Letter from Fr. Keith (July 24)

Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Dunstan’s,

I indicated last week’s would be my final letter for now. I afterwards heard that some who have not yet made the decision to return to Mass would like me to continue as a way to keep them in touch with the parish. I’m happy to do that.

Our Masses—weekday and weekend—are continuing. This week, we are planning for a maximum of 100 Sunday morning at 9 and 11. You are aware of the registration procedure from earlier letters. 30+ parishioners are currently involved in organizing our Masses: helping people without computer access to register, taking names at the door, guiding people to their seats, cleaning following the Masses. All of this is so very much appreciated. We’ll always welcome others to further swell the ranks!

This Sunday’s first reading reacquaints us with King Solomon. In some ways, Solomon is even better-known that his father, King David. He succeeded David as King of the united Israel and Judah, about 950 years before the time of Jesus. We remember him for his wisdom.

Today, we hear the story of how his wisdom came to be (1Kings 3:5-12). God appears to him in a dream, and offers, Ask what I should give you. Solomon replies, Give your servant an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this, your great people? The conversation continues with the Lord’s response. Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I now do according to your word. Indeed, I give you a wise and discerning mind…

What is wisdom? Wisdom is a gift of God—the first in the list of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is our share in God’s understanding, God’s way of seeing ourselves, others, the world we live in. We’re all familiar with the passage from chapter 3 of the book of Ecclesiastes: For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven; a time to be born, a time to die…God has made everything suitable to its time. Wisdom is the ability to discern what needs to be done and the appropriate time and place to do it. It’s the gift of grace that allows our decisions and plans to be in sync with God’s Big Picture.

In our day, we have access to oodles of information. Wisdom is the gift needed to sift through it, separating grain from chaff, wheat from weeds; and beyond that, to take what is relevant and to do with it what is for the glory of God, for our own true and lasting good, for the salvation of the world. Wisdom is the gift to make the moment to moment decisions, which, eventually woven together on the loom at which we sit with God, and God with us, form the fabric of a lifetime.

What if we were in Solomon’s place? For what would we ask in response to God’s offer?

Wisdom is key because it helps us sort through, and to adjust and adapt to whatever life may hold out. Here is the situation. These are the options. What will we choose?

Wisdom gives us the ability to manage and direct how we will respond and react to the ups and downs and level patches of our lives. Though some things in life are beyond our control, we are not, says Wisdom, at the mercy of whimsy and fate.

For the gift of Wisdom, we pray: for ourselves, for our world. Let us also pray for its close companion, courage. Together, they give us the capacity both to decide a course of action, and then to follow through on its implementation.

COVID-19 has given us two recent scares on PEI: at Whisperwood and the QEH. We are ever so grateful that both were contained. It’s for us to live wisely and courageously during this time of pandemic—following Public Health directives, at the same time we responsibly embrace life, in the care of one another as the children of God.

I’ll close with excerpts from “Solomon’s Prayer” in Wisdom 9. May we make it our own.

Peace be with you and yours,

Fr. Keith

God of my ancestors, Lord of mercy,

you who have made all things by your word

And in your wisdom have established humankind

to rule the creatures produced by you,

And to govern the world in holiness and righteousness,

and to render judgment in integrity of heart…

Give me Wisdom, the consort at your throne,

and do not reject me from among your children;

Now with you is Wisdom, who knows your works

and was present when you made the world;

Who understands what is pleasing in your eyes

and what is conformable with your commands.

Send her forth from your holy heavens

and from your glorious throne dispatch her

That she may be with me and work with me,

that I may know what is pleasing to you.

For she knows and understands all things,

and will guide me prudently in my affairs

and safeguard me by her glory… Amen.

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