From time to time, our pastor asks me to change the message on the sign in front of our church. We have the type where individual black letters are backlit on a frosted plexiglass panel. The letters are quite large and we have only two lines, so messages must be short. Father usually expresses a spiritual thought that does not fit our limited space, so I have become adept at truncating the message, which sometimes makes for an awkward compression, but I do the best I can.
When we have an event happening at the parish, the message will be informational rather than spiritual. Such was the case a few weeks ago when our Saint Vincent DePaul group sponsored a fundraiser. The sign simply said, “PORK CHOP DINNER, SUNDAY 11A – 1P.” Our pastor was gone on retreat the following week, so I was given the task of changing the sign before the next Sunday to avoid any confusion. With his input unavailable, the new message would be of my own choosing. This would take some serious thought!
Considering the turmoil going on in the world with Christian persecution, abortion, and the general decay of moral standards, I wanted to say something foreboding, yet hopeful. The inspiration came from a booklet I often ponder during weekly adoration. The Holy Eucharist Our All was written by Father Lukas Etlin. O.S.B. (Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., Rockford, Illinois, 61105). Father Etlin’s booklet opens with the following two paragraphs:
It is similar with those souls who love and serve God. In the midst of a Godless world there is but one means of preservation from eternal ruin, ones means of perseverance in the great tribulation of life – faithful adherence to the Most Blessed Sacrament, to the God-man concealed beneath the form of bread and wine. The words, “Jesus Christ is with me; stand firm,” should be engraven in the heart of every Christian. Protected by this shield, the servants of God will remain firm in the Faith, even though all about them totter and fall.