Br. Michael, ofm
The summer months of July and August often allow for time to unwind a bit, linger a bit longer or at least have a change of scenery; if only for a few hours. Sometimes the heat just gets to us and we need a recharge. Sometimes the beauty of summer captures of us and we try to capture it. Sometimes we need a break from the gatherings and BBQs to focus on our own journey. With that in mind I would like to offer to you a trio of summer goods – books, songs and movies for you to consider in the mix of your summer plans. There is something beautiful about sitting outside and reading. There is something enticing about a good song for a road trip and there is something wonderful about getting cozy on a super hot day (or a rainy one) with a movie. These suggestions come from my recent eclectic findings, maybe they will be an encounter of the living God for you too!
There is more notably the great gift of creation all around us and we are called to appreciate it with fresh eyes during the summer. Creator God continues to work in amazing ways showing forth beauty and inviting us to be aware. Below are some ways to honour the four elements of creation this summer. Let us be attentive to the handiwork of God!
Three Reads for Summer 2021:
Painkiller: A Memoir of Big League Addiction – Brantt Myhers
If you want an insight into the world of addiction to alcohol and drugs and the illusion of making it big in the world of NHL hockey – this read is for you. Warning: reading this book is like sitting in a locker room. Brantt holds nothing back. It is a story of perseverance, redemption and transformation.
Nourishing Love: A Franciscan Celebration of Mary – Murray Bodo, OFM
This small book is filled with stories, poetry and teachings. Bodo invites you to use your imagination, to listen with your heart and to think more broadly as he recounts the life of Mary – Mother of Jesus. Bodo’s creative take is alluring and he also offers a collection of Marian prayers at the conclusion.
Peace by Chocolate: The Hadhad Family’s Remarkable Journey from Syria to Canada – John Tattrie
The first time I heard of Peace by Chocolate was when my parents ordered boxes of this chocolate goodness into their store for Christmas (It is good chocolate). I was intrigued by the story of this refugee family. This book recounts the trials of leaving Syria but also the gift of new beginnings in Canada. It is a story of hospitality and hope. It will soon be released as a major movie.
Three Bonus Reads:
Embers: One Ojibway’s Meditations – Richard Wagamese
An inspiring book from a wise First Nations Canadian storyteller which will encourage broader vision. Wagamese is the author of Indian Horse (which is also a must-see movie).
To the Heights: A Novel Based on the Life of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati – Brian Kennelly
A delightful book capturing the magnitude of the heart and generosity of one of the young and inspiring saints of the church.
I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter – David Chariandy
A personal gift to his daughter, Chariandy invites us into the reality of having to address race in Canada while encouraging a hope-filled future.
Three Songs for Pondering during Summer 2021:
The Spark – William Prince
Prince is a Winnipeg songwriter. A song about the challenge of relationships but the light which bonds us whether lovers, friends or family. The video version with fellow Canadian Serena Ryder from the 2021 Junos is worth a listen.
Shoreline – Corey Hart with Dante Hart
Corey Hart has been a favorite singer of mine since I bought my first cassette – Boy in the Box. This new song with his daughter is about the value of forging ahead in the journey remembering we are not alone.
Fighting – Tyler Joe Miller
A powerful song about the challenges of addictions and mental health, it serves as a reminder that we are supports for each other. The video happens to feature my cousin Thomas.
Three Bonus Songs:
Anyone – Justin Bieber, One Voice Children’s Choir
Imagine – Ben Platt
Great You Are– Jordan Smith
Three Movies for Summer 2021:
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet
A powerful documentary about the environmental crisis we face but also the hope we carry and the challenge to rise up for the good of our sister Mother Earth.
A beautiful telling of the story of the three children who saw the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1917. A story of faith and trust.
In the Heights
An upbeat musical which speaks of the value of relationships, the strength of community and the importance of adjusting our dreams.
Three Bonus Movies:
What They Had
I Still Believe
Top Five for the Great Four
Not into reading or movies this summer? Have a good playlist already? Looking to connect more with creation? I suggest these great ideas built upon suggestions from W.I.S.E. and The Pilgrims Companion.
Unplug from technology, connect with Creator God and celebrate the four elements during the summer with these top five activities.
Swim in a lake
Dance in the rain
Walk along a river
Water the flowers slowly
Enjoy a glass of cold water in the middle of sunny spot
Work in the garden
Build a sandcastle
Paint with mud
Make and enjoy a garden salad or fruit salad
Sit on the grass to pray
Gaze at the night sky
Have a bonfire – sing and pray there
Enjoy a meal by candlelight
Watch the sunrise or sunset
Hunt for fireflies
Fly a kite
Sing in the wind
Write a prayer in praise of the gift of air
May Summer 2021 be blessed, be healthy,
be filled with time for
good reads, good tunes, good shows
and lots of good, good, good summer days just to be!
The heavens, the earth, and all of creation are telling the glory of God
and we get to delight in this glory. We give thanks and praise to Creator God!
God bless you and your summer!
Please note this will be the last post for several weeks. Look for fresh reflections in later summer.