Many priests of the Diocese of Brooklyn can tell a similar story from when they were in the seminary – a seminary formator, usually a rector, a dean or a spiritual director, reminding the young man that “there is no vacation from a vocation.”
What that means is pretty simple: Even if you are not in classes, your formation is ongoing, remember who you are as a seminarian. Keep being a man of virtue, keep praying, keep reading and keep being of service, even when you are not physically in the confines of the seminary. Formation continues, even when classes are out.
The same is true for us as Catholic Christians. Our Catholic faith continues, even when summer vacation begins. True, school may be out, religious education classes might be off, parish activities may be over with until September, but the parish is still open. Masses, even with a reduced summer schedule, are still offered, and the obligation for the Catholic to attend Mass on Sunday and on holy days of obligation is still in effect.
To put it bluntly, there is no vacation from the practice of one’s faith. When traveling, you should be certain to check out when Mass is offered. Make it a priority. The website, masstimes.org, is a helpful tool.
And during the summer, when the schedule slows down, don’t forget to take the time to pray. Here are some suggestions:
- Pray the rosary daily. Talk to the Mother of God. She’s our mediator and guide. So, go to Mary to Jesus. Our Lord will never turn down a request from his mother.
- Go to confession. The summer is a time to reflect and relax. Perhaps it’s a good idea to avail oneself of the sacrament of reconciliation.
- Spend some time before the Blessed Sacrament. Adoration before the Lord Jesus, fully present in the Eucharist, is like staring at the mirror of truth. Go before our Lord and listen to what He is telling you in the silence of the heart.
- Go to daily Mass. If we are off from work, make a special effort to not only attend Sunday Mass, but also weekday Mass. The Eucharist is our hope and sanctification.
- Do some spiritual reading. Read a spiritual classic like “Introduction to the Devout Life” by St. Francis de Sales or “The Story of a Soul” by St. Therese of Lisieux. The Church has an endless supply of wisdom to share with us.
Yes, it is true: There is no vacation from our vocation. The vocation that clergy, religious and laity all share is the universal call to holiness. Don’t forget to put God in the forefront of our summer plans.