A little over a week ago I received an email from one of the teachers at our school, asking if I would like to join her class on a Night Hike at Blue Jay Point. Blue Jay Point is about 7-8 miles from here. The fifth grade class would be spending the day and night there, as a getaway and also as a way to learn about science and the environment. I said “yes.” I arrived around 8:30 pm and came upon a campfire around which students and teachers were toasting marshmallows and making s’mores. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?
The hike began a little after 9:00 pm, and the teachers led the students down a path toward Falls Lake. Only the teacher had a flashlight, and she led the way, pausing now and then, turning off the light. She asked us to stop, look up and around with a sense of awe and wonder at the night sky and the mystery of the woods in darkness. The students were quiet. No phones, no electronic devices, nobody linked to anything other than each other and the wondrous beauty of the created world. At one point the teacher asked us to pause, consider, and praise, this beauty and wonder of God’s creation. It was all very Franciscan, and fun!
In my time here at St. Francis I have very much appreciated the marriage and baptism preparation process. We have volunteers who help families on the day of their child’s baptism, and help with baptism preparation. We friars are also grateful for those who volunteer as wedding coordinators, run the rehearsals, and are present on the day of the wedding, helping to get the wedding party (and often the friar, frequently me) organized.
Coming up next Saturday, May 30, we are offering a “Christ Alive In Our Marriage” retreat for married couples in their 20s/30s. It’s a day retreat that’s described as a way to “strengthen your relationship with your spouse and deepen your faith with other young couples from our community.” There is more information in the stewardship center, on our website, or in the bulletin.
I have been reading through a slim book called “Encounters with Silence” by Karl Rahner. Rahner was a Jesuit priest who was very influential during the Second Vatican Council. He has a prayer in the book which has stayed with me, which reads “O God, give me the grace to continue to wait for you in prayer.” In a culture of instant answers, instant information – “give me the grace to continue to wait for you.” I find it widens the context, takes the long view, and places trust in God.
Finally, on this Memorial Day weekend, we remember especially all those veterans who have gone before us.
Blessings on your week!