Spiritual June Report
Don’t Forget To Pray
Yeah—summer is here! Time for playing sports, going to baseball games, swimming, golfing, vacationing, lying in the sun and visiting friends. I think we all look forward to summer activities, but wait, is there any time left to pray? We all like vacations, but do we take a vacation from God in the summer? Even before the COVID pandemic, attendance at the Divine Liturgy during the summer months went down, unless of course your parish is in a vacation spot.
We may say I don’t have time, or I’m too tired to go to Church and attend the Divine Liturgy, or I fell asleep watching TV and missed my night prayers. I must take my child to a soccer or baseball game, after all I want my child to be a well-rounded individual. There is a myriad of excuses that I have heard as a pastor.
We all have a responsibility to give thanks to God, to pray for those God has put in our life and to glorify Him. We can do this in several ways since there are many ways to pray. The ultimate prayer is the Divine Liturgy. Here is the reality of Christ being present where two or three are gathered in His Name. Christ is present among us and uniting Himself to us in Holy Communion. When I question someone why they haven’t gone to the Divine Liturgy for a long time, I often get the response: “Father John, God is everywhere so I can pray to Him wherever I am.” It is true that God is everywhere, but the paschal mystery of our Lord’s death and resurrection is especially shown in the Divine Liturgy. It is here that Christ unites Himself to us in Holy Communion. So, when you are out golfing, or maybe just sleeping in on a Sunday morning, you are missing another opportunity to have God dwelling inside of you in the form of the Holy Eucharist.
St. Paul tells us to “never cease praying” (1 Thess 5:17). An easy way to do this is to recite the Jesus Prayer: “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” This prayer came to us from the Desert Fathers in the fourth or fifth century. In our fast-paced life this is a prayer we can say anywhere. We can also use it as a form of meditation, or a way to slow down our life when we slowly recite this prayer as we breathe in and breathe out.
It may be easier for you to pray by accessing our rich Byzantine Catholic prayer resources on the Web. One such site is Eastern Christian Publications (ecpubs.com) where The Byzantine Daily Office can be accessed. There are also many resources on https://godwithusonline.org/, an outreach project of the Eparchial Directors of Religious Education (ECED) and the Eastern Catholic Bishops in the United States. Every religious denomination has resources on the internet, all I ask is that you find one that will add to your prayer life this summer.
As we enjoy our summer activities and the nice weather God bestows on us, there is time to pray, there is time to participate in the Divine Liturgy and there is time to grow closer to God. I hope you have a most restful, peaceful and prayer filled summer.
Rt. Rev. Mitred Archpriest John S. Kachuba