Summer vacation is usually a beautiful opportunity to step out of one’s place or routine to see something new, visit a new place, or bond with friends or families. This is especially true in places like the United States, where the summer is a distinct climatic season with warm weather that allows for outdoor activities. Living in the United States for the past five years now, summer is gradually becoming for me what it is for Americans – a special time to do something fun. I have often given little or no attention to the question: what are your plans for the summer? But this time, I have been paying attention to it – more seriously than in previous years. And so, what are my plans for this summer? Am I keeping Christ in those plans?
When I started thinking about some possible things I can do this summer for fun, the first two that came to my mind were to take a week off for hiking somewhere in one of the states I have not been to. The second was to take a week off to visit my aunt and her family in Florida. Whichever one will be the option, the next thing I had to deal with was during that one week off, where will I be attending or celebrating daily Masses? When this question came to my mind, I wondered if I started thinking this way just because I am now a priest, or have I always thought that way? Then I recalled a few incidents in the past where I canceled or rescheduled trips because of the improbability of daily Masses. At that point, I reminded myself that this has nothing to do with my being a priest now. Instead, it is a question about personal priorities – trying to keep Christ in all I do, including my vacations.
So, I began to wonder whether daily and or weekly Masses’ possibilities are among the priorities for people when they make plans for their summer trips and vacations? Thinking about this, I remember one of the gentlemen in my Cursillo group who usually travel to Hawaii for holidays. In one of our meetings recently, something came up. He narrated how having a Catholic Church within walking distance to wherever he was going to stay during his vacations in Hawaii is a critical part of his planning. How awesome! How beautiful it is for us to keep Christ in our vacations?
While vacations are beautiful opportunities to take some time away from work, school, or normal life’s routines to do something fun, it is not a time to separate ourselves from Christ. We are Christ’s. We belong to Him in very inseparable ways. Any attempt to force that separation always, directly or indirectly, results in spiritual dryness, emotional discontentment, sadness, loneliness, misery, and fear even amid families, friends, and fortunes. This summer, as we plan our vacations and trips, let us keep Christ in them all. We can do this by making sure we attend daily Masses where and when possible and weekend Masses unfailingly during our vacations and trips. Let us keep our spiritual/prayer lives even stronger. Happy Summer!