Summer Rest

One of the things I really like in our country is driving on the highway. Just last week I drove to Cincinnati to pick up my niece, Jennifer, who is returning to India after two years. Accompanied by my brother, Bob, I drove early morning on Friday and returned late that evening. Whenever I drive on the highway, I love to set my car on cruise control and sit back. Most often I am listening to music in my car. I noticed that practically every car was passing me. So many motorists were in such a hurry. I am sure some of them were annoyed that I was driving too slowly. Then a thought hit me. So many times we live just as we drive. We seem to be rushing from one place to another, from one activity to another, with scant time or energy to reflect on more important issues. We miss enjoying the drive. We fail to notice the scenery.

Summer is a good time to set our lives on cruise control. We can at 55 or even 45 mph so that we can have some time to do three things. I know that parents are often quite busy with their children, and summer is no exception. But I would like to invite all of us to do these three things: to rest, to retreat and to renew.

First of all, take time to rest. I have not done a global research, but I am almost certain that as a people we Americans get the least amount of rest. Every now and then we read magazine articles telling us that we do not sleep enough. During the summer months take time to sleep a little more. Take afternoon naps if you can. I feel bad for our children and young people who have to get up so early on school days. I really believe that their developing brains need a lot more sleep than they get. Resting also means not following any schedule. We are prisoners of our schedules and our smart phones. During the summer months, it is wonderful not to have a schedule to the extent possible. I learnt the wisdom of getting away from tight schedules a few years ago when I vacationed on the beach with some friends of mine. I used to be always on the go (I still am), but it was so refreshing to take long walks on the beach or sit on the porch sipping coffee in the morning or just stare at the waves.

Second, take time to retreat. In order to replenish ourselves we have to get away from it all. Jesus, who was very busy ministering to people, would often retreat from the crowds to be alone with the Father. He spent time in solitude. I am inviting you to get away from your everyday concerns and dedicate sometime to your spiritual growth. You know that we priests are required to make a retreat every year. Because of the pandemic I have not been able to schedule my annual spiritual retreat. Hopefully when all this dies down, I will be able to seclude myself in a monastery to pray for a few days. I hope you can find some time during this summer to devote to your spiritual growth. During the year we often complain that we do not have enough time to pray. Read a spiritual book. Find time for prayer. Even though it is more challenging to go to Sunday Mass these days, we have many opportunities in our parish. If you are not able to be in church in person, make watching the Sunday Mass on-line a family ritual. Perhaps everyone can dress up and attend Mass as if you are in church. Please do not give up Sunday Mass no matter where you are vacationing. We need the Lord and our spiritual food even on our vacation.

Finally, take time to renew. Our God is always making all things new. At the end of time God will create new heavens and a new earth as the Bible says. Summer is a time to renew ourselves. I heard in the news that more and more Americans are opting for cosmetic surgery. The renewal I am talking about comes from within. It is not about getting a facelift or purchasing a new wardrobe. Spend a little more time with yourself to find out the things you would like to change about yourself. Renewing self also means finding the time to do the things we are unable to do during the year. Allot time to spend with each of your children alone. Call on your extended family. Renew the friendships that have fallen by the wayside. Make phone calls and write letters. Entertain, if you are able, in your backyard.   

I hope this summer will not pass you by. Already one month is gone, and before we know it, our schools will be back in session. Don’t wait! Enjoy your summer.

May the God of rest, renewal and peace be with you!

Mission Statement: As children of God, living in a Catholic community of faith, we are united by the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Aware that all we have is gift and grace from our Heavenly Father, we strive to give of our time, talent and treasure to build His kingdom on earth. We live this mission, challenged by the Word, nurtured by the Sacraments, and enlivened by the Spirit, to serve our brothers and sisters in peace, justice and dignity. All are welcome on this journey.

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St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068

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Phone: (847) 825-7605

Mass Schedule

Monday - Friday

8:30 am - Upper Church


4:30 pm (vigil) - Upper Church


7:30 am - Upper Church

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9:30 am - Gym

10:30 am - Upper Church

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