After a long and chilly springtime, summer is just around the corner! I have heard from many of you that summer vacation travels are beginning. Long trips are now planned after the absence of summer vacations last year due to the Covid pandemic. I pray that your travels are safe and filled with wonder.
I am just as glad as you are that summer is coming. It is so great to be able to get outside, go for a walk on the beach, a bike ride, a picnic or to sit by a lake. Much of our thoughts about summer probably come from our experience of being students in school. Time is a significant commodity during the school year with so many activities, sports, classes, and assignments vying for our time. However, in the summer, time becomes easy. Time is not won by labor, but exists in surplus, and so it is far easier to waste time.
We also may see Church and Church activities as similar to school and we may believe that we need a break from that during the summer. I pray during these challenging times we live in that we never cut down on the number of Masses we attend or stop attending church altogether during the summer months while we are away. Hopefully, we do not see our relationship with God as something that needs a break, that it is only associated with work.
Those of us who live in climates where we have four seasons know the joy and wonder of summer. It is a God given gift to help us change our pace of life for a period of time. We are entitled to rest. We have earned it. And we are entitled to all the joy, pleasure, satisfaction, and laughter which attends rest. Go to the movies. Go to the pool. Go on a trip. Go to a Shrine.
I think I have made this recommendation before when it comes to summer and vacations, one of my old pastors used to recommend this when we were students. If you can give praise to God at the end of your activity, then it was probably a good thing, if you cannot praise God for what you did, then you may want to look at not doing that anymore.
If you can go out for an activity with your friends then grab dinner and chat about work, church, friends, family, and it doesn't seem absurd to praise God in the parking lot before parting ways for the night— then well done. That’s rest. That’s community. Whenever two or three are gathered in the name of Christ, Christ is there too. If you can identify anything you have done as a blessing from God, carry on with it. However, if you’re in the middle of a movie, or a concert, or a trip to the pool, the beach, the bar and you look at your friends and realize there’s no way you can honestly thank God for what you're doing, quit doing it. If it seems ridiculous to praise God after playing video games for three hours or on Facebook for four hours, you're right. It is.
There are a number of places in scripture where we see Jesus taking a break, going to the beach or the mountains to be with his friends. Jesus saw those times as a blessing from God. Like Jesus, we should take advantage of them. Like Jesus, we should not see a difference between the goodness of things in this world and the presence of God. God really wants to join you on your summer break. God will join you on that camping trip, at the lake, climbing a mountain, fishing, enjoying a boat ride, and whatever else you invite God to take part in. Just remember to invite God to join you. And, if you are still in town, we look forward to seeing you at St Pat's!
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Pray for us!