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Summer-time Musings 2023

Sister Doreen’s Reflections

Berczy Park, Toronto. SSJD photo.

“Now that we have arrived [at the end of July and the beginning of August] no matter where we live, summer brings a certain kind of freedom from care that is unlike any other time of the year. This is a season of playfulness.” (Joyce Rupp & Macrina Wiederkehr in The Circle of Life)

Summer musings bring experiences of bright blinding sun, of ripe and juicy fruit, long days and short nights, humid and steamy weather, and flowers, vegetables and fruits in an abundance. It is a season when the warmth and the strong sun seem to call out to everything that is growing to leap into fullness!

It is a time I think to reflect as Marcrina says “on the fiery rays of our sun that fills our hemisphere with intense heat and energy for growth. Let us rejoice in the power of the sun and its ability to give life to our planet.”

And with the changes in our climate and the increasingly intense heat and risks of forest fires and floods, indeed it is a time to reflect carefully. Everyone, people, creatures and the land are affected as temperatures rise, when the sun is too intense and strong, and we all know that our energy can grow more sluggish with heat and humidity.

Summer time can indeed be a time of playfulness, a time of laziness and relaxation, and it can also paradoxically a time of being overwhelmed by the relentless sun, parched ground and a land that cries out for water, for relief from the unceasing heat. However, I think that in spite of the relentless sun, summer is a time of relaxation and vacation.  School is out, outdoor swimming pools and water parks are active with the sound of children laughing.

These outwards signs of summer cause us to muse about the summertime of our own spiritual lives. Our spiritual lives go through the seasons also – we have winter times, spring times, summer times, and fall times! They do not necessarily match the same season times of the outward year, but they do call us to attention to experience what these times are saying to us, what gifts they hold out to us. Do we listen deeply to these changing seasons of our lives?  What is summer saying to us about our inner life?

Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkehr wrote in “The Circle of Life” a statement of Proclamation that has become a very important reflection in my own life, especially when I am experiencing that summer season of my soul. I share this with you.

“We proclaim that the lights of the cosmos unite all people on the planet in a great oneness. As the fiery stars, the intense sun and the reflective moonlight shine on us, so they bathe each one who dwells on this beautiful sphere of life with a great illuminating energy.

              We proclaim that there is an unquenchable fire shining within each person, a light that is strong, deep, and enduring. It is the vigilant fire in the heart of the soul, maintaining hope and truth amid life’s ups and downs.

              We proclaim that the fire of those who have gone before us has never left this earth. We are heartened by the truth that their sacred fire has become an eternal light that leads us on, a fire continually blessing us, encouraging us, affirming us to live our life to the fullest for our own benefit as well as for the good of all humankind.

              We proclaim that there is a divine fire within us that is immeasurably loving, inconceivably caring, consistently nonjudgmental, and enormously passionate. This light will never give up on us. It will cherish us into eternity.

              We proclaim that the light within us is beautiful, precious, and wild. We urge everyone to do all they can to tend this fire, to care for it with courage and kindness. Let the inner light shine forth radiantly so all will benefit from the power of this immense warmth and goodness.”

I found myself asking questions about my summertime inner life, questions that both encouraged and challenged me. Does the fire of my own faith, hope and love need to be rekindled?

What about the spark of my life, is it still there? Do I need to tend that spark, and fan it into life?

What is bringing me joy and a sense of well-being and satisfaction? A sense of fruitfulness, completion, and peace? Have I allowed these to be buried under too much care and concern? To much busyness?

When I experience the exuberant and fruitfulness of everything around me in deep summer, and I look at fearfulness of too much exuberance caused by climate change and the intense weather patterns that accompany it, I am challenged to look also at my own inner life. At the balance of life, the continual play of paradox between playfulness and concern; inspiration and healing; hardness of heart and compassion; resistance and change; loneliness and love; helplessness and transformation. And I pray for and give thanks for that inner light that sustains me and empowers me to continue to grow deeper and stronger in my own inner life.

“Summer is the season when nature comes into its fullness”. (Angeles Arrien) When I am experiencing  the summer time of my own spiritual life it is my deepest desire that I will be open and challenged to growing into that fullness of life:

  • That unity of oneness
  • That hope and truth throughout the ups and downs of life
  • That love, trust and confidence that brings healing to self and others
  • That tenacious faithfulness and unconditional love
  • That courage and kindness, warmth and goodness

May your summer be indeed a season of fruitfulness.