Happy Independence Day! Fourth of July is a beautiful time to come together and celebrate our nation’s independence and to remember that true freedom comes from God. This quintessential summer holiday is to be celebrated “ideally with sun on your skin and sand between your toes” as one travel guide put it.
Summer, generally speaking, is a time to relax and refresh. We think of slowing down our hectic pace of life, plan a vacation, and find some time for ourselves to do the things that we wanted to do. Despite all the good intentions, some may find that many of their summer plans have to be postponed due to the very hectic pace that they had hoped to get a break from. But everyone can benefit from the summer season by intentionally planning to do something worthwhile.
Summer reading plan is one of those things that can be done this season, even if we don’t get time to go for a vacation. There are many summer reading programs for children to keep reading and learning during their hiatus from school. We know reading for pleasure helps children grow and develop. But, what about adults? There are many book clubs for adults too. They all post a list of recommended books for summer reading. One librarian who organizes book club said: “Reading is a serious stress-buster, and after a really stressful year, it’s a great way to unwind and relax. Honestly it is a form of self-care that we often overlook.”
Now that we have begun the Parish Phase of the Eucharistic Revival, I would ask all of us to focus on reading some books on the Holy Eucharist this summer. There are many books out there. I have lined up to read three books this summer. The first one is: “Telling the Story of Jesus: Word – Communion – Mission.” The author, Cardinal Luis Tagle, tells the readers to be in communion with Jesus and that this communion is found in the Eucharist as well as among the lost, the tired, and the abandoned people of this world. He focuses on three fundamental dimensions of Christian experience: 1) authentic spiritual worship of Jesus in and beyond Eucharist, 2) our communion in the Word of God, and 3) the mission each one of us has to tell the story of Jesus based on our experience of him. I look forward to being enriched by this and other two books: This is My Body (Bishop Barron) and Becoming Eucharistic People: The Hope and Promise of Parish Life (Timothy O’Malley).
But, summer reading on the Eucharist need not be limited to books. There are many resources on line about the Eucharistic Revival that are easily accessible. Here are just four websites with a ton of materials: www.eucharisticrevival.org, www.wordonfire.org, www.usccb.org, and www.fdlc.org/eucharistic-revival-resources/ You will find great videos and information about this revival, enriching articles on the Eucharist, powerful speakers on the Eucharist, free webinars and easy activities for the whole family centered on the Eucharist.
In the meanwhile, let us keep up the enthusiasm with which we have entered the Year of Eucharistic Revival here at St. Matthias. The Monday adoration is well attended as people come to experience personal communion with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. This should lead us to have better communion with others. That is how we become the Body of Christ.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal