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The end of July!  Where is the summer going?  Perhaps, like me, you might remember lazy days of summer, filled with swimming, games, carefree bike-riding, popsicles, and lots of time!  As I got older, my definitions of summer changed — although my memories have survived.  Past and present and future…we jump back and forth, in and out.  The following poem might help all of us keep time (and its passing)  in perspective.
Two Days We Should Not Worry
Author Unknown
There are two days in every week, about which we should not worry,
two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.                                   
One of these days is Yesterday, with all its mistakes and cares,
its faults and blunders, its aches and pains.                                                                
Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control.
All the money in the world cannot bring back Yesterday.                                                
We cannot undo a single act we performed;
we cannot erase a single word we said.

Yesterday is gone forever.                                                                                                     
The other day we should not worry about is Tomorrow
with all its possible adversities, its burdens,

its large promise and its poor performance;

Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control.     
Tomorrow’s sun will rise,
either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise.

Until it does, we have no stake in Tomorrow,

for it is yet to be born.                                                                                                                  
This leaves only one day, Today.
Any person can fight the battle of just one day.

It is when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities,

Yesterday and Tomorrow, that we break down.                                                                                                                           Let us, therefore,

Live but one day at a time.
And in all of this, the greatest consolation is that our God has assured us:  “I am with you always….”
Written by Sr. Marie Paul Grech S.N.D
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Mark Link, SJ, shares this story:  “Federico Fellini’s film La Strada opened in 1954 and became a classic.  In one unforgettable scene, a clown is talking to a young lady.  She has grown weary of trying to love unlovable and unloving people and she wants nothing more to do with them.  As the conversation ends and the young lady turns to leave, the clown says to her, ‘but if you don’t love these people, who will love them?’” 
 
What answer would I give to this clown?  How do I feel about helping people who are not particularly lovable—or even appreciative?  What keeps me motivated in reaching out to the needy?  Do I recognize the needy within my own family?  In my neighborhood?  As the months of summer pass, let us set aside some time to pray for, to be attentive to, to assist those whose needs may be right in front of us.  St. Julie Billiart tells us that “we are not asked to do all the good in the world, but just the bit that lies within our power.”
Written by Sr. Marie Paul Grech S.N.D
An old Jewish story concerns a woman who stopped going to the synagogue.  One day the rabbi went to her house and asked to come in and sit with her by the fireplace.  For a long time, neither spoke.  Then the rabbi picked up some tongs, took a glowing coal from the fireplace, and set it on the hearth.  As the two watched, the coal slowly lost its glow and died.  A few minutes later, the old woman said, “I understand.  I will come back to the synagogue.”
 
Do you know anyone who has been “away” from Jesus whom you might help, as the rabbi helped the old woman?  Or does your faith or the faith of someone you know need to be strengthened?  Jesus tells us that we can do nothing without him…that we are like a branch that will dry up if we are not “connected” to the tree.  Let us spend a little time each day “connecting” to the Lord through personal prayer, reaching out to help someone in need, and remembering the many intentions of our community, our world.

 

A young monk had questions about the order’s motto: ‘Pray and Work.’  One day the abbot invited him to row across the lake with him.  The abbot rowed first—but with one oar. As a result, the boat went in circles.  The young monk said, ‘Abbot, unless you row with both oars, you won’t get anywhere.’  The abbot replied, ‘Ah! You’re right!  The right oar is prayer; the left is work.  Unless you keep them in balance and use them together, you’ll end up going in circles.’”  What kind of balance do we have in our lives?  It has been said:  Each Christian needs at least ten minutes of prayer a day, except when we are busy.  Then we need at least twenty minutes (anonymous).

Written by Sr. Marie Paul Grech S.N.D.

During this Fourth of July week, we are invited to be grateful for the gift of our national freedoms. We should remember that we are always invited to be grateful for all the gifts we have received through the bountiful love of our God who sent his Son to bring us the ultimate freedom!

The story is told of a Navy helicopter pilot who was explaining his chopper to his parents. He said, “As complex as those machines are, their whirling rotors are held in place by one simple hexagonal nut.” Then turning to his mother, he said, “Guess what that nut is called, mom.” She shrugged. He smiled and said, “It’s called a ‘Jesus Nut.’”

I don’t know enough about helicopters to know how accurate this is, but the thought is

a good one! To what extent does Jesus hold my life together? Do I allow Jesus to be in control of my life, my choices? As we watch the fireworks displays, enjoy our family barbecues, and take some much-needed relaxation, let us think about the value of our spiritual freedom, and not take for granted all the freedoms we enjoy every day.

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech S.N.D.

Summer means different things for different people…for students and teachers, it is a time somewhat free from school; it is time for some rest, relaxation, vacation. Can it not also be a time for spiritual refreshment? Summer can be a time for slowing down the pace of life—at least a little. Can we take a few moments more each day to spend with our good God? Each of us, thanks to modern technology, can even access online retreats or prayer helps if we have a computer. I would encourage you to investigate the possibilities and give yourself a few minutes each day, or a longer time on a given day when you can experience an online retreat or just some quiet time for reflection! I think that sometimes we may forget that the Church does keep up with modern technology and that we can use these modern conveniences for our own holy purposes.

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech S.N.D.

There is an old Christian tradition that God sends each person into this world with a special message to deliver, with a special song to sing for others, with a special act of love to bestow. No one else can speak my message, or sing my song, or offer my act of love. These have been entrusted only to me…..so what is my message, my song, my act of love? To whom have I been called to give it? Is God reading in my heart a compassion that wants to serve? Is God calling me to a deeper relationship with him?

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech S.N.D.