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The Fount of All Holiness

Lake Itasca, the headwaters of the Mighty Mississippi

Here in St. Louis, we’re pretty familiar with the mighty Mississippi River, although usually from above as we sit in traffic.  What’s interesting about the Mississippi River is that although the portion that we see is so large, it has it’s origin all the way up at Lake Itasca in north central Minnesota, which in turn is fed by a small creek, which finds its beginnings in a tiny spring.  The massive river that we see comes from something unseen to us, but inexhaustible!  Even though it is hidden from our eyes, that spring is a powerful force!

The image of a spring is a great one for our faith.  We’ve been looking at Eucharistic Prayer II, and one of the very first lines is, “You are indeed Holy, O Lord, the fount of all holiness.”  This reference to a fount is found throughout scripture, and should make us think of that powerful spring.  We’re invited to envision God’s grace like a spring or fountain, gushing forth and giving us power, life, and refreshment.

Sacrosactum Concilium, the document on the Sacred Liturgy written at the Second Vatican Council, talks about it this way: “The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed, and at the same time, it is the font from which all her power flows.” (10) The whole purpose of what we’re doing on Sunday – between the singing, the spoken responses, the colorful vestments, the boring homily, and of course, the celebration of the Eucharist – is to draw us closer to Christ.  Even after we walk out those big wooden doors, our works of charity for others are ultimately aimed to bring us back to the altar, to that most intimate moment of union with God!

But even as all that is going on, Christ pours out his grace on us, like an unending, inexhaustible fountain, empoweringus to grow in our relationship with him, and to be better disciples of him by the things we do for others.  Like that fount hidden away in the Minnesota wilderness that gives way to a powerful river, God’s unseen grace pours into us, giving us the ability to do the most powerful thing on earth – give of ourselves.

The fount of holiness is a neat image, and one that can be powerful for us, especially when we feel weak.  So the next time you pray the Eucharistic Prayer, try to make that effort to actively be open to God’s grace, letting the roaring waters of that fount of holiness rush over you!

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