The Labor Day weekend marks a time of transition in the lives of many people.
I think first of all of our friends returning to school after summer vacation. Whatever the level of schooling — from preschool to post-doctoral studies — there is an adjustment to be made when people return to class after a break from that demanding activity. As difficult as it may be for some, I always have the impression that students are happy to return to school. To begin anew is a sign of progress being made, life moving on and good things being accomplished.
For the rest of us, the change is not back to the classroom but back to the school of life at a higher pace than is generally experienced in the summer months. I know that I find myself anticipating a renewed round of meetings and events from which we have a break from in July and August. As much as I have enjoyed the relative peace and quiet of these weeks, I will be happy to return to life’s usual pace. I do, like the students, enjoy the dynamism of it all and the sense of progress and accomplishment that daily work engenders. In addition to all of that, I miss the people with whom I am privileged to associate in all of those activities. Their commitment to the work of the church is inspiring. Their encouragement is life-giving. Their gifts and creativity stimulate the mind and the spirit.
Between this writing and the Labor Day weekend, I will have made my annual retreat, a time that becomes more and more important to me as the years go by. Once again this year I will be doing this at the Eastern Point Retreat Center in Gloucester, Mass. I have been going there for some years now. The spiritual directors I have had have been most helpful. The beauty of the oceanside site invites prayer. The silence of the place and the witness of sister and brother retreatants at prayer are wonderful blessings.
I try to approach such experiences without a preset agenda, hoping to be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the suggestions of the spiritual director assigned to accompany me through the experience. But under any circumstances all in this diocese are daily a part of my prayer. That prayer is in gratitude for the gift you are to me every day of my life. It is for growth in faith for all of us; it is for God’s blessings and guidance for us as we seek to live the Gospel together and work to build the kingdom of God.
As you come to this Labor Day weekend and whatever transitions it may bring to your life, I hope that you do so in peaceful spirit and with confidence in God’s unfailing love for you. Such dispositions make it easier for us to absorb the deep consistent message of Jesus in this week’s Gospel — that humility, a grateful peaceful acceptance of the truth, is a gateway to greatness and to the fullness to which God calls us all.
I wish you a joyful Labor Day holiday and many blessings as we enter a new phase of the year.
Peace to all.