By Deacon George S. Harmansky
So here we are now in the Dog Days Of Summer, pretty much through the dog days, as they officially extend from July 3rd to August 11th. These dog days occur between those dates because according to astronomy with input from the meteorology folks and as tradition has it these are the hottest, most unbearable days of our summer season. Originally, the phrase actually had nothing to do with dogs, or even with the lazy days of summer. Instead, it turns out, the dog days refer to the dog star, Sirius, and its position in the heavens.
To the Greeks and Romans, the “dog days” occurred around the day when Sirius appeared to rise just before the sun, in late July. They referred to these days as the hottest time of the year, a period that could bring fever, or even catastrophe. We associate the dog days of summer, especially with the dogs that are lying around, sluggish, more or less lifeless because of the oppressive summer heat. While this may sometimes be true meteorologically and evidenced in the behavior especially of the dogs I believe it can even be true for us. Don't we find ourselves sluggish, more apt to take those mid-day rests, more desirous of those times for a siesta. We become slower, sluggish, looking to more ‘vegging’ time, maybe inclined to procrastinate to a better time another more suited to our energy level, even cooler for the task.
The question presents - do we take a siesta from our spirituality during the dog days of summer? Just lay back and coast? Let things grow that shouldn’t similar to the weeds in our flower beds and gardens.
Liturgically we are in the midst of ordinary time, between Pentecost and the beginning of Advent. This time should be one of growth focused on a spiritual harvest.
Are we exhibiting spiritual boredom, allowing the lazy feeling of the summer, the Dog Days effect our prayer, our Sunday worship?
In this Sunday’s Gospel we read parables about treasure and valuables, the reaction of the possessors to their found treasure. Their actions are not marked with lethargy and indecisiveness. Unaffected by outside influences they take action. Moving forward with little or no effect from the ‘climate’ of their time. They could have sat back enjoying their new found wealth – doing nothing more. So in the heat of the season do we push forward continuing to cultivate our relationship with the Creator, growing spiritually, or do we lay back, sluggish as the dogs, overcome and waiting for a new season, a better time.