I hope that these early days of summer have been good to you and that you and your loved ones will be able to enjoy some rest and relaxation in the weeks ahead.
This will be my last weekly “Along the Way” until the Aug. 11-12 editions of the Catholic Courier. Each year at this time, I tell you how much I enjoy communicating with you in this forum. I also have told you that I don’t mind a break from the weekly deadline. They seem to arrive more and more quickly each week as the years go by. I will enjoy not having to meet them for awhile.
What I look forward to most in the days to come is some extra time to pray, to read, to think, to relax and to spend time with family and friends.
The first thing I am going to do is visit my friend Father Tom Powers in Norfolk, Va. Tom retired from active ministry in Albany almost two years ago. While I have seen him several times since then, I have not yet visited him in Norfolk. Tom has been very happy in this new phase of his life and I look forward to experiencing a bit of it with him.
Bishop Howard Hubbard and I will be spending vacation together at Cape Cod. Tom, part of this 40-plus-year-old vacation group, was originally scheduled to be with us but an expected snag made that impossible.
I have no particular agenda for those days — and I don’t want to develop one! But it happens quite often that once I slow down and things settle, two things happen. One is that I enjoy a peaceful review of the events of the past year. What happened? How did it fit into life? What can I learn from it?
From that kind of reflection flows a natural tendency to think about the year to come. Where should I focus my energies? How can we build on our strengths? And improve the weaker points?
If I am making that sound like a chore, I don’t mean to. It’s more a question of attending to what bubbles up in me and claims my attention when I am at rest. It’s not as though I am trying to solve life’s problems on the beach. It’s more a matter of asking the Lord to let his light shine on any efforts I make to deal with them.
To be sure, the Lord deals with each one of us in unique and personal ways. I am not asking you to use whatever quiet time you may have in the same way that I do. But I do encourage you to do what you can to find some peaceful time for yourself this summer. And, when you can find such time, I encourage you to attend to what bubbles up in your own spirit. Very often the prayer that rises from such experience can be filled with peace, healing and encouragement.
I look forward to rejoining you in August. In the meantime, please be assured of my gratitude, affection and daily prayer.
Peace to all.