We often in the Church speak of “new beginnings.” Those two words can have almost endless meanings to us and to how we live our lives. Now that the fall season is in full swing, even though we tend to think more of spring as being a “new beginning,” now is equally so. Think of all the things in our lives and in those of our families that have begun or begun again in the past several weeks.
Two thoughts come to me as I ponder the significance of this time of year. It seems that there is never a time of year when starting over and renewing are not appropriate. We speak often of prayer – Jesus certainly provides for us both an example and encouragement to have rich prayer lives. Now would be a great time for a personal spiritual renewal, both for us individually and for our families, if appropriate.
Prayer groups and spiritual studies are beginning and ongoing at our parish. You might consider getting involved in one. No matter what you choose to do, it is always a good time to extend and formalize your prayer life. Schedule more time for personal prayer. Even better, if you have a family, try to formalize the prayer lives of your family as a group. That can enrich your life so much, and often it is something that stays with children forever.
My second thought goes back to the theme often stated by Jesus to “love one another.”
Were you aware that studies done by healthcare groups have shown that people who try to be kind to others have less pain, less depression, and less stress in their lives? That is exactly what the Lord tells us will happen if we do even small things to demonstrate our love for one another.
That can begin with something as simple as a smile. Smiles certainly make others feel better, and they tend to help us, as well. Another way to show kindness is to get involved in ministries and activities. By committing ourselves to ministry and to being volunteers in a variety of ways, we are making the idea of being kind routine and normal. Look for ways you can do things that match and fulfill your talents and interests.
Those two thoughts, although seemingly small, can make a huge difference in our lives, not to mention the lives of those around us. First, pray more on a fixed schedule. Second, smile and be kind. It is amazing how those two aspects of our lives can be fulfilled and fulfilling.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Anthony “Tony” Pangan, SSS