people come up individually to make some sign of reverence to the cross. This year, due to restrictions, we will venerate the cross from a distance with people remaining in their pews – we will also be using the method of veneration which includes the unveiling of the cross rather than a procession with it. Because the Archbishop has graciously allowed us to have two services, we will have two, one at the usual 12:00 time, with another at 3:00. Like Holy Thursday, these two will require advance registration which will also begin at Noon on March 22nd. Due to the limitation of people who can attend these services, we will also offer two opportunities for the Stations of the Cross in addition to the two services. Stations will be prayed at 9:00 AM and at 6:00 PM, there is no sign-up required for Stations.
HOLY SATURDAY – As those who have attended in the past know, the Easter Vigil begins normally with a blessing of the Easter fire and Paschal Candle outdoors. This year those will not be taking place, instead, people will gather in church prior to Mass as normal and the Paschal Candle will be blessed prior to the Mass privately. No sign-up will be required to attend the Easter Vigil.
EASTER SUNDAY – Easter Sunday Masses will be pretty much as normal. No sign-up will be required.
Just to reiterate – sign up will be required for the Holy Thursday Mass and the two Good Friday services, but sign up will not be required for any of the other Holy Week Masses and services. On another note, about Easter of last year, we began to record a Mass a weekend and send it out via e-mail for people to view at home. This was a great service to people and we were able to do it because of the generosity of a parishioner who took no payment for doing it, but certainly has given hours of his time to make it happen. As we come in now at the year mark, we have seen a steady decline in those watching it and given the decline in viewership and the return of many people to Mass in person, we will be drawing those videotaped Masses to a close with the final one being recorded for Palm Sunday. This is another sign that we are slowly but surely moving things back to a more normal rhythm as things go forward through the Spring and into Summer. Thank you for your patience and generosity as we have navigated all of this and a blessed Holy Week to all of you!
This week finds us beginning the Lenten Season with Ash Wednesday. As you probably have already heard, ashes will be distributed in a method different from the way we are familiar with. The Vatican has issued a directive that ashes should be distributed by the sprinkling of ashes on the top of one’s head, rather than with a cross being made on the forehead. While this custom is unfamiliar to us in the United States, it is an ancient custom and has always been the custom in Rome, so while different, it is certainly a part of our liturgical heritage. Please consult this weekend’s bulletin for the times of Masses and Distribution of Ashes. Also, just as a clarification – Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation. While it is a salutary thing to receive ashes on Ash Wednesday it is not an obligation to do so.
About two weeks ago, Fr. Gibson wrote an article for the bulletin sharing the news that his term as Associate Pastor here at St. Mary’s is coming to an end in late Spring. We are very grateful for these nearly three years of work here and I know we will keep him in our prayers as he begins his next assignment. At this time, St. Mary’s is scheduled to receive a new Associate Pastor – the assignment of priests is a bit like putting together a puzzle and it usually takes some time over the late winter months and early spring to finalize assignments. In addition to praying for Fr. Gibson, please add whoever our new Associate Pastor will be to your prayers as well and as soon as we have information on who that will be, we will share it with you both at Mass and in the bulletin!
During this time of year, our attention also turns to our upcoming annual Auction for Education. The school auction is a great event and one that benefits the parish school in a multitude of ways, from helping to provide ongoing education as well as usually benefitting some specific project that enhances the school. At the 2019 Auction for Education, we began raising funds for the development of an outdoor classroom and learning space. The project was to dovetail with our desire to landscape the corner of Juneau and Crescent as well as purchasing new signs for the parish property to replace those which were old and falling apart. The original timeline was that funds raised at both the 2019 auction, as well as the 2020 auction would go to the development of this new outdoor learning space. As we all know, spring of last year threw many curveballs into everyone’s lives. Due to this, we decided to complete half the project (new gardens and new signs) and delay the second half of the project (the outdoor classroom) until this coming spring. With the donated funds, we plan to do this in late spring/early summer of this year. During the Autumn, as the children returned to school, we found that having the students outside for class and lunch was a great gift and something that we would like to do regularly going forward as a part of the educational enterprise here at St. Mary’s. Being outside on beautiful days was not only healthy physically, but mentally as well, and while there have been challenges in having in-person learning over the course of this year, there has also been knowledge gained as we have tried new things and found that we like some of them and want them to continue – the biggest of which is giving the children the chance to learn and also to get fresh air!
This weekend we have speakers talking about this year’s Auction for Education, which will be primarily a virtual event. If there are ways you can help support the auction it would be greatly appreciated. The school is certainly an important and integral part of the parish’s life and any support benefits not only the school, but the entire parish as well.
Finally, I want to thank everyone for your continued generosity to St. Mary’s – as we near the “one year mark” of what we have been going through and the challenges it has brought, one of the constants has been your generosity. Thank you! And a blessed and grace-filled Lent to everyone!
One of my favorite lines of Scripture is: “Behold, I make all things new.” The Lord speaks these words in the Book of Revelation (21.5) at the time of His Second Coming when all that is old will give way to that which is eternally new. While this is the hope we have for the future, it’s also something that the Lord does even now – He renews things and makes things new. When we think of the way that the Lord makes all things new, He does it, most frequently, not with a blaze of light like the noonday sun, instead, when He makes things new, they often start out small, like the little pinpricks of light like the stars that fill the darkness of the night sky.
That was certainly true of the Nativity, wasn’t it? At that moment in Bethlehem, the Lord begins to make all things new once again – not with a triumphal entry from His heavenly realms surrounded by legions of angels, blazing like the noonday sun but, instead, as an infant child radiating light like a star in the nighttime sky.
This has been a tough year, a difficult year, a challenging year and many people have suffered in numerous ways – there has been much darkness. It would be easy – so very easy – to let this darkness penetrate our own minds and hearts and weigh us down. I remember one of the saints (and I wish I could remember who it was!) who said that the evil one loves to see us sad, because when we are sad then we become easy prey to his temptations. For people of faith, however, who view their times with the eyes of faith, then there is no reason to lose hope – because, just below the surface, there are always small bits of light, seedlings of the new things that God will bring about, and the birth of Our Lord is a sign and a promise and a fulfillment that He will always make things new.
There has been all sorts of talk about a “new normal.” Usually this is in reference to health protocols, etc., but that’s not the ‘new normal’ we as people of faith should be seeking or putting our energy into – the ‘new normal’ we should be looking towards and working on, is one where God reigns supreme, where He is truly King of our world, our country, our hearts and mind and our lives. As we celebrate Christmas this year, may the Nativity of Our Lord fill our hearts with hope and remind us to keep looking for those small signs of radiant light which are the foretaste of the fulfillment of the promise that He will make all things new.
On behalf of myself, Fr. Gibson, Fr. Filut, Deacons Piontek and Niggemann and the entire parish staff here at St. Mary’s, we want to wish you a very Merry Christmas. Thank you for your patience as we have navigated these turbulent waters and for the generosity you have shown to the parish in helping provide for our needs. I truly wish you a Christmas full of great graces for you and your families. May the Christ Child reign in your hearts and may He reign in this parish and may we all have that confident hope that He will make all things new and may we look forward to that day when “the dawn from on high shall break upon us (Luke 1.78).”
We find ourselves on the threshold of another school year – albeit a school year that will look nothing like what any of us have ever experienced before. Our prayers certainly go to our teachers, our catechists in our school and religious education program as they begin this new year. Both our school and religious education staff have done their very best to navigate these challenging waters and to, hopefully, start the new year off as best as we can. I want to publicly thank them, this has been an incredibly stressful time behind the scenes in the midst of constantly shifting guidance, new ways of doing things that need to be thought through, as well as doing their best to answer questions as they come in. We owe them all a very large debt of gratitude for what they have done.
I wanted to inform you of a few changes as we begin the month of September:
· Our parish offices now have the green light to open once again, for the first time since mid-March. I appreciate your patience as we have tried to conduct operations via e-mail and over the phone and, even as our offices open to the public once again, we have to be mindful of the time we are living in and how to go about doing things in new ways. Our parish offices will have slightly reduced hours as they begin to reopen, so the parish offices will be open:
- Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:30 – 3:30
- Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 8:30 – 12:00
We are still going to try and limit the amount of foot traffic coming in and out of the office, so can I ask you to consider the following when deciding whether or not to come in person? The first is to see if the business can be conducted via the phone, e-mail or our parish website – if it can be accomplished in that manner, it would be of great assistance that those methods take precedence over an in-person visit. Secondly, if something needs to be dropped off, the mail slot can be used twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Thirdly, if something needs to be picked up, we will have a designated area outside where the item can be conveniently picked up. Finally, if the business can not be accomplished in any of those ways, then please feel free to come in person. We are going to try and limit the reception area to one person at a time rather than a line forming, as we have very little space. Thank you for your understanding and conscientiousness.
· In light of what we have learned over these past few months, we will be adding some new features to our parish website over the coming weeks that will allow people to request Mass Intentions, request to schedule a Baptism, register for the parish, etc. We hope this makes things more convenient for people.
· With the beginning of the new school year, we are going to be returning our daily Mass schedule to its usual make-up. Masses will be celebrated at 6:30am Monday – Friday and on Saturdays at 8am. We will have school Masses on Tuesdays and Fridays, however, at least at the beginning of the school year, we are going to ask that they be kept for the school students only. I know this is an inconvenience and a sacrifice, but it helps us with distancing the children and using all the space we have.
· In light of this return to our usual daily Mass schedule, we will be shifting Confession times – Confessions will be heard on Wednesday mornings at 7am, Fridays 2-5pm and Saturdays at 8:30am.
· For the month of September we anticipate keeping the same Saturday/Sunday Mass times.
If any other changes are made, we will let you know as swiftly as we can!
A few updates on things for everyone. The first two weekends of being back at public Masses has seemed to go well. I want to thank all of you for your cooperation in making things work and your patience as we continue to work out bugs in our system. I, especially, want to thank the ushers who are doing such a marvelous job of directing people and helping them to find seats, they have been invaluable – so, a public thank you to all of them. Secondly, it has been very helpful to have so many pitch in and help sanitize their own pew after Mass, I know it’s something extra to do, but it’s what allows us to offer so many Masses on the weekend which, hopefully, ensures that everyone who would like to be present, is able to be present. We will continue to broadcast the Mass into the Atrium, there aren’t many people who are in there, but it also gives an option for people who would like to come, but don’t yet feel comfortable being with a larger group of people in the church. Finally, the grouping of the pews according to household size seems to be working. However, if you arrive and can’t find a seat according to your household size, please feel free to sit in any open pew as soon as the opening hymn has started (ushers can help you find a place), and so long as people are being cognizant of keeping an appropriate distance, that is allowed.
We mentioned at Mass this weekend that the Archdiocese continues to change its guidance on various things – it has been difficult to keep up with the changes at times. We want to make sure that everyone is kept in the loop on any changes and how they apply to St. Mary’s, but, when they change so regularly, it’s hard to get that information disseminated quickly and to prevent confusion. In light of that, we have decided to make changes on a monthly basis if they are called for, rather than implementing them right away (of course, if there is something that MUST be implemented right away, we will do so and do our best to communicate it). What we will be doing is organizing any changes to the guidelines at the end of each month and implementing them at the beginning of the next month. This will mean that some things we are allowed to do we won’t be necessarily doing right away, but we hope that it eliminates confusion and having to bombard our parishioners with information and updates. So, for instance, at the end of this month of June, we will gather up any changes and implement them at the beginning of July and convey them to everyone at that time. One of the guidelines that the Archdiocese has changed has been giving the “green light” to daily Mass, twice a week with a maximum of fifty people in attendance. We have debated doing this right away, but have decided to wait a couple of more weeks. We have generally have over one hundred people at a daily Mass and so we are in an unusual situation with so many people who normally come and the logistics of making it work on such a limited basis don’t seem to suit our parish very well. I know this is a hardship to many, but I would just ask for your patience on this for another couple of weeks – our experience over these past few months has taught us that we sometimes spend time and energy coming up with a plan only to have the guidelines change and it’s “back to the drawing board” – we really want to avoid that.
If you have noticed, the Thrift Shop is back and running! This is an incredibly valuable endeavor at St. Mary’s and provides not only a source of revenue for the parish, but also provides very nice items to people of all economic means at reasonable prices. I want to thank Terri Maciejewski for her work as manager, as well as her assistant managers and all the wonderful volunteers who poured in hours over the past few weeks removing old items, putting new ones out and making sure the Thrift Shop can operate in keeping with health guidelines.
Finally, we want to welcome Fr. Justin Weber officially as a second Associate Pastor for St. Mary’s for the next three months – he celebrated one Mass last weekend and has another one this weekend and is moving in to the Rectory this week. We are grateful to have him here!
Once again, thank you for all your patience with everything – none of us would have envisioned a situation like that which has unfolded, and so we are trying our best to get things right. Please know that you are in my daily prayers and it has been wonderful to see so many of you (even at a distance) at Mass!
This weekend the nation celebrates Memorial Day – the unofficial start to summer, but more so a day to honor those who gave, as President Abraham Lincoln once said, “the last full measure of devotion” for the sake of our country. It is one of the spiritual works of mercy to pray for the dead – may we pray for those who have died in service to our country over the course of this weekend.
This weekend also sees the last weekend prior to the resumption of public Masses in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and at St. Mary’s. The Archdiocese has issued guidance and is using a three-phase approach to the resumption of parish life, we are beginning the first phase of this, and so guidelines should have reached you in the mail with the quarterly statements, or you will be receiving them in the mail in the next day or so. I would ask that you please read them through carefully and do your best to follow them. Of course all of this is a bit of an experiment, no one has been through something like this, and so we will proceed to the best of our abilities and make any changes (if necessary) along the way. Starting once again will require patience on the part of all of us, as well as a spirit of selflessness in a willingness to make changes to our routines for the sake of the entire parish.
As I wrote in my bulletin column last weekend, we rejoice in the fact that one of our parish sons was ordained to the priesthood last weekend, Fr. Patrick Magnor! Also ordained was Fr. Justin Weber, who has served the past few summers as a seminarian intern at the parish and will be returning to us in a few weeks to serve here as a priest until mid-September. You’ll start to see Fr. Weber at Masses in the middle of June, and while circumstances will not allow us to welcome him back in a way we would like to, we can still be very grateful and joyful that he is with us.
A few other things to note, the first is that the parish offices, given the guidance of the Archdiocese, will continue to be closed for the time being, the parish staff is working primarily from home and checking messages from there, thanks again for your patience with this ongoing reality, parish offices can begin to open again under Phase Two of the Archdiocesan plan, we’ll let you know when we get there. We are currently planning a way for First Communion and Confirmation to be celebrated, we are working within the Archdiocesan Guidelines and parents will have more information in the next week or so. We have also been discussing the placement of Perpetual Adoration once public Masses begin, as we will be using the Atrium for extended seating for Masses. We’ve decided that, beginning at some point this coming week, Perpetual Adoration will be moved to the Parish Library. The decision to move it there, rather than to the Chapel itself, is because of the windows in the Parish Library which will allow people to adore the Blessed Sacrament from outside if there is no room in the Library itself, as we will probably have to go back to a stricter limit on people given the size of the Library. However, in light of this, we’ll be opening the church more often for private prayer that first week of June, with the church being open from 9:00 – 3:00 Mondays – Thursdays, 9:00 – 12:00 on Fridays, and on Saturdays from 9:00 through the evening Mass. As has been mentioned before, please keep your eye on the parish website for up-to-date information. Everything is a bit of a puzzle that needs to be taken apart and put together again as guidance changes, so we are doing our best to keep the website up-to-date as best as we can so you know what the puzzle looks like!
I also want to take a minute to thank the parish gardeners who were out in force over the past couple of weekends preparing and planting the gardens – we have a beautiful campus and it’s wonderful to see so many people pitching in to help keep it so! Finally, it’s nice to be able to say, for the first time in a couple of months, that I look forward to seeing you, even if at a distance, at Mass next Sunday!
We continue to celebrate Easter, albeit in a strange and unexpected way – but I think one of the things this time offers us is a time to step back and reflect on our lives and how we have been living them and ask ourselves if we have been living them in the way we are called to. Obviously, on Easter, we think a lot about tombs and about people being buried. But, of course, even when we are still alive, we can find ourselves buried in all sorts of things.
We can certainly bury ourselves in fear, in anxiety, in frustration, in anger, in selfishness, in work – where these things begin to dominate our lives and seem to be the be all and end all of our life – everything else gets submitted to them – we live buried in them. We think about people who bury themselves in things which are very threatening to their spiritual life. Some people bury themselves in themselves – they think only about themselves and what they want or what they think they need, they start to think the world revolves around them and they see nothing outside of their immediate wants and desires to be satisfied, it’s kind of a narcissistic outlook on life, they bury themselves in themselves and can see nothing beyond themselves.
Then there are others who bury themselves in amusements and entertainment and passing pleasures. For them life is just a collection of experiences and the pursuit of something new – they give no thought to anything of any significance, no thought to the deeper meaning of life or questions about what lies beyond this life, they go from one thing to another with barely a thought, they have buried themselves in amusements and distractions.
There are also some who bury themselves in sin – in sinful habits or addictions, they have no concern for God or His law nor any sense that there even is a moral law, no, for them there is no sense of self-denial, no sense of curbing appetites, they bury themselves in sin.
And when we bury ourselves in these types of things then we literally our burying ourselves in ground which is not fertile, burying ourselves in cold and dank tombs which the sun can never reach, and they are tombs that hold no promise of any glorious future, they are, simply, tombs – graves of those already half-dead.
But, there is another One we can bury ourselves in – we can bury ourselves in Christ. To bury ourselves in Christ is to make Him the center of our lives, to seek Him always and everywhere. To bury ourselves in Christ is to be obedient, even to the point of taking up the Cross. To be buried in Him is to root ourselves in the graces of the Sacraments and prayer and to allow His life to enter our lives and to join ourselves to Him in a deep and abiding way, to put our lives into His Hands.
When we bury ourselves in Christ then we are burying ourselves in rich and fertile ground, we enter the tomb – yes – but not a tomb which ends as a tomb, but a tomb, instead, which ends in glory and new life and resurrection.