Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As we celebrate Independence Day this weekend, we have an opportunity to thank God for the birth of our nation. As we rest this weekend, and over the next weeks, we are also invited to dedicate time to God and our neighbor. This great nation was not founded and built without God and neighbor. So, this week we are invited to stop for a moment to thank them.
Over these next weeks there will be plenty of picnics, BBQs, time to visit family and friends. Whether we travel or stay home, it is important to rest from our regular activities. Considering that our warm months are now, we should take advantage and go out, exercise, and enjoy God’s creation. Speaking of God, we never take vacation from Him. Quite the contrary, we should also dedicate more time to him. I understand that during the busy months, we are running up and down with our duties, and we don’t have much time for prayer. Maybe we do the minimum such as our morning prayers and devotions, rosary, grace before meals, and the night prayers. Now that we are more relaxed, we can attend adoration every day 6:30-7:30am, daily masses at 7:30am, stop by the church to pray at any time during the day (until 6pm) among other activities. We can also take advantage of this time to choose some good book(s) for our summer reading. The classics never get out of fashion, such as, The Confessions by St. Augustine, The Story of a Soul by St. Therese, “How to Benefit from our Faults” by Joseph Tissot, “The Return of the Prodigal Son” by Henry Nouwen, and “The Spiritual Combat” by Lorenzo Scupoli. For those who will be traveling, you will be in our prayers and we will make sure that we schedule our travels in such a way that allows us to attend Sunday masses.
In the summer, we also have time to take care of our neighbors. In our daily activities, sometimes we lose contact with friends and relatives for not having time to call or visit them. This is the perfect time to catch up with old pals. If they live out of state, a phone call here and there will also be great. We should also open our hearts for those who live near us. Sometimes we make a big effort to connect with people across the world, and that next door we limit ourselves to a polite wave on the way in or out of the house. We should create bridges with those around us. Whether baking something for them, inviting them over, or a simple friendly chat across the yard goes a long way. In my ministry I see people isolated quite often. There are several reasons for which they might not be able to reach out, but most would react well if someone reaches out to them. The same can be said for those who are struggling with homelessness. During the winter time there is a great concern for them because of the cold. During the summer, heat can be another very serious issue. As dehydration and sunstroke is a concern to us and our children, but it affects them even more. Therefore, if you see someone in need, don’t be afraid to reach out. This is again how our country grew stronger, by building it together!
Finally, let us pray for our Nation on this Independence Day:
God, source of all freedom, this day is bright with the memory of those that declared that life and liberty are your gift to every human being. Help us to continue a good work begun long ago. Make our vision clear and our will strong; that only in human solidarity will we find liberty, and justice only in the honor that belongs to every life on earth. Turn our hearts towards the family of nations: to understand the ways of others, to offer friendship, and to find safety in the common good for all. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.
PS. Next week I will write about the decision of the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade.
Happy Fourth of July!
Father Steven Clemence