August is often referred to as a time of transition. We enjoy the summer days of outdoor activities, relaxation, and a change in our routines. Vacations bring us an opportunity to refresh our outlook and to nurture our relationships with family and friends before students return to their learning. Sometimes we allow the change of pace to alter our routines a bit too much, especially with regards to our spiritual health. It takes courage and perseverance to keep our spiritual lives intact and vibrant, especially when recovering from the grief endured when we lose a loved one.
During August, in the Church, we are given many opportunities and examples to refresh and re-ignite our faith. The month of August is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The many feasts of saints and martyrs during August, combined with parish celebrations and festivals highlight the courage and perseverance of martyrs, the founders of religious organizations, popes, kings, and several Doctors of the Church. On August 8th , thousands of the faithful celebrated with food, music and the celebration of Mass together at The Fest. This year, The Fest theme “Take Courage” was highlighted by Bishop Malesic. For many who are suffering from the loss of a loved one, finding the courage to remain strong in faith is difficult. For others, a strong faith is the only thing that keeps them going.
No one gives a better example of drawing on her faith when facing life’s uncertainties than Mary. Mary is the most perfect example of Christian perseverance and courage. The Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary, celebrated August 15th, is always a reminder to us of God’s promise of the Redemption. We pray to Mary as our advocate and celebrate her being crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth (August 22). The Memorare of St. Bernard (August 20) states that “No one who has fled to her protection is left unaided.” Praying the Rosary is another way to seek Mary’s intercession in our lives and to ask for the strength to be courageous.
As we begin to transition from summer and move through August, let us take the necessary time to reflect on Mary’s life and the lives of the many spiritual leaders in our faith whose examples give us a roadmap on how to “Take Courage”. I, along with all of us at the Catholic Cemeteries Association, wish you peace, perseverance, and courage as you travel your life’s journey, especially during times of loss.
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