The Memorial Day weekend has begun. It's a time to pray and remember, especially those who have given their lives in the service of our country. It's also a time to play. The beaches will be crowded.
My earliest memories of Memorial Day include helping my mother cut big pink peonies out of our yard. Then she would wrap the stems in wet newspapers and dad would drive for three hours so that we could lay the peonies on family graves.
On this Memorial Day weekend I also remember Brother Bill Reams, a monk who died recently at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia. About this time four years ago I stopped by the Monastery for a time of prayer. Brother Bill had seen me there before and for some reason he decided to give me an autographed copy of his book, The Whole Man: Meditations on the Life of Christ. The autograph says in part, "Holy Spirit, make us holy!"
I think that monks are pretty good at meditating on the life of Christ, so I offer this excerpt from his book that seems fitting today:
"God is our Father, and we are His children. 'Be children in evil, and in mind mature.' Yet the psychology of maturity can be overdone. Among all the children of God there must survive a certain childlike simplicity that not only does not know evil, but that positively rejoices in good.
"Children are, for the most part, happy. They play. When we grow up, sometimes we stop playing. And this is not good. We lose the gift of happiness precisely when we lose the gift of childhood.
We have to make a living. We have work to do. We don't have time to play. Or if we do play, we 'play' as adults 'play,' not as children, not as all the children of God should play, not as God's family.
Childlike faith is the only real faith. It is trust in the Father. We are afraid to relax. 'Thieves may break in and steal.' We do not live prayerful lives of religion and piety, because we do not have the confidence of children in God our Father. . . . Indeed, it might very well mean growing pains, and we are afraid to grow . . . spiritually, because it means becoming like little children . . ."
I'll stop there. I wish you a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. Please remember to wear your seat belts!