Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
8 July 2012
Dear Friends in Christ,
A few matters for your consideration:
(1) In these record-breaking, sweltering days of hazy South Carolina summer, we’re all looking for ways to beat the heat. Here at St. Mary’s, we like our buildings cool, and in fact the church makes a great place of retreat in the middle of the day, not only from the heat, but also from the noise and busyness of the outside world. If you’re in the area on the weekdays, consider making a visit to our Lord, sacramentally present in the tabernacle. Stay for five, fifteen, or even thirty minutes. Enjoy the quiet, and the cool. If it’s noontime, stay for Mass if you’d like. Take advantage of the oasis that our church is: spend some time with the Good Lord as you beat the heat.
(2) This coming Wednesday the universal Church will celebrate the feast of St. Benedict of Nursia, a 5th century Italian monk who is credited as the father of western monasticism, and who is the namesake of our current Pope. Benedict is best known for leaving the Church his monastic Rule, a code of life and prayer that has come to guide most monastic communities in the Latin Church for the past fifteen hundred years. At the heart of the Rule is the Latin phrase ora et labora, that is, “work and prayer.” For Benedict, the two went hand-in-hand. Prayer was not simply an activity for church on Sundays, or before meals or at bedtime, but was a way of life that ought to infuse every activity of the day. Moreover, work itself – when offered to God in a spirit of gratitude and humility – becomes a kind of prayer, a virtual altar upon which the day’s most mundane activities are offered to God as a spiritual sacrifice. Work is a kind of participation in God’s own redemptive activity, who is constantly at work in re-making the world after the pattern of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. When we intentionally link our daily activity to God’s own creativity, work takes on a kind of inherent sanctity. In other words, honest work offered to God is a powerful prayer that makes us holy. The next time you have to go to write a report or go to a dreaded meeting, or have to work outside in the heat, or have to clean a house wreaked by your toddlers, remember to ask the Lord for the help in offering that up to Him. St. Benedict, pray for us.
(3) Finally, I would just like to extend my gratitude to Fr. Newman for allowing me the opportunity to be with you again, if only for a short while, as he takes a well-deserved break. It’s always nice to come home to St. Mary’s.
Gratefully yours in Christ,