For most of us, summer gives us a chance to slow down a bit, it gives us some time to enjoy the fellowship of family and the beauty of God’s creation.

It’s also a time when maybe we can do a little more spiritual reading, and try to renew and deepen our friendship with Jesus.

Jesus wants to be with us, he wants to be our friend, and he wants us to have a life that is full of love and joy that will lead us and our loved ones to heaven.

So, we want to work on that friendship, we want to know him and love him more and more. And the best way I know to do that is through the Gospels and the Eucharist.

If you find that you have more time in these summer months, I encourage you to try to make a special effort to meet Jesus in the Eucharist and in the pages of the Gospels.

Reading a passage of the Gospels every day is a good habit to get into, and it really helps us to grow in our love for Jesus, and our understanding of his teachings.

Some people like to read a little of the Gospels every day, others read and reflect on the Gospel passage that is proclaimed in each daily Mass.

However you choose to read, make sure you read with prayer. Simply ask Jesus to speak to your heart through the words on the page.

Jesus speaks to us directly in the pages of Gospels, just as he did to the first disciples.

We read the Gospels to know what Jesus teaches and what he promises, to know why he came into the world, and how he wants us to live.

More than that, when we read the Gospels, we learn from his example — how he treats people, how he responds in different situations.

When we read every day, we become companions of Jesus, fellow travelers. We “see” what his first followers saw, we “hear” his words, as they did; we are “witnesses” of his miracles.

But we need to remember when we read the Gospels, that we’re not only looking for information. We are seeking transformation.

By meditating on our Lord’s life and words in the pages of the Gospels, we are praying to become more and more like him.

Jesus said, “Learn from me.” Reading the Gospels a little every day is how we learn.

We want to think like him and act like him. We want to have the same compassion, the same priorities and attitudes.

The other way that we become more like Jesus is through the mystery of the Eucharist.

I’m looking forward to attending the National Eucharistic Congress along with many of you, later this month.

As I said in my last column, we are truly witnessing a Eucharistic revival in our time. That is a beautiful thing, and I am praying that it continues to grow and spread.

For each of us, the Eucharist should be our “daily bread” for the journey of our life. The Sunday celebration of the Eucharist should be the heart of our lives as Christians.

We also need to make time to just “be” with Jesus in his presence in the Blessed Sacrament.

For many of us, it’s not possible or practical to make visits during the week to a church or chapel. But you can still make great progress in your relationship with Jesus if you get in the habit of coming early to Mass and spending time quietly in your pew praying before the tabernacle.

The beautiful mystery is that Our Lord is truly present with us in the tabernacle, just as he was when he was with his first disciples.

When you are in the Lord’s presence, just talk to him, like a child talking to your Father.

Adore him, thank him, tell him that you love him. Tell him what you’re worried about. Ask him to protect the ones you love. Ask him for the strength to follow him more closely.

But also take time to be silent, to just “be” with Jesus. Let him speak to your heart.

It takes practice to learn to be silent with Our Lord. It’s not always easy to settle your heart and mind. The only way we can learn is by just doing it.

Meeting Jesus in the Eucharist, we want to be changed to be more like him. We want to let him shape our lives in his image, just as he changes the bread and the wine. 

So, two simple suggestions for you to consider in these summer days.

Pray for me and I will pray for you.

And may Holy Mary our Blessed Mother help all of us this summer to draw closer to her Son.