“Welcome to St. Simon’s, which I like to call ‘the best view of heaven’” – a greeting to visitors offered at this morning’s Mass by Msgr. John Kenneally, Pastor of St. William Catholic Church on St. Simon’s Island, GA

On this holiday weekend, we’re spending a couple of days at St. Simon’s Island. Among so many blessings in our lives, discovering this barrier island off the Georgia coast has been special to us, our children and now grandchildren. We first visited St. Simon’s over 30 years ago, attending a healthcare human resources conference, and we kept coming back, year after year. Our memories are many, from exploring island history to celebrating a family wedding, or just hanging out at the usual places, such as The King and Prince, Frederica Station, Beachview Books, and a variety of unique restaurants on the south side of the island.

The natural beauty of St. Simon’s, with centuries old canopies of live oaks, a vast marshland surrounding our home near the marina, and the amazing sunrise vistas on the beaches, reminds me of the strong artistic bent of our heavenly Father. It’s no wonder that so much creative inspiration flows from the sights, the sounds, the fragrant aromas emerging from this wonder of nature, one of Georgia’s Golden Isles. Lots of writers and artists express the meaning they find in the majesty of nature’s best being displayed each day.

With this pallet as a backdrop, the idea of writing spiritual reflections came to me on an early morning walk to the nearby fishing pier back in 2007. I returned from the pier, pondering the words “trust, obey, listen and rejoice”. I reflected on the meaning of TOLR, which I shared with others, and began writing on the topic in 2013, on one of our many visits to the island.

I almost forgot to mention that I had brought an old transistor radio to St. Simon’s in the 1990’s so I could listen to Mother Angelica on an AM station, “Queen of Peace” located on Atlantic Beach in Jacksonville. Mother rekindled a love of my Catholic faith and brought me back to basics through her broadcasts.

The glory of our faith is a wonder to behold and to share with others. God has placed reminders all around us that we were all created in His image and likeness, and life is to be enjoyed and appreciated. The best gift from the Father was His Son, Jesus, who gave His life so we could be saved from our sins and enjoy life with Him in heaven. As we approach Pentecost Sunday, we are reminded that the Father sent the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, as Jesus had promised, the sanctify us and enable us to better appreciate our salvation, and to take the message of hope in Christ to others. It’s all good news!

Meanwhile, consider visiting St. Simon’s, which may very well be “the best view of heaven” on earth.

Have a Blessed Holiday Weekend!

Joe

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