Where does God appear on your calendar?
I ask this as a real question, not a rhetorical question. If someone found your calendar on the bus or if a stranger looked at your calendar on the wall or if a hacker accessed your phone’s events, would they see a sign that you are Catholic?
Lest you think I’m judgment patrol, this question came up while flipping through my own family’s calendar.
Children’s activities – school, sports and music – all seem important to us, as evidenced by how often they show up each week. Ditto for visits with friends and family outings. Business trips for both parents are marked on our calendar; the same goes for birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.
But where is our faith manifested? We would tell you that this is central to our lives and our family, but I began to wonder how our calendar bears witness to this truth.
I went there and wrote “Mass” every Sunday. Obvious (and overlooked), but it helped to remember how we start each week in worship. Then I added the dates whenever someone served as a reader or altar server. It also helped to see our service appear.
But honestly? Standing in front of this busy schedule and realizing how little our faith was revealed woke me up.
Because the deeper concern, of course, is not what anyone else would say or if there would be enough evidence to convince me to be a Christian in a moot court. What matters most is the place God has in my life.
Front and center or stuck on the sidelines?
I sat in front of our calendar for a long time, chewing on the end of my pencil, wondering what changes we might be called upon to as a family.
Too often I’ve fallen into the trap of waiting for a new school year to transform our lives into an idealized version of what our family should be. I don’t want to make the same mistake again this fall. But I feel called (and condemned) to pray for what God might reveal.
Like everyone else, our family has limits of time, money, energy, attention and abilities. Where do we invest our resources? How do our values appear on our calendar? When do we live and learn our faith in a concrete way each week?
The psalmist sings this desire towards God: “Teach us to number our days well, so that we may acquire wisdom of heart” (Ps 90, 12). Could this also become our prayer – as we enjoy the last days of summer, anticipate the fall activities that begin soon, buy school supplies and brand new planners to fill?
Every time I pass our calendar on the wall now, I pause for a second. It’s a work in progress, an ever-changing reality, a snapshot of life right now. But I feel that he wonders where God appears among school, work and all the good plans we have made.
Perhaps we are called to more Sabbaths together, to keep our Sundays of worship and rest. Perhaps we are called to more service, to take time to offer ourselves to our community.
Could we celebrate an additional holiday each month at home, to enliven our faith as a family? Are we called to a retreat, class or group in our parish — something new to help us grow in faith?
Whatever changes the fall may bring, I know the prayer I must carry with me now, a psalm in my pocket: Teach us to number our days with You at the center. Give us the wisdom to dedicate our time to you.
Fanucci is a writer, speaker, and author of several books, including “Everyday Sacrament: The Messy Grace of Parenting.” Her work can be found at laurakellyfanucci.com.
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