Pastoral Message – July 30, 2023

Pastoral Message – July 30, 2023

Hey Y’all,

The other day, somebody I know well asked if I was enjoying my “down-time” during the summer. (This friend of mine is not churchy at all. He has no idea what I do as a priest. He has little understanding of finding value in work. He gave himself over to a lot of “down-time” since he made a boatload early on and retired at the age of 40.) As I’ve told him before, that priests don’t follow a scholastic year’s schedule. We can keep busy Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall. All anybody has to do is call. And I’ll be there, yes, I will. (Thanks Carole King and James Taylor.) Plus Christians never have downtime from being Christians!

But the truth is also this, during these days of Summer, in these days called Ordinary Time in the Church calendar, we might have to get a little busier, a little more serious, a little more intensely focused on being Christians. (As a matter of fact, our recent liturgical readings have been pretty intensely challenging). We never, or maybe better said, we should never take a vacation from our devotion to Christ, our devotion to grow wiser, our devotion to mature in virtue, our devotion to that which is holy, just, merciful and true. After all, we shouldn’t take down-time from developing our identity as Christians. To do so, leads to being spiritually indifferent, or careless, or indolent. And that leads to hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and a greater propensity for godlessness. We become the center of our own self-given down-time. That approach to a vacation is all about “me”. (Maybe that’s why we read about so much crazy, drunken, entitlement on airplanes, in airports, on cruise ships, etc. And, by the way, why haven’t these selfish folks noticed that stupid behavior never ends very well?)

Now, that being said, we must have time to rest, reflect, relax and recreate. Jesus took time away. Jesus made retreats from his busy seasons. But even when Jesus took time away, he still prayed. He still was in communion. He might even have been more likely to sustain Himself by imagining the Kingdom of Heaven to come. So we might follow Jesus’ example. If we’ve got some down time, use it to rest and relax, but keep up the good work! Pray, read, listen to holy things –books, the Bible, pod-casts on your road trip or on your flight across the country. Play some praise and worship music through your air pods while at the pool or the beach. Take in the beauty of God’s creation while you’re hiking. In other words, let your Christ-fueled down-time, continue to recreate you, your identity and your being.

God bless y’all!
Fr. Reynold

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