As we adapt ourselves to vacation mode over the months of July and August it is important to keep two things in mind. The first is that God wants us to step back from our daily grind in order to rejuvenate our batteries. The second is that God wants to go with us on vacation.
We all know that in the creation story, God worked for six days but on the seventh day he rested. This is more than a guideline for living each week. It is also a guideline for our year. We work at a fairly steady pace for months on end, but in the same way that we require our Sabbath Day of rest each Sunday, we also need a few weeks of holiday for the good of our bodies and our minds. The creation story expresses God’s love for us and his concern that we do not burn ourselves out. Time off is not a luxury. It is a necessity.
However, it is also important to remember that time off from work is not time off from God. In fact, our relaxation time during vacation is a great opportunity to strengthen our relationship with God. Perhaps the most important way of doing this is to ensure that we continue our Sunday devotion no matter where we are, but there are other opportunities for spiritual reflection as well. We can use some of our quiet time, such as when laying on the beach, to contemplate how we treat family and friends or if there are ways we can improve our relationships with God and others. We can also choose spiritual reading over trashy novels if we intend to spend time with a book. It is important that when we vacation, we vacation with God.
We live in a work world that keeps us very busy, and so we need to take the great gift of vacation; the yearly Sabbath if you will, to relax and rejuvenate our bodies and minds, and to strengthen our relationship with the God who has given us this Sabbath.
Fr. Edward Gibney
Associate State Chaplain