Summer Living

Having moved through Independence Day and graduations, summer is now tantalizing our senses, offering us promises of down time and opportunities to rest and contemplate, barbeques and picnics, walks in the park and jumping in the pool. Perhaps one of the greatest contrasts summer holds in comparison to the rest of the year is that it seems so much slower, with so many more hours and, in the best of scenarios, fewer tasks to attend to and more new places to visit and explore. Time appears to stretch with the heat of the day, which is a nice reprieve from the cold and rapid pace of the previous months, filled with so many demands.

I’m nearing the end of my vacation on Florida’s gulf coast. These days away have allowed me to walk the beach, swim, be amazed at the beauty of the setting sun, watch fireworks on the beach on the Fourth of July, spend quality time with a good friend, enjoy some great meals off the grill and at some of our local favorites, and do a great deal of reading. It has also been a great opportunity to use the quiet time away from the phone and the doorbell for prayer and reflection.

Like many of you, I fill the summer with books that unpack some of the changes unfolding in the world we inhabit. Be they fictional or true, spiritual or mystery, these books can accompany us through our slower summer days, helping us to consciously re-emerge from vacations and into reality just a bit brighter and bolder. Here’s some books that I hope to complete this summer – a few of them are with me at the beach.

Mary DeTurris Poust, in her first book Cravings, offers a personal, hard-won wisdom on the complex relationship between food and spirituality. She helps readers spot ways they use food to avoid or ignore their real desires – for acceptance, understanding, friendship, love and God.

In his book, What Happens When I Die, Bill Wiese answers the question, “Is there life after death?” using fascinating stories that people shared with him as he has traveled to speak about his own experience of death.

Forming Intentional Disciples, by Sherry Weddell, offers suggests on how Catholic parishes can respond to changing trends in the United States. A few of those trends . . . Only 30% of Americans who were raised as Catholics are still practicing. 10% of all adults in America are ex-Catholics. Only 60% of Catholics believe in a personal God.

The Inner Life of Priests, by Gerard McGlone, SJ and Len Sperry, offers a comprehensive look at the life of the priest in our day from theological and psychological perspectives.

Anything by John Grisham is interesting. Theodore Boon the Activist and Sycamore Row are two recently published works that I can’t wait to crack open.

I encourage you to make time in your schedule to simply relax and enjoy all of the beauty that surrounds you. Slow down the hectic pace of your life. Take in ballgame or stopping for an ice cream cone. Do a little leisure reading. Spend a little more time with God – maybe even in a few more visits to our Adoration Chapel.

To slow down my life a little, through Labor Day I will be blogging every other week – so my next blog will be on July 23rd.

Question – Consider sharing with us how you are spending these summer months. What books are you planning to read? Are you going anywhere special? How are you simply slowing down the pace of your life?

July 9th, 2014 |