Finally, summer is here! We may question it a bit because of the interesting weather that we have experienced over the last several weeks and months. After a late season snowfall followed by large temperature swings between unseasonably warm and unseasonably cool, spring seemed like a brief snapshot and summer somehow arrived unceremoniously.
If we can’t be certain that summer is here based on the weather, we can simply look at our calendars to know that it has arrived. Memorial Day has passed. The Easter Season is over. Our calendars are turned to June. And our kids are out of school. So what’s next for our summer plans?
For many of us, summer is the time when family vacations occur. This could mean piling into the minivan and heading off to parts unknown. Perhaps your family vacation includes fighting crowds at the airports and running the risk of delayed and cancelled flights to get you to your far-off destination. For some, vacation means tossing that tent in the back of your vehicle and finding that quite spot where you can commune with nature. In Minnesota, summer often means spending weekends up north at the family’s cabin.
However you define “summer”, it should be a time to enjoy the beauty that the season brings with it. It should be a time when we can take a break from the arduous tasks of work and school and spend time enjoying all that warm summer days have to offer. It should be a time when we thank God for His creations with all of their majesty and splendor.
Speaking of God, summer is not a time that we should take a vacation from our faith and from weekly church attendance. It somewhat surprises me that when we are away from home, we often think that it is OK to skip the Sunday Mass. It should never be assumed that this church is the only place that you are expected to go to fulfill your obligation as a faithful Catholic. The fact is that you can go to any Catholic church in any part of the world and celebrate the exact same Mass as you would in Sartell. The same readings are read at every Catholic church during the weekend. The celebration of the Eucharist is the same at every Catholic church each time we celebrate Mass. The language spoken during the Mass might be different, but if you’re fully engaged in the Mass, you’ll know what’s happening.
I doubt that many of us will travel to places in the world where a Catholic church isn’t relatively accessible. Personally, I have traveled extensively around the world and have always been able to find a Catholic church.
Whether it’s in a European country, the Caribbean, South Korea or Australia, I’ve always found a Catholic church simply by asking the locals. Believe it or not, I even found one in Las Vegas! Yes, you can even find God’s presence within blocks of the Vegas strip (which could arguably be one of the places that needs God’s presence most!).
We should make this summer a time where we make a conscious effort to keep God at the center of our lives even when we’re away from home. After all, we’re quick to pray for safe travel by air or by car. We’re always praying for decent weather while we’re away.
But while we’re praying for the “ideal” vacation experience, does it make sense to ignore God once we’re on that summer adventure?
My hopes for you are that this summer meets all of your dreams and expectations. I pray that you have safe travels and that all of your expectations are met. But I also hope that you keep God close to your heart while you’re away and let Him know of His importance in your life by celebrating the Mass wherever your journey may take you. Because, after all, you want your final journey to be into His Kingdom.
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC