Summer is supposed to be restful and filled with fun, but for many, by this time of year, almost everyone is overwhelmed with what needs to be done for family vacations, personal trips, kids’ camps and activities, or various planned events. The anxieties, anticipations, and perhaps stresses, too, are building up beyond imagination. It seems like there is never a real time for rest, because we are either too busy with work, school, or with something else. Our lives always seem to be on the run and never seems to stop! In the midst of many things to do, so many of us just want to seek and a little bit of peace.
Time with family seems to be the natural expectation for many people with their summer break. However, there are also people who are struggling with the new time change from the usual school schedule, and that can create some internal struggles with loneliness being outside the usual structure. It is often the time when all of us, whether struggling or overly-anticipating, are invited to ground ourselves in God‘s faithfulness, life-giving relationships, and to understand the real purpose behind many things that have to be decided. In life, we are often presented with many competing, compelling, and attractive goods in order to see and discern what is really beneficial and good for all, especially in according to what He wants of us — and that can be very hard. We cannot do everything and anything as busybodies, but we can allow the opportunities to help us grow, mature, or benefit us in our faith and life journey as sons and daughters of the Most High.
King Ahaz was infamous in the Old Testament for his big ego, self-centered, and arrogant attitudes. He was unjust, thought much of himself, and at times, rely on earthly powers more than the Lord. As he witnessed and saw that the Babylonian Empire was closing in to conquer the region, he still put his trust in different futile (political) alliances to oppose the powerful military power. The Prophet Isaiah warned him of his fatality, and that he would have a better result to trust in the Lord; yet, he refused because he did not want to be convinced. He lost hope and peace as he trusted only in his political influences, earthly powers, and humanistic calculations. Ahaz is the typical figurine example of the so many people we have seen — at times, ourselves, too — who are only worried about what they can control and see but refuse to give themselves humbly to the Almighty.
In comparison, I would like to present the figure and life example of St. Joseph. Even though the foster father of the Lord Jesus Christ was hesitant to acknowledge the child as his own at first, he accepted divine will through the insistence of the Archangel Gabriel. Unlike Ahaz, St. Joseph accepted what God instructed with faith, hope, and love by accepting Jesus as his own son. The saint embraced the Almighty‘s gift to him with peace!
Even though we do not know how much St. Joseph impacted the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, we can certainly connect the dots, that when Jesus called God His “Father,” He related to the memories formed in His mind of His own adoptive father. The saint, through his loving silence and faithful service, became the perfect ideal of the loving father to the Savior and spouse to the Blessed Virgin. He said little but impacted much. He had no spotlight or special attention given but played a big role in shaping the life of Jesus Christ. The humble saint reminded us that we do not have to be or worry much about doing something extravagant. We can just being faithful and committed to who we are called to be in following God‘s will, and with our genuineness, we will move, impact, and leave a big mark on someone’s heart.
Therefore, in the midst of many temptations of finding a lot of things to do, perhaps try to imitate St. Joseph who left a big impact on the Lord by saying little and doing little things away from the spotlight. Even though we did not know exactly what was said or done by the saint, we know that the quality time spent with him influenced and left a big mark on the hearts of Jesus Christ and Mother Mary. Hence, we should also remember that our children and family members really do not need us to be so busy and filled with things for the summer in order for the break to be well spent, meaningful, or productive. The greatest gift is often the qualitative giving of time being present to one another and spending it well.
In the midst of a world that tells us that it is good to be loud or busy, choose silence and be present to one another. I have seen so many families spending time always trying to play catch up and move on to the next best thing that they do not have time for one another. Even though it is comfortable for them to talk about games, activities, or things that are going on in life, they do not know how to talk to each other. While some feel tired to have so much to do, others are burdened by the obligations and expectations. Either way, many are simply tired, drifting, or doing things for the sake of being busybodies! At the end of the day, we will not be satisfied with how much things we have to do or how many achievements we have under our belts, none of those numbers really matter anyway, because what matter is the people we spent it with and how much quality of love was present, recognized, given, and received.
I remembered when I was growing up, my parents did not have enough money to send us to any camps or activities. We just did simple, short activities at school, around the community, or church, but most of the time was spent with one another. I remember spending time at church to help with different things, whatever the parish priest needed, or to simply help clean the facilities. It was also time to help my parents with some around-the-house projects and chores. The summer was simple and filled with many nothing significant things, but because of that, we are able to rest and spend time with each other outside of our typical school and work routine. Even though I did not remember much of what was going on throughout my different summer breaks, I could remember a sense of relaxation, able to be, and do the things we were not able to because of school.
Do not just focus our efforts on the materialistic or humanistic things to have but be the simple gift of God‘s loving grace for one another! Do not solely focus on the things that need to be done but be present to each other well. Do not focus on everything that the world is telling us what we need to do or have and simply focus on the people who give us life, nourish us, bless us in immaterialistic ways. How? Genuinely by giving the present of the present moment to those who are around us.
May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.