Editorial | Rest, refreshment and reflection needed to refocus on reverence
As the creation account in Genesis shows, our Lord recognizes the importance of rest from labor and taking the time to enjoy the beauty and goodness of life and creation. Far from speaking of merely six days of creation, the author of Genesis mentions that the seventh day -- the day of rest -- is itself an integral part of the whole creation process. It is sacred time. It is holy. Rest and renewal are intimately bound up with labor and production.
As we are made in the image and likeness of God, when we look at our Lord we see our own true nature: how we truly are, how we are to be. Just as it is right for Him to look upon all that He creates and to find it very good, so is it right for us -- and no less. Not to make time to take in all the wonder of our Lord's wondrous and creative handiwork -- including the very gift of our own lives -- would be for us to deny that beauty, that goodness, that wonder. It would be wrong for us to say that there is nothing of value and depth here to respect, to appreciate, to drink in, to ponder, to enjoy, to celebrate.
Indeed, we would be most callous to allow ourselves to be so caught up in the "work" of living that we did not spend the time necessary to savor our lives and to contemplate our Lord's glory, in which we are lovingly enveloped and lifted up. Truly: "In Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). Without Him we are not. Without Him there is no "we." Everything about our lives comes from His creative and loving hands. Everything about our lives is pointed toward Him. Apart from Him, our lives would have absolutely less than no meaning at all.
We are, however, not without Him. Nor shall we ever be. When we forget to keep our gaze fixed upon our Lord, we stumble and fall. Moments of renewal and refreshment are powerful times in our lives in which to refocus and regain our bearings. Our Lord knows we need such moments, such respite. In His goodness and care He gives them to us. These begin with the Sabbath -- the day of rest -- but they do not end there. As ever, He more than meets our needs; He gives us so much more. He gives us special moments -- special time -- to spend with Him, to enjoy, to savor, to celebrate.
For so many of us, the summer season is a special time of regeneration and renewal. Vacations are among our Lord's countless gifts to us. He knows that we need special time -- sacred moments -- in which to be refreshed and renewed. Recognizing that need in His own disciples, Jesus invited them, "Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile" (Mark 6:31). We are just as Jesus' disciples were. We have that need of getting away from the hustle and bustle and often frantic pace of everyday life, and resting. If the Father saw the goodness in resting from all His labors of creation, then it is no less good and necessary that we rest from ours as well. As ever, He gives us what we truly need.
Rest, recreation, playful interlude -- these include, but are not limited to, trips away from home. They encompass so many regenerative activities -- family picnics, walks in the park, drives in the country, swimming or canoe trips, camping, hiking and horse riding, summer crafts, even lying in that hammock under the shade tree. Rainy weather does not disrupt the avenues of recreation, as there are so many indoor activities which have so much to offer as well. We are limited only by our imaginations, and if they are like our Lord's, then there is no limit to them whatsoever.
Summer is a special time in which to celebrate family and friendship. It is always time to let our Lord deepen our relationships -- there is no one time of the year for that. Summer and vacation time do offer special and additional opportunities to spend with those we love. It would be a terrible loss to let them slip through our fingers merely because we made ourselves too busy to take the time. Our Lord gives us the time. Whether or not we use it wisely is what we decide.
Throughout it all -- whether in summer or at any other time -- there is no vacation from Our Lord. Let us use this time to be deepened in our relationship with Him. There is no moment He does not wish to share fully with us. He does not "take a break" from us. Far from taking a break from Him, let us keep Him right where He belongs -- in the very heart of every moment. Vacations do not prevent us from celebrating the sacrament of our salvation, wherever we go. There is always a Mass schedule no farther away than our computer or a phone call. Check it out. Take our Lord with you. Share the summer, the moment, the sacred time, the holy place, with Him ever. Enjoy His creation!
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