Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Time to take a holiday

In Genesis, we are told that "On the seventh day God had completed the work he had been doing. He rested on the seventh day after all the work he had been doing, God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on that day he rested after all his work of creating." (2: 2-3)

Pope Benedict XVI has given Christians good advice when resting and talking a vacation. The Holy Father has suggested a number of ideas to keep in mind for a spiritually sound and happy holiday. The Vatican press secretary Fr. Lombardi in his weekly radio program summarized these. Let's examine each point and we can add our own ideas.

The Pope's wants us to spend our "vacation time in a way that helps renew ... relationships with others and with God." Simple advice, but it's the message we need to hear in our busy lives. Let's think about what's most important in our lives: God, family, friends and neighbours. A holiday is a good time to revitalize our prayer life. We have so many modern distractions in our midst: computers, TV's, radios, movies, magazines, newspapers, novels, cell phones and the list goes on. A holiday is a perfect time to shut off all these daily distractions and focus on things of the spirit. It's an opportune time to talk to God.

The Pope also "suggested we include a copy of the Sacred Scriptures in our suitcase." So we can consider reading from the Bible, the lives of saints or one of the many documents of the Church as go and plan our vacation. The hectic pace of our modern lives can be very distracting and in reading something spiritual or praying the Rosary can better reconnect us to God. Last year we visited the Abbey of Genesee and while there on retreat, which is a kind of holiday, we participated in the prayer life of the Trappist monks. They follow the Rule of St. Benedict. We attended the celebration of Mass daily and retreatants were free to join the prayers: vigils, lauds, terce, vespers, sext and compline. All of this and some quiet time for meditation/reflection can make for a time of peace and grace. This can refresh and nourish our spiritual lives and reenergize our physical bodies as well.

Everyday for Life Canada once more as we did last year will be following Pope Benedict's good advice and not publish anything for the month of August. We wish all our readers a blessed and restful holiday.

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