Don’t Let Good Things Get in the Way of the BEST Things!

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”

Ecclesiastes 3:1

 I spent the Labor Day weekend exploring the North Dakota Badlands and enjoying the pleasant weather. It was the last bit of summer and now the fall, with its more ordered schedule and all of its activities, is upon us. I am grieving the end of summer, while at the same time, looking forward to the more structured routine of fall. I sense that many others join me in this sentiment. We are made in the image and likeness of God, who brings order out of chaos so it is not surprising that our souls long for the routine. But as St. Aquinas reminds us virtue is found in the mean and often times we are troubled by how difficult it is to find and maintain balance, “the mean”, with regard to how we structure our days. So while we long for the routine, we are also tempted to schedule ourselves and our families to the point of exhaustion.

This seems to be a problem relevant both to the time we live in and to American culture more generally. Never before in the history of humankind have we had so many choices about how to spend our time. This is a challenge given to us by the many blessings we enjoy in this age. More generally, as Americans, we also tend to race after experiences. We want to experience life to the full and we feel that if we miss some opportunity, we have genuinely “missed out.” Many years ago, Fr. Ron Rolheiser, wrote an article about this peculiarly American tendency to “covet experience” as he termed it. As an example, he pointed out how we tend to vacation. We travel to an area and then try to see and do every possible sight and activity. His example rang true to my own experience. We had recently returned from a trip to Yellowstone and I was secretly lamenting that the Park is so large we hadn’t really had time to see the northern end! Ouch! Fr. Rolheiser challenged readers to resist the temptation to grab for every experience in life and to instead receive time and the particular experience as a gift from God. This is a fundamental principle of Stewardship, to receive gratefully from God. The opposite of receiving gratefully is selfishly grabbing and at the root of that behavior is fear and mistrust which leads us to believe we need to make our own happiness. It is the fundamental effect of the Fall; a temptation we all battle against.

I am inspired by those who navigate this challenge well, who are able to avoid the pitfalls of trying to do too much but seem able to balance life well. I am also inspired by those who can be mindful in what they choose to fill their calendars with. Andrew Pudewa says, “Don’t let good things get in the way of the best things!” Ana Robbins, a parishioner at Cathedral and a busy mom of three recently shared how she and her husband Nick work to keep their busy lives in balance and keep Christ at the center of their lives. Her testimony is one of three currently on our Resources page and is also below. We plan to feature three different testimonies monthly for the next several months as we work to develop more fully the resources pages. Eventually, they will also become part of the modules on those pages. In the meantime, take a few minutes to listen. They are truly inspiring!

Another Note:
A reader asked me to share this with you:

We are excited to announce a second Rachel’s Vineyard post-abortion healing retreat this year in western South Dakota! Please pray that the women and men needing post-abortion healing will learn about the upcoming October Rachel’s Vineyard retreat in South Dakota. Pray they come to receive God’s forgiveness, mercy and healing of their spiritual, emotional, and psychological suffering. Please pray also for the retreat team’s spiritual welfare as they prepare to be God’s instruments of healing!

Please pass this on to groups or other people you know…the more prayers, the better!! May God be praised and souls and lives restored at this retreat! Thank you!!

Please pray for this important ministry in our Diocese!

And One More Note:
If you are thinking about coming to this year’s Summit with Fr. John Riccardo, but haven’t yet registered, please do so soon! With 350 people registered, spots are filling up fast and I am confident you do not want to miss this opportunity. Fr. Riccardo is truly inspiring. Registration and more information are on our Summit Page. I hope to see you there!

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