Can you believe that in a few weeks the summer will be over? From time to time people have been asking me how my summer was going. I have to say that it has been busier than usual. Going to India for a wedding in June and then trying to catch up with everything, saying good-bye to Frs. John and Muraya and then helping Frs. Peter and Matt to settle down, doing many funerals and the Masses have kept me very busy. I don’t think I am ready to start the new school year as yet.
I know that your lives are also very busy. Those of you who are parents don’t find too much time for yourselves. Moms seem to run a regular limo service moving their kids from one activity to another. Life seems to be always a little hurried, harried. Every new technology that we acquire doesn’t make our life easier. It makes it more complicated. The time that we hope to save with the new device somehow slips through our fingers. Even summer seems rushed.
In the gospels there is an interesting story. The disciples come back after carrying out Jesus’ mission and they are very proud of themselves. They are reminiscing and recounting all their accomplishments. People are coming and going. Life gets so busy that they do not have time even to eat. That is when Jesus tells his disciples, “Come away to a lonely place and rest awhile!” I believe that those words are addressed also to all of us in our frenzied lives. Come away and rest! Take some time off to be quiet!
In our Christian spiritual tradition, aspirants to holiness are invited to make retreats. When I was a young seminarian and then a young priest, we participated in annual spiritual retreats that lasted five days. We had to spend time in silence and reflection. Even today every priest of the archdiocese is required to make an annual retreat. The Church knows that it is important to “retreat” to regain our perspective and to recoup our energy. I think that it is important for all of us make retreats on a daily basis.
Jesus Himself showed us a great example in this regard. His life was busy, very busy. Once His fame spread and people came to know of his healing power and preaching prowess, the crowds sought him out. Everywhere He went, people even tried to touch Him. He was so busy that He did not have time to eat. In fact the Gospel of Mark states that His family thought He was “losing His mind.” The same Lord who knew that the harvest was great and the laborers were few, took time off to commune with His Father. He often retired to a deserted place, early in the morning to spend time in quiet prayer and reflection. In that quiet moment He found the energy to be available for the people.
I would like to invite all of us to follow the Master’s example. We need to retreat from our busy lives. I would like to suggest a few little ways you can “retreat” during the day:
In the midst of our hectic schedules, let us heed the voice of Jesus who beckons us. If you would try, you can hear Him say: “Come to Me all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will give you rest!”
This Sunday I am driving to Collegeville, MN, to make my spiritual retreat with the Benedictines at St John’s Abbey. Please keep me in your prayers. This coming year is going to be a special year that can have a significant positive impact on our parish. I for one will pray for each and every one of you. I am so blessed to serve you.
Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.
After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...