Well, if you live in the metropolitan DC area, you know well that summer has arrived. From chilly wet week just a few days ago to the fires of the sun beating down on us. However, it is a time to relax more so that we have been resting in the last few months.
Christmas and Easter really seem so far away at this moment. It is my belief that summer is God’s gift to us to unwind, to enjoy family and friends and to take some personal time to get in touch with God in a relaxed manner as well. So, here is how I suggest that opportunity: get yourself a good spiritual book that you work through during the summer. Just a little time each day, early in the morning or in the twilight of evening time.
One of God’s plan for our summer relaxation is simply inner peace, inner calm. The feast of Corpus Christi (Latin for the Body of Christ -- and we add Blood of Christ) does offer us a wonderful way to begin the summer days, the summer recess from our drivenness!
How many times do you hear or say “I’m too busy.” God forbid that someone should say of any one of us that “He/she is lazy or idle.” Haven’t we become a culture that defines ourselves by what we do? I know that I have fallen victim to this so often when attending a social gathering, even when I am in a gathering of the more than 80 cousins that I have just in this area. I ask people so often what is their defining occupation. How funny it would be if, when passed the introductions and some chit-chat I would ask “What do you do for relaxation?” “How to you spend time away from what takes up so much of your time during the week?” Some would feel that I was intruding into their private lives; others would believe I was crazy!
We so often run from ourselves and a gnawing hunger that drives us to feeling that I have to always be “doing.” I have been going through stages that definitely are like this as I have tried to adopt to the life of “retired” being. Retirement has not been easy because I have not listen to the inner voice that has been gnawing away at me.
Today we celebrate a feast of Jesus Christ, our friend, brother and Redeemer. His dying on the cross was not meant to be a permanent reminder that we have to be nailed to a cross of constant demands for doing. He has given us in a truly mystical experience in the Bread and WIne that we share as the Body and Blood of this same Jesus.
Rather than hunger for the “whatever it is” that drives us to constant “doing,” let this feast be the occasion that brings each one of us to realize that “whatever” that is incessant in our mind and heart can be satisfied and, hopefully, diminish by the reception of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, especially in the Eucharist. Let this feast be the initiation of another kind of “whatever.” Let it become for us the food that quiets the unrest. Let it become the nourishment that allows us to grow in the gift of quiet reflection and prayer.
Hopefully during these days of summer and a consideration of what we can gain from realize what the Body and Blood of Christ can do for will remove from us the constant, never ending thought or expression: “I’m too busy.” “I can’t because I am busy.” Just think of the manner lost opportunities you have experience because you made yourself seem to be so important and needed in some other “whatever.”
So, in short, summer is God’s season for us to just lay back in relaxation and a peaceful coming to realize how blessed we are having Jesus as our friend and brother. Let the Body and Blood of Jesus become for you, perhaps in a new way, that moment when you realize God gift of grace, nourishing grace: the consecrated bread and wine that nourishes your inner being because you took time to not be “too busy;” took the time to celebrate the many gifts of your own spouses and children and even of some friends. Having these experiences is, truly, God’s nourishing gift.
Please say a prayer for me on this occsion of my 72nd birthday and tomorrow the 41st anniversary of my priesthood ordination. Thank you so. Likewise, I do need to ask you to say a prayer for me that I have success in establishing a program especially for priests who live alone in parish life. My petition is before a private foundation whose owners are very interested in my project. You will know when all is in order ... hopefully by the end of the summer.