We all know that things slow down over the summer. School is out. Parish activities stop, except possibly for a parish picnic. Every institution assumes everybody will be traveling or camping. So it’s understandable that we consider summer a time to take a break from everything – including our faith.
Summer activity and travel are undeniable. But our faith isn’t just some social institution that we can take a break from. Our faith is a relationship. It’s our most important relationship. What would happen to our marriages if we took summers off? What would happen to our friendships if we did nothing to nurture them for three months?
Besides, if summer is a time to take a break from the busyness of life, the real purpose of doing so is to focus on our relationships. What’s the purpose of vacation if not to reconnect with family? What’s the purpose of summer activity if not to connect with friends and loved ones? And our relationship with God is no different. Use the blessing of slower schedules, beautiful weather and longer days to nurture your relationship with God too.
How can you do that? Here are some ideas.
- Lots of people make a summer reading list. Add a few good Catholic books to your reading list. Make at least one a non-fiction books and at least one a fiction book. Many Catholics are surprised to discover that there are a number of excellent Catholic fiction titles out there.
- Take advantage of the extra “down time,” especially in the evenings, to go through a video course. Maybe there’s one that was offered at your parish this past year that you didn’t have time to attend. You can see if the parish will loan out the DVD’s. There are also great courses available online through Ascension Press, the Augustine Institute (if your parish doesn’t have FORMED yet, put a but in your pastor’s ear about it), and even some online Catholic ministries like www.mycatholicfaithdelivered.com and www.fromtheabbey.com.
- Are you doing a lot of travelling this summer? Listen to good Catholic audio programs! You can get some really inspirational talks on CD or MP3 from Lighthouse Catholic Media. Check out their online store here: http://www.lighthousecatholicmedia.org/store?promoCode=99987
- Take advantage of the beauty of summer by letting it draw you closer to God. Uniting nature and prayer can be a very moving experience – and can even be fun! Take a nature walk and pray while you walk. Do family evening prayer around a campfire.
- Don’t forget to stay in touch with a community of faith this summer. Why not have friends from the parish over for a grill-out? Or invite a few families to join you at a park for a day of fun. Let conversation naturally revolve around the faith, since that’s one thing you all have in common!
It’s very tempting to just put the hard work of spirituality on the back burner for the summer. But summer offers us so many opportunities to grow in our faith. If you take advantage of it, you may just find you have a better summer than you ever imagined you would!