We are enjoying the luxuries of summer – beautiful weather, longer days, travel, outings and gatherings with family and friends from near and far. Summer allows us to take a step back and breathe a little easier. The demands of the year are put aside for a brief period of time so that we can refresh and renew ourselves. This is also true in our spiritual lives. Summer affords us an opportunity to experience God and our faith in many different ways.
We have a flurry of activities in the summer that seem to occupy every weekend. Places to go and people to see becomes the “rule of thumb” during the summer months. All of that activity should not take away from our spiritual lives, rather it is a terrific opportunity to deepen our faith in new ways. We have the ability to visit churches in different areas and join in their community’s Eucharistic celebration. When we worship with others we do not know, we have the privilege of learning more about the larger community of believers of which we are all a part. It also helps us to appreciate our own worshiping community that we sometimes take for granted. Getting away and participating in a Eucharistic celebration somewhere new can also help us recognize how lucky we are to be members of the parish to which we belong.
Summer also offers us opportunities to rediscover creation in diverse ways. The beauty of a walk at sunrise is a gift given on many levels. The colors appearing and changing as the sun rises, mixed with the sounds of nature, is a glimpse of the world waking up to praise and glorify God. The ability to take a walk in the woods, on a beach, near a lake, or up a mountain reminds us of the simple yet unbelievable work of God’s hands. All of creation has been placed here on earth for our use and enjoyment. It’s a very visual reminder of how amazing God is and how much He truly loves us.
The longer days of summer also give us more time to spend with God. We can sit on our deck, porch or steps and listen to God’s voice speaking in the silence. Taking time to listen to God is a luxury most of us do not have. For many of us, the busyness of life can make sitting still and listening an unachievable goal on most days. But summer’s pace is conducive to hearing God speak in the silence of our hearts. We understand that God knows what we think and feel always, but we need to learn how to listen and hear God’s hopes, dreams and desires for us. When we hear God in the silence, we are participating in a special prayer that is its own reward.
This summer don’t treat your faith as “business as usual.” Do something different and watch your faith grow.
"And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you"
- 1 Thessalonians 3:12
By Andrea Hoisl