It was always about this time in August when my mother would gather a few of us and tell us to get cleaned up because we were going shopping—for “back-to-school” clothes and shoes. Just thinking about that directive from my loving mother, I still bristle and resist! My response inevitably was something like, “But, we don’t have to go back to school for weeks!”
The protests didn’t matter—off we went. Because there were both boys in girls in the family that meant I had to tolerate going shopping for my sisters too—it was the most horrible way to spend a beautiful summer’s day!
This familiar scene is being repeated all over the city and suburbs as shopping malls are filled with families searching for good values and proper sizes of clothes and shoes—for last year’s outfits and are not only worn out, they don’t fit either. If you think about it, the whole movement of these last weeks of summer is one of getting ready. I noticed on my walk this morning some browning of the leaves in the park. When the alarm went off at 5:20 this morning, I was surprised to see that it was still dark outside.
Registration for Religious Education classes is picking up and the plans for meetings with teachers and coordinators have been firmed up. The date for the annual Blessing of the Animals is October 7 at Thompson Square. There will be a gathering all of the Churches in Charlestown for the International Day of Peace on Friday, September 21. What an important moment to pray for Peace in our troubled world. The “Why Catholic” dates will be firmed up in September and you will be invited once again to join this worthwhile faith-enriching experience.
On September 7–8, the Parish Pastoral and Finance Councils will spend some time in prayer and planning for the new year. This will include how our Parish joins in the world-wide Year of Faith Pope Benedict has initiated. Also the Parish Social Justice Committee will be launching an exciting new program called “Just Neighbors”. This effort will aid all of us in broadening our understanding of the realities and needs of others.
One of the most frequent greetings I receive around town is, “Hey Father, how was your vacation?” I am answering happily that my vacation was wonderful! I spent most of the time sailing in my small boat on Duxbury Bay. And I finally picked up a new companion, Lily! You may have seen her with me around town—she is a sweet English Labrador Retriever; whether or not she becomes liturgically adept remains to be seen. So, my vacation was wonderful, yet the days of sailing this summer are rapidly coming to an end. Soon I will fix the date for pulling the boat out of the water—for the winter.
I love that passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes: “There is an appointed time for everything and a time for every affair under the heavens” (3:1). The movement of the seasons, each flowing one into another, without anyone of us understanding the mystery and beauty of it all is both humbling and awesome. For it is God who sets the appointed time, even though I often resist that truth; often I would rather think that I control time.
I no longer have to shop for clothes at the change of seasons yet I still feel a resistance to letting go of the summer season. To savor its beauty and all the loveliness of this time of year is a good preparation for the next movement of God’s work—the autumn. Seeing God’s hand in all this helps me to let go and appreciate all of this marvelous work. Further I can see that God is also working in me, for my own seasons of life continue to unfold. So, letting go of summer can help me to learn to trust a bit more in God’s wonderful plan for me and all that surrounds us in this special time of year.
— Fr. Ronan