Once again we are into Summer time! Thoughts, naturally, turn with thankful hope to extended leisure – a brief respite from the continual ‘grind’ of everyday life such as commuting, school runs and other ‘everyday’ pursuits. Teachers, Parents and Students look forward to ‘recharging their batteries’ before September rolls round again!
The Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland; photo' taken by Michal Osmenda
While, of course, a break from routine work is indeed good and necessary for physical and mental wellbeing (none of us is indestructible) let us not forget the Source of Life and wellbeing, God who ‘…slumbers not, nor sleeps…’. Fortunately for us, He has no need to rest from His eternal labours; everything and everyone will, through His Will, continue uninterruptedly in existence and will do so until the end of time when, please God, life will continue eternally in Heaven. God, in His infinite Love, watches over and calls us to share in His Life 24/7, 365 days a year! Our debt of thanks to God is immeasurable.
How, then, might we capitalise on holiday time to draw closer to our Creator? Hopefully daily prayer is already an integral part of Family life (‘The Family that Prays together, stays together’) but do we consider that, time permitting, we could ‘dig deeper’ into the immense Treasury of Grace, so vital to our Heavenward journey? Unlike some parishes which, due to shortages of Priests and Laity, have been forced to either close down or greatly curtail their spiritual services, Saint Bartholomew’s is, through the generosity of retired Priests and of those able and willing to come and say Mass and lead other liturgies in addition to responsibilities in their own parishes, able to offer this great treasure throughout the year.
While, of course, parents cannot simply ‘down tools’ and relax with their children for six weeks or so because of ongoing financial and/or work commitments, to say nothing of day to day issues involved in raising a Family, hopefully opportunities will arise when you can bring your children to weekday Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Mass in addition to Sundays and Holy-Days. Even if this is not possible, how about suggesting to those of the children who are Altar Servers and, of course, able to go out and about independently, that they might like to take up the great privilege of serving at an extra Mass during the week. Children may well take more notice of peers than they do adults; please God some of these young people, in making daily Mass a priority on even just one extra day during the week, will encourage others of their circle of friends to see that it has an important role in their free time.
When arranging your holidays away, is it a priority to ensure that Sunday and Holy-Day Masses, at least, are factored into your plans? So many of the foundations of future Catholic Practice among our Young People are laid at a very early age. The world is increasingly a place where religion is not regarded as ‘cool’ and may well be actively opposed as ‘irrelevant’. Our Parish Deacon is currently studying the worrying claim that the Sacrament of Confirmation, for example, can mark, for some, not a more mature and personal commitment to and practice of one’s Faith but rather its abandonment! Faith must be presented and lived as integral to Life rather than as an appendage ‘tacked on’, a ‘passing phase’ in life.
We are blessed, at Saint Bartholomew’s, with a diverse and active Community, encompassing a wide age range. May we ever centre the life of our Catholic Parish Family on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In striving to take an ever greater part in the Liturgy, let us also not forget that, even today, in these apparently ‘enlightened’ times, many of our Brothers and Sisters in Christ still risk persecution and even death for their fidelity to the Mass and Sacraments which, perhaps, we may take for granted. May God grant us the Grace to be ‘..light and salt..’, a constant sign in a darkened world of His Saving Presence!
Thoughts on the traditional teachings, devotions, seasons and matters of the Catholic Church