This afternoon, I had the opportunity to visit with a good friend. Our conversation was not long, but it was rich in subjects. He had just gotten back from a trip to France, and by chance our paths crossed at the place where he worked and where I was spending the day writing, so we sat down on a bench under the trees for a bit and talked about our summer. He told me about the places he visited, how miserably hot it was, and what he liked about the trip. Overall, it was great for him. We then turned to books we were reading, how my doctoral writing was going, and how things were shaping up for the various ministries we do. Our time together went by too quickly, but sadly we had other things to accomplish before our day was over.
One of my important tasks today was preparing the final posts for the retreat section of this website. The group who made my June Making All Things New retreat are just getting ready to start the fifth week of our on-line sessions. It’s amazing to me how quickly the weeks and months seem to roll by, but that they seem to do. Remember when you were a kid and, in some way, you were ready to get back to school come the dog days of summer? August in Southern California where I grew up can be miserable. Did I mention we somehow survived without air conditioning? It’s funny, isn’t it, that we managed to survive without so much of what we are dependent on today. I wrote survived but maybe a better word would be thrived. It could be we didn’t know any better, but we still managed to find ways to have fun, enjoy life, and make do with what we had. What’s happened to us?
This morning, I finished a book written by a Jesuit priest named Walter Ciszek. The book, He Leadeth Me, is his story of unwavering faith which allowed him to survive twenty-three years in Russian prisons and labor camps. He was convicted of being a “Vatican spy,” and somehow he found the courage and strength to trust God through times of incredible evil and darkness. Reading Fr. Ciszek’s unbelievable story was a source of great encouragement for me, and I trust it can be for you as well. Buy the book and spend the rest of the summer reading and thinking about it.
Friends, many today see the storm clouds gathering all around us, and some are stuck in a perpetual gloom and doom attitude. Just two days of the evening news and down we go into an ever increasing negativity. Fr. Ciszek reminded me that God is still on the throne, and despite what circumstances may come to be present in our lives, He is still showing us The Way toward a future full of hope and joy.
Have a blessed week.