Despite the weather last Saturday, our OLM Youth Group had their cookout! Of course, it was really a cook-in at OLM School Gym. We are grateful to all those who supported our youth with their presence while enjoying hamburgers and hot dogs. Also I extend my thanks to the many parishioners who financially supported the Youth Group’s effort to raise funds for their pilgrimage in July to the Steubenville East Conference.
Monday brought much better weather and the beginning of our OLM Vacation Bible School. Lots of our parish children spent this past week learning more about the Lord, our Blessed Mother, the Church and their Catholic Faith. It was a fun-filled and faith-filled week. I am grateful to OLM Youth Coordinator Billy Burdier who organized this great event. Also we thank our many volunteers and staff who helped all week long. We are in the midst of summer and the Fourth of July is this week! Many parishoners are heading on vacations, others to their summer homes and others making the daytrips of the season. Summer is always a time to try to relax, recreate and refresh.
The question, “How are you?”, is so often answered with “Busy.” Yet, many times we don’t have to be quite as busy as we schedule ourselves to be. Though there is great importance and dignity in the work we do, we often forget that there is also value in rest.
Our on-the-go culture makes it difficult to see the necessity of taking the time to rest. We might even be considered lazy or unmotivated when we do reserve time for relaxation. However, not pausing amidst our chaotic life to take a break can lead to mental, emotional, physical and spiritual problems.
God knew we would need time to replenish ourselves. He set the example by resting Himself on the seventh day of creation. Follow His lead. If you cannot take time in the summer to get away from work than at the very minimum, set aside time on Sundays to kick back and relax in these days of summer. St. Augustine reminds us: “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds it rest in You.”
It’s summer so please do take some time to rest and refresh whether its away, at the beach, at a park, on a golf course or in the backyard! However, this time of rest isn’t meant to lead us away from God but rather draw us closer to Him. Don’t take a rest from attending Sunday Mass or striving to lead a life of virtue and faith. If you’re traveling this summer check out Masstimes.org to find where you can go to Sunday Mass. Mass is celebrated in all fifty states and in nearly every country in the world!
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has suggested that : “Even amid the ‘busy-ness’ and stress of our daily lives, we need to make space for silence, because it is in silence that we find God, and in silence that we discover our true self. And in discovering our true self, we discover the particular vocation which God has given us for building up His Church and the redemption of our world.”
One way I relax in the summer is to do some extra summer reading. This summer I am reading Dagger John by John Loughery. It is the new biography of Archbishop John Hughes, the first Archbishop of New York. It has gotten great reviews in the press. Also I plan some spiritual reading with a new book entitled, Holiness In A Secular Age: The Witness of Cardinal Newman. Blessed John Newman lived in an age not unlike our own and this book offers his example and insights on how to live as a disciple amid an increasingly secular culture. And just for fun I plan to read a couple of the Bruno, the French Police Chief detective series. Written by Martin Walker they are set in rural France. I have read a few before and they are thoroughly enjoyable, easy reads especially on a warm and sunny day on the beach or by the pool with a good cigar!
On Wednesday we celebrate our nation’s independence! The Fourth of July is truly a day to celebrate our freedom and liberty and to give thanks to God for the blessings and bounty of our nation. May this great land always be "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Happy 4th of July! Do good. Be well. God Bless. Go Sox! Enjoy summer!!