Fr. Kevin’s Column 8/8/2021

Dear friends of God,

August 8th is the day that we remember the great contemplative preacher St. Dominic. He was the founder of the Order of Preachers at about the same time that St. Francis of Assisi was founding the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans). Both of these religious orders have greatly influenced me in my life and in my ministry. As a young adult, I spent time discerning with the Capuchin Franciscans. I quickly realized that this was not the life that God was calling me to at that point in my life, but the Franciscan ideal of care for the poorest among us continues to influence me and my life. My heart was changed forever as I began to see those who struggle economically as those who were the first to be befriended by Jesus.   His life was built on the love of our Father of Compassion that extended to everyone, but the poor had a special space in the Divine Heart. In my younger priestly years, I struggled with being a prayerful person. I knew that I wanted to pray, but I really did struggle with something that God wants to be so easy for us – friendship with God. That is where the Dominican Friars came into my life. I was at a particularly difficult point in my life. I went on retreat and the priest that was guiding me during those days asked if I had ever meditated. He taught me with the love of a teacher that truly cares for their student-with kindness and patience. The gift of meditation has changed my life forever. It grounds me every day in the present moment where God calls us to be in the life of God. One spiritual teacher, Ken Wilber describes the gift of mediation in this way: “Meditation has always been the royal road to the Kingdom of God.” Today I thank God for the gift of the Franciscans and the Dominicans and their continued impact on my life. The Franciscans taught me to love my neighbor that struggles with the basic necessities of life, such as food and shelter, and the Dominicans showed me a new, yet ancient, way of loving God and even myself in a beautiful way.

Recently Pope Francis shared the following wisdom to our human family and our frenetic activity: “Brothers and sisters… Let us learn how to take a break, to turn off the mobile phone to gaze into the eyes of others, to cultivate silence, to contemplate nature, to regenerate ourselves in dialogue with God.” That is very good advice in our time and especially during the summer when many of us have the privilege of traveling. We all need times to be re-created by God. This idea comes to my mind more and more. That is why we need to take time every day for prayer and for fun. God desires that we grow as people and take time to rest and recreate. Let us take time to look into the eyes of those whom we love, rest in the quiet of God’s presence, and to walk in the ways of the Lord during these waning summer days. This last week, I did just that with some short days of hiking. It was a time to stretch my legs and my soul. I certainly kept you in prayer as I walked in the nature that God has created as his first Cathedral.

 

Next weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since the feast falls on Sunday, the liturgy for the weekend will honor Mary, our Mother and our Sister. We will also host our annual mission speaker who comes this year from the Sisters of Charity. May God open our hearts and minds to the needs for the missions in the United States and around the world.

Enjoy these summer days for re-creation!
 
Much Love,
Fr. Kevin