Diocese of Toledo, Ohio

Browsing From the Pastor

The Spiritual Nature of Vacation Time

   Many of us have an opportunity to shake loose and get away from the normal routine of responsibilities that fall to us. Whether we have a little or a lot of money to spend, we can all benefit from taking vacation time.

   A spiritual director once shared with me that we need to get away from our normal routine of responsibilities, both for our own sake as well as for the sake of persons with whom we work and associate every day.

   Vacation time serves to remind us that as persons, we are a whole lot more than the sum total of all that we do and accomplish. The Lord reminds us that if we are to be fit for the Kingdom of Heaven, we need to become like little children. As little ones, we continually look forward to times of fun and recreation. Another spiritual director shared with me that there are three realities in life that we need to embrace in the following prioritized order: 1) to pray; 2) to play; 3) to work. Unless we are on guard, we can become mastered by our perception of what we have to do, namely work. If we allow this to happen, life loses the vibrancy and luster that the Lord wants us to experience. Rather than being an opportunity to be embraced, life more and more becomes an ordeal to be endured. On one occasion when 72 of our Lord’s disciples joyfully reported to Him all that they were able to accomplish in His Name, He admonished them not to rejoice in what they were able to do, but to rejoice in the truth that their names were written in heaven (Luke 10:1 – 3, 17 – 20).

   Vacation time challenges us to realize that we need to separate ourselves from those with whom we normally associate regularly for their sake as well as for our own well-being. There are husbands and wives who realize this and thus go on retreats on a regular basis without their spouses. When children go to overnight camp for a number of days, this is sort of like a retreat experience for them as well as for their parents.

   Vacation time can serve to remind us of the passing nature of all that we now are and have, beginning with our relationships with one another. In many ways, we depend upon specific others for our well-being every day. Vacation time reminds us that these persons are not always going to be there for us as they now are. Given persons who presently meet our needs at home and at work are on loan to us by the Lord. The same thing can be said about ourselves in relation to the persons with whom we now interact on a regular basis. We are God’s persons for specific for specific others only for a limited period of time. Others, even the members of our own families, need to learn how to get along well when we will no longer be on the scene for them as we now are.

   Vacation time can serve to remind us that each of us is a whole lot more than the sum total of the ways in which we now relate to and function with one another. The Lord has plans for each of us that go beyond the present settings in which we now find ourselves with others. Hopefully, this awareness helps us to appreciate the preciousness of the time that we now still have with persons in the settings in which we live and interact with one another. Will we not thus want to make the most of the settings to which we return from vacation in the way that we relate to one another and in the manner in which we play and work? In these ways, we can enable one another to remain open to all that the Lord would continue to give to us and do in and through us as our lives develop.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr. Nelson Beaver – Pastor


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