My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
First of all, I want to wish all of you a very safe Labor Day Weekend. It was fun to Google “Labor Day” and learn a little more of why we celebrate this holiday. It marks the unofficial end of the summer season and traditionally was the last day when it was acceptable to wear white and (new to me) seersucker! Remember what that is? For all of the sports aficionados out there, Labor Day weekend marks the beginning of a number of fall sports. Mostly, however, this holiday was originally created to honor the American labor movement and the works and contributions of American workers to the development of our country. One of the defining characteristics of an American is that he or she is one who wants to work, and we are collectively known around the world as a hard-working people. I believe that in spite of the pandemic this spirit of dedication to work is going to contribute greatly to our recovery from this awful time in our history. Already we know of people who are working so tirelessly to find an effective cure from the novel coronavirus. We have seen the gaunt and exhausted faces of healthcare workers who have worked, and who continue to work, so tirelessly and in such a self-sacrificing way for the good of those who have succumbed to the effects of the infection. I hope all of us will add to our personal prayer list a joyful and sincere prayer for all the many, many workers who have made our country the wonderful place it truly is. Things are not what we would want them to be right now, but I for one refuse to give in to any form of defeatism. Instead I am purposing in my heart to rejoice, especially this weekend, for all those who give us hope in humankind because of their dedication to the work they do.
Speaking of Labor Day, our parish office is closed on Monday, September 7, in observation of the holiday. Our office and maintenance staff (Connie, Eileen, Tom, Laurence and Irma) are so incredibly dedicated in the ways they keep everything here running so wonderfully well in spite of the semi-craziness of these days. Please, join me in remembering each one of these good people in your ongoing prayers of thanksgiving.
This weekend I am going to do something just a little bit different for our spiritual reflection. I’m going to first of all give you some homework, and then I am asking you to share with me your reflections on what has spoken to your heart from it. The homework is from our second reading for this weekend. I’m going to include all of it here so you won’t have to look it up (unless you would like to do that in your own Bible):
“Brothers and sisters: Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.”
- Romans 13:8-10
For me, it is almost impossible to read these two verses and not be reminded of I John 4, especially, but not limited to, verses 7-12, 17-21. I would encourage you to read these verses as well and tie them into your reflections upon the reading from Romans. I have found in meditating upon these two portions of scripture that I have been encouraged by the love of God for me, but I’ve also been challenged to examine the very quality of my love both for Him, for all whom He loves and for all that He loves. My prayer today is that you will also be guided to quietly examine your heart, your source of love, and challenge yourself to deepen and perhaps even purify your love. Again, after you’ve invested some time with this gentle exercise, please share some of your thoughts with me. May you be deeply enriched as you give yourself over to this spiritual adventure.
You are ever in my thoughts and prayers. Please remember me before God’s throne of grace always.
With deepest brotherly love in Christ,