The Dog Days of Summer

I always thought that the “Dog Days of Summer” referred to the sweltering heat that causes dogs to lie about and nap.

I found out today that it has nothing to do with dogs and the heat, but rather refers to the appearance of the Greek constellation called Sirius, the Dog.

I’m sure that this will have no effect on the activity of local dogs which will continue to seek out a cool place to lie down, or upon people who find these days draining and would like to follow the example of the dogs and find a cool place to rest.

One thing is for sure. When we succumb to the summer heat we find ourselves tired and out of sorts.

Have you noticed that on hot days we tend to be short-tempered and quick to take offense?

It seems that it takes very little to irritate us. The summer heat is not just scorching our hides, it also has gradually baked its way into our minds and hearts.

Perhaps there is something in the Dogs Days of Summer image of a dog overcome by the heat and lying in the shade. When the heat gets to him he doesn’t waste energy by running around yapping as he is accustomed to do. That would only make him feel more miserable. Perhaps we should take his example to heart. Instead of getting all hot and bothered and biting someone’s head off, we should let it drop and find a shady spot to lie down. We need a cooling-off period, a time of letting go of the heat that has built up inside us.

When I was young my parents would send me to my room and have me cool down before returning to interact with the rest of the family. I guess Jesus would say: “Go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father.” (Mt. 6:6)

Maybe that’s an answer for us when we find that we’re steaming up. Perhaps instead of letting ourselves boil over, we should be going into our inner room, pouring out our hearts to God and listening for his reply. The way for us to beat the heat would be finding a cool place in God’s presence and letting the heat dissipate, locking out the heat of the day and relaxing with God until we’re fit to be around people again. May God provide you with the grace of a cool breeze.


Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Fr. Joseph Orr of Holy Spirit Catholic Parish, Lock Haven, and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Renovo.