Aleteia

How to grow spiritually this summer

FAMILY VACATION
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Even when summer is in full swing, there are plenty of opportunities to maintain a close connection to God.

For the next several weeks our kids are off school and many of us will have some time off work. Even when we’re relaxing and taking time off our normal schedules, it’s vital that we don’t put our spiritual lives on hold. We should outline a plan for how we can make this time count when it comes to our spiritual growth.

1
A prayer corner

For years families have been gathering around their prayer corners. Think about organizing one if you take a vacation. If you are staying home, take this opportunity to reorganize your old prayer corner and freshen it up. If you are going away somewhere, it will depend on your location. If you are renting a summer house, you can make a temporary prayer corner with icons or candles you’ve brought from home. If you plan to camp or take a road trip you can still have a small portable prayer corner. If you’re spending vacation in different locations, you can ask your children to bring something to create their own personal prayer corner where they sleep.

2
Books

Vacations provide us with time to read and to tell stories to little ones. Plan what books you want to read on vacation — some lives of the saints, for example, or some coloring books, which are great for rainy days. And don’t forget about all the intellectually and spiritually “nourishing” reading that can give a lot to your kids and help them to spread the message of Christ among their new friends. Some families even pack a few volumes of a book they love and leave a copy where they stay. 

If your children normally attend catechism classes or are a part of a prayer group, they can continue with these activities at home or on vacation.

Children can also bring their Bibles and prayer books on vacation. If there is no room in their luggage, pack a pocket edition of the four Gospels. The small size of the book makes it easy to slide a copy into a knapsack and take it anywhere. 

3
Don’t forget about going to Mass

When we are on vacations every day is like Sunday. It’s all the more important to celebrate the Lord’s Day, by giving priority to the Mass. You can plan a hiking trip or a trip to the beach on a weekday, so that nothing prevents you from going to a Sunday Mass at a local church. (During this time of social distancing, be sure to pack what you need to fulfill local requirements, such as masks and hand sanitizer.)

4
Give of your time

Life as a child of God does not merely consist in praying, even if it’s vital. It also requires that we love others and consecrate our time to them instead of selfishly seeking our own comfort. In planning your family’s vacations you must ask yourself what is the place that others hold in your life. In the same way it’s vital that you encourage and praise your children whenever they choose to give some of their time to others. 

No matter where we spend our vacations, we can remain united in prayer and in our love for the Lord.

Christine Ponsard 

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