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Forget not love

Well, here we are at the height of the vacation season. Even if you are not going somewhere on vacation this year, the summer season tends to change the pace of life. Likely, some events or patterns in your life are being modified because of activities being canceled for the summer. A slower pace is welcome – very welcome!

However, due to our culture, which equates busyness with productivity and/or personal worth, we often succumb to the temptation to replace the cancelled events with other activities. Thus, even in the summer, the pace may never slow. Sometimes I get a mental image of myself on a wheel going round and round and round and never accomplishing anything of real importance – just doing the “same old, same old” routine.

Everybody needs some kind of change periodically – a vacation. But perhaps this year you don’t have the money to go somewhere, or someone is sick in the family, or you waited too late to plan and nothing we can afford is available … or … or …

What should a vacation accomplish? Rest of body and mind and heart. Why? So that we can return to the routine ready to love afresh and serve those God has put into our lives — family and coworkers and friends. How can that happen?

First of all, go on vacation. Even if it is something simple or you just take time to stay home and do some reading, you need the rest.

Second, take God on vacation. Don’t leave him behind along with other responsibilities. We are talking here about the most important relationship you have. Your eternal destiny rests on this relationship. So, God needs a primary place in your family, among your friends and coworkers.

Most importantly, it is only God who can supply the rest and refreshment you really need. Yes, our bodies are tired. But our minds and hearts are even more fatigued by the lies and filth that so much of our secular culture heaps upon us. Sometimes we are so immersed in it we don’t even recognize how infected we are. Some of the symptoms are these: skepticism, cynicism, hopelessness, fear, anxiety, bitterness and anger. For many of these symptoms, we need God.

Third, I am going to make several practical suggestions of how you can bring God with you on vacation with family or friends. Don’t try them all at once. Start with one and see how it develops within your circle, then slowly add – maybe even incorporating some of them at home apart from a vacation time.

Spiritual exercise

1. Pray the Morning Offering together, perhaps at the end of breakfast. Everything you do this day will be blessed and through it God will bless you. God’s blessing brings physical as well as mental, emotional and spiritual refreshment.

“O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you all my prayers, works, joys, and sorrows of this day for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all my relatives and friends and, in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father.” Don’t forget Mass – scan the tag on page 16 to find Mass times in your vacation spot.

2. Take 15 minutes and read the Gospel reading for that day. Reflect on: What is God asking of me today? Following God’s will each day brings peace, alleviates stress and lessens anxiety. Reflecting on the reading for 15 minutes will give God time to strengthen and build your family’s relationships and your friendships on a more solid foundation – one that will endure.

3. End each day of the vacation by thanking God for his blessings. While sitting on the beach, by the campfire or right in your own living room, say the Lord’s Prayer together.

When you take God on vacation with you, you will see his presence more and more in your daily life. The peace of mind and heart you feel will not fade away in a day or a week after the vacation is over. Remember that God has promised: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)