Summer is a time when many of us take a step back from our normal routines and unwind a little bit. The slower schedule at work and school, and the nicer weather (at least here in the north), afford us the opportunity to rest, relax, recreate and recharge – perhaps by spending some time with family and friends, traveling somewhere pleasant, or just sitting on the front porch catching-up with the neighbors.
The Gospels tell us that Jesus often took a little time for himself too. There were many occasions when he needed a break from the demands of his mission and ministry, when he needed to escape the relentless crush of the crowd. There were times when he just wanted to be alone, to spend time in prayer with his Father.
But it’s different now that Jesus has completed his earthly mission. When Jesus ascended to heaven and passed the baton to the Holy Spirit, he promised: “I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Mt 28:20) Notice that Jesus didn’t say, “I am with you always, except in July.” Jesus said that he is with us always.
So, the question is: how do we stay connected with Jesus even in the summertime when we assume a more relaxed posture and unstructured schedule? For while we can take a vacation from our daily work, we never get a vacation from our primary vocation – to be a disciple of Christ, to be a Catholic. So, how do we stay in touch with Jesus?
Well the most important way is by attending Holy Mass on Sundays, yes, even during the summer. If you’re Catholic and healthy, you have a serious obligation to attend Holy Mass every Sunday. The obligation isn’t suspended in July; nor are the blessings and graces of Holy Mass that await us.
Other ways to stay in contact with Christ: some extra time in prayer or spiritual reading; a walk in nature where God can be found; some little acts of charity or kindness for your neighbors; making a visit, a pilgrimage, to a special church or shrine in your area.
I’m sure there are other ways too, but the point is this: Don’t hesitate to talk to Jesus during the summer. Don’t be afraid to “bother” him. He’s always on duty. He never takes a vacation.
Something to think about: What’s your plan for your spiritual life during the summer?