|Give thanks to the Lord, his love is everlasting
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Vacation Time! During the months of June and July, you may have or are planning some time for respite; a family vacation or dutifully chosen activities which, despite our year-round summer climate, are sought in earnest during the lazy, hazy days of summer. The summer months, even for those who are working, seem to invite an opportunity for refreshment or renewal.
How might we think about this opportunity for refreshment within our own faith life? The summer schedule of activities should always include the opportunity to pray. When we pray, we speak to God and we listen to God. When we speak to God, we praise him or we ask him for forgiveness. We say thank you. We know the wondrous gift of God within His creation and we give thanks to the Lord. We ask God to help us and we pray for each other.
How do we listen to God? God’s goodness and love are revealed to us in the beauty of the earth and the marvels of nature. Each person is a communication of God’s love to us. Instead of texting or watching television, have a conversation with your son or daughter or parents or friend. What a beautiful way to come to know God! God’s Word is communicated through Sacred Scripture. We listen to the Word proclaimed during the celebration of Mass or as we read it. It is another gift to hear Him. We can also listen to God in the silence of a moment; in the quiet as our children are nestled asleep; as we turn off the last light in the house before slumber; or in the early hours of morning.
When preparing our list of things to do and places or people to visit, our list should always include a stop at a Catholic Church to participate in the celebration of Mass and to visit with the Lord. Plan to pray with your family. Participate in the beauty of God’s creation by acknowledging it as you see and experience it.
In one of his daily homilies, Pope Francis touched on the importance of prayer in the life of a Christian, warning against common attitudes that “close the door” to God. “The Lord tells us: ‘The first task in life is this: prayer.’ But not the prayer of words, like a parrot; but the prayer of the heart: gazing on the Lord, hearing the Lord, asking the Lord.”
How would your summer months change if you thought of everything you are and did as prayer? As we are created and loved by God, we also know that God is in the midst of all things. What does God want you to do today? tomorrow? What would you plan differently so that you might come to know Christ better? What time have you set aside during your summer months to serve as God has called us? Perhaps some of your time might be spent visiting the sick or bringing food to Catholic Charities food pantry or assisting with a different parish ministry if your usual ministry is also taking a vacation this summer. Your prayer spreads God’s infinite love throughout the land.
I pray with gratitude for you each day. Just a few weeks ago, Pope Francis called our attention to airport chaplains and their ministry of prayer; bringing Christ’s gentleness and comfort to travelers. Father Robert Susann, m.s. is chaplain to the travelers of Orlando International Airport. His extraordinary ministry of prayer has been recognized by many throughout the state of Florida.
Pope Francis offered to the airport chaplains, “I pray together with you that the Lord make your apostolate, which participates in the Church’s universal mission, an effective proclamation of the Good News.
Prayer is the makeup of our existence. It is the core of our being. May your summer months be transformed by prayer.