Summertime! It’s my favorite time of year. Yes, I know that everyone loves Christmas, but give me summer over winter anytime! This is a time of year that brings a smile to the face of almost everyone. It is the time of year when children are freed from the responsibilities of school work, when families and friends are able to vacation together or gather for picnics or concerts, when sunlight lingers long into the evening and it feels like there is more time to enjoy all the blessings of life. As we enjoy this summertime, I hope that everyone also takes some time to reflect on the meaning of this season and thank God for it.
Summer is like a Sabbath for the year. God created the world in six days, and rested on the seventh. Likewise, students and people in the work force work diligently through the year, and summertime provides a period of rest and refreshment after long months of labor. Although work continues through the summer, many use this season to take a much-needed vacation with family and friends.
School is out for students, but they still learn every day! As parents, who are the primary educators of their children, what lessons have you planned for your children this summer? Perhaps the lesson of sharing and loving our neighbors through swimming pool parties? Perhaps gathering a group to go to a good movie, and discussing its message and meaning afterwards? Perhaps taking care of the less fortunate through involvement in a local charity or soup kitchen? Perhaps helping your children to delve deeper into their faith through the summer socials planned by Gwen Cataldo, our CRE, or our Vacation Bible School planned for the first week in August? Certainly by going to Mass each Sunday and discussing the Scripture readings, the homily, the music, and the environment!
And what about those of us who are not children? Are we not called to continue to form ourselves in some way over the summer? We can find many ways to continue to grow in this less stressful and restful time of year. We can grow in our appreciation of God’s beauty through visiting art exhibits, parks and gardens, or boating on one of the many area lakes and rivers. We can grow in our love of neighbor through volunteering to help the less fortunate, the shut-in, or the suffering. We can grow in our faith through attending Eucharistic Adoration or buying a good spiritual book to take to the beach or the pool.
Consider these words from St. John Paul II: Vacations and holidays, must be wisely used in order to benefit the individual and family through contact with nature, tranquility, the opportunity to foster greater family harmony, good reading and healthy recreational activities; above all, through the possibility of spending more time in prayer, in contemplation and in listening to God. Are you doing this during your summertime?
May all of us emerge from this season more rested to do God’s work, more committed to serve God’s people, and more in love with our God who created and loves us! Blessings on your summertime!