After a week of technical glitches with our server, the Builders are back and ready to rock and roll…or at least, we’re ready to write!
Personally, August snuck up on me! It’s hard to believe that in just a few weeks we will be entering back into a school routine. I’m dreading the early mornings especially this year, as we have definitely slipped into a summer schedule of late evenings and later-than-usual morning wake-ups. My kids have taken their time moseying down to breakfast in the mornings, gotten out of the habit of making their beds and brushing their teeth right away, spend half the day in dress-up clothes or a bathing suit, and moan when they have to spend more than 5 minutes at a time in the car. Oh boy, those carpool trips are going to be lots of fun come September!
One of my favorite things about summertime is that it allows me a bit more time for personal reflection. This summer, I have been particularly struck by how I am sometimes paralyzed by all of the choices that I have to make in my daily life. Not only are there many small decisions to be made throughout each day, but there are also so many choices within each choice! Because we have just moved to a new house, we have endless choices to make about where to hang our pictures, which repairs to do now vs. later, which purchases to make now and which ones can be delayed, and many more. The most recent decision, which sounds so silly when I write it down, has been about curtains – yes, curtains! There are so many different styles to choose from and stores to shop at, and such a wide range in quality and pricing, and of course there is the ever-looming thought that perhaps a sale will come along next week! Sometimes, I wish that there were was just one option, and that the only choice to make was whether to say “yes” or “no” to that option!
A couple of Sundays ago, the Gospel reading spoke directly to my heart on this issue:
Jesus said to his disciples: “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it…” Matthew 13:44-46
For the two people in the Gospel passage above, there was only one choice to make, and the answer was very clear: Yes! Resoundingly yes to the treasure in the field, absolutely yes to the pearl of great price, and definitely no to everything else! These individuals did not waver in their decision to forsake everything else in order to gain the treasure that they had found – there were no lists of Pros and Cons, no sleepless nights spent wondering whether they were choosing wisely, not even any conversations with friends to confirm that their gut feeling was correct. They were single-minded in their pursuit, and when they found what they were looking for, they immediately recognized it and responded out of joy and without hesitation.
Since hearing Jesus’ words a couple of weeks ago, I have been convicted to set my priorities straight. I am reminded of the verse, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt 6:33). As long as I have my priorities in order, with God first and everything else following, then I do not need to spend so much time worrying about the small choices in my daily life. I am reminded of an incident a couple of weeks ago that really touched me: I was picking up a friend early one morning to head to a workshop where she was going to be the main presenter. I could tell very clearly that she had had a hectic morning and that it had been difficult for her to make it out the door. Rather than launching into a litany of complaints, she very humbly asked whether we could spend about 10 minutes in prayer. She hadn’t had time for her morning reflection, and asked whether I would mind if she read aloud for us from a book, and if we could then spend some time in quiet reflection. Wow, I thought to myself, my friend has her priorities straight! In all honesty, this time of prayer was exactly what I needed, too, so this was definitely the work of the Holy Spirit.
I pray that you are all doing well in these last days of summer, and that you are able to feel the peace that comes from seeking God’s kingdom above all else. Mary, Queen of Heaven, pray for us! St. John Vianney, wise director of souls and whose feast we celebrated yesterday, pray for us!