Saturday, August 10, 2013

On the Universality of the Psalms as Prayer


Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint.  (Psalm 64:1)
I believe that in prior columns I have defended adequately the proposition that August is the most splendid of all the months.  The reasons for that continue to accrue, even day by day as we move through the month. 
What great feasts there are!  The Transfiguration of the Lord, one of my favorites (remember the cloud from the Ascension?); Pope Saint Sixtus II, martyr to the great persecution of A.D.258; Saint Dominic, founder of the Order of Preachers and all-around cool guy; and Saint Theresa Benedicta of the Cross, also known as Edith Stein, one of the great examples of intellect and courage in the truth in the face of the massive disorder and dysfunction of the 20th century.  Then there is Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr, another from ancient Rome, this one known not only for his fidelity and fearlessness but also for his sense of humor.  And that is just this week!
You also know that I even love summer weather here, which this year has been…odd.  Can you remember a summer that has been as cool and wet?  It makes the trees and lawn out in front even more lush and peaceful, and is really showing in the new growth on all the new trees I planted several years back.  Of course, the Pastor in me takes delight in the reduced energy spending that comes with every cool or gray day. 
On the other hand, all that rain has made the earlier peaches a little … moist, and the flavor less concentrated.  Let’s hope the later ones receive enough sun to be more intense, all the better to make pies with!
So it seems that there is no way August can go wrong, at least in my eyes.  So what could possibly be to make me complain to the Lord?  Well, I hope I am not the first one to break it to you, but school starts in two weeks!  Arggh!  They are invading my August!
Routinely for many years, school began on the day after Labor Day.  What a happy, fresh Tuesday morning that is for all the little ones to come back from their free-for-all and immerse themselves in school and structure!  But a few years ago, when Labor Day was really late (like September 7th) school started the Tuesday before.   That was reasonable; September 1st.  But then as the calendar shifted, but the plan didn’t, and the start got moved to Monday.  So this year the darlings don their uniforms and grab their book bags on August 26th!  This is heresy.
Compounding that is that school also ended late this summer.  Graduation was on the 8th of June and the last day of classes the 19th, and the teachers did not get out of here for almost another week after that.  Now the Archdiocesan Back-to-school Mass for them at the Basilica is August 19th, so their summer is not even two months short.  And mine is even shorter!  I have already resumed meeting with the principal (charming and capable as Mrs. Wood is, the meetings nonetheless bode only a return to very un-summerlike considerations.)
So the sun may yet shine, but clouds gather, and the distant drumbeat of autumn and its labors is anything but distant.  Who stole my August?  This splendor, this languor cannot be wasted; I want to file a protest.  Heaven knows it is futile to send it to the Archdiocese, so again, I say, Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint!
And make sure that I do not only complain I have a game for you: find my sister.  If you see someone at church this weekend who looks vaguely familiar but you cannot recall ever meeting, perhaps you have found my sister Suzanne, visiting from Arizona.  You’ll know you’ve found her if you wish her a Happy Birthday and she thanks you, because she turns nn on Sunday.
Monsignor Smith

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