Fr. Kevin’s Column 6/20/21

Happy Father’s Day!

May those men who have loved us as our fathers and father figures receive love in return for all the love that they have shared with us. And may our fathers who have passed from this life to the next share life forever with our Eternal Father in Heaven. Of course, we will prayer for our dads this weekend and bless them for all the good that they have done for us.

In our second reading this week from St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, we hear these words: “The love of Christ impels us…” St. Paul continues by telling us that because of what Christ has done for us by his life, death, resurrection, ascension, and the gift of the Holy Spirit, we no longer live for ourselves. This is such a challenge in our culture when we make the tragic mistake in thinking that we are the center of the universe. We have forgotten that God ought to be at the center of our lives just as God is at the center of each of our own hearts, whether we know it or not. Letting go of ourselves is only way to follow Christ. Jesus continually tells us to leave our selves behind as we take of our cross of discipleship. Jesus has shown us the path of leaving aside all those things that hinder us from experiencing Divine love as we journey into God.

This Sunday, June 20th, is the June solstice. This is the beginning of summer based on the solar calendar, although many of us think of Memorial Day weekend as the beginning of our Michigan summer festivities. During the year of Michigan’s particular weather woes, I suspect that all of us look forward to summer days of warmth and sun. As we enjoy our time this summer, I would encourage all of us to take time for silence and stillness in our prayer. Lawrence S. Cunningham is a retired Professor of Theology at Notre Dame University. In his book, The Catholic Faith: An Introduction, he reminds us about the importance of silence in our lives and in our prayer:

“Silence, both external (a silent place) and internal (the quieting of the heart and mind), is a prerequisite to genuine prayer.

It is not simply a question of removing exterior noise but a disciplined willingness to shut off the distractions of the environment, even ‘good’ distractions, in order to listen to the promptings of God in the heart.

Silence, in the tradition of prayer, means nothing more than alertness or readiness to receive God; it is another form of saying ‘yes’ to the promptings of God’s self-gift.”

In our world of distraction, taking time to let go of our thoughts and to enjoy the free gift of God’s love is just what we need in our lives. I find the morning is the best time for me to take time for silence and stillness. The Martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer shared this insight prior to execution by the Nazis: “We begin the day in silence because God should have the first word. We end the day in silence because God should have the last word.” For me, that is in the practice Christian Meditation. Not everyone is drawn to meditation, but we all do need time for silence in our days. When we begin and end our days in silence, it is the best way to give God both the first and last words. This is good for many of us who desire to have the last words in our relationships, even our Divine ones.

More than that, when we take time for silent prayer in our lives, we allow ourselves to be enveloped in God’s unconditional love. God basks us in his love, but we are so busy talking and running in every direction that we barely notice God’s loving Presence. God desires to be in relationship with us. God draws us closer to himself in the silence. Franciscan Father Richard Rohr put it this way: “Love lives and thrives in the heart space.” Our hearts, our bodies and our souls yearn for silence. Please give yourself the gift of silence. You won’t regret it.

Enjoy these summer days! 

Much love,

Fr. Kevin