The name July is a gift to us
from the ancient Roman Senate
which named the month
in honor and memory of Julius Caesar in the year 44 BCE,
who was himself born this month.
Before Caesar was honored in such manner,
the month was simply called “the fifth month,” Quintilis—
from back when the year had ten months beginning with March.
Though even after January and February were added,
and the former fifth month became the seventh,
Quintilis initially kept its name—
the fifth month that was the seventh.
And over the years,
and through the centralization of power and people
in the imperial city of Rome,
the harvest festivals initially associated with the month
faded in significance
as ten days at the end of the month
were set aside for games in honor of Caesar.
So may this month remind you of those you honor
and those who honor you.
May it bless you
both with what stays stubbornly,
sometimes anachronistically, the same amidst change
and, at the same time, with change.
May it bless you with a sense of history—
family, faith, national history—
with stories of yesteryear
that echo still
in and through the present.