Archdiocese of Chicago

Catholic Chicago Blog

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Spirituality of Rest

By Joyce Duriga

Ever since the first days of elementary school and the promise of summer vacation, many of us have looked to the summer months with great anticipation. When we were younger, it was a time for seemingly endless play. Trips to the pool or lake. Playing outside with friends. Now that we’re older, many of us still look forward to summer as a time for vacations and activity. It’s a time to breathe freer. Rest. Relax. Pray. Slow down. Talk to God a little more.

Today, June 21, is the first official day of summer. As most of us know, summer goes fast. Faster still as we get older. In light of this, summertime becomes even more important as a time to replenish and to rest.

During his vacation at Castel Gandalfo in Italy in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI even mentioned this need for rest. “In the world in which we live, the need to be physically and mentally replenished has become as it were essential, especially to those who dwell in cities where the often frenzied pace of life leaves little room for silence, reflection and relaxing contact with nature. Moreover, holidays are days on which we can give even more time to prayer, reading and meditation on the profound meaning of life in the peaceful context of our own family and loved ones,” the busy pontiff said in an Angelus address.

It is easy to get caught up on the busyness of life and forget to rest. It is also easy to buy in to the belief that resting means you are somehow lazy or slacking off. Even on vacation we can get caught up in doing.

This summer, try and remember to rest for a moment or a day. When you are resting, take the time to talk to God or just to sit and listen for him. We need rest and we need him. In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus reminds us to rest in him. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28).

Last June, when preparing for his summer vacation, Pope Benedict spoke during a weekly general audience of this need to include God in our summer vacation time. “While at work, with its frenetic rhythms, and during vacation, we have to reserve moments for God. [We have to] open our lives up to him, directing a thought to him, a reflection, a brief prayer,”

Obviously we can’t spend our whole summer resting. That’s not practical. So take the family to a parish festival or across town to a unique shrine. You can find a listing of local events in our Around the Archdiocese section of the Catholic New World. There is lots of fun to be had in the archdiocese. Take yourself to the lake or to a spiritual talk. Wherever you go this summer or whatever you do, don’t forget to take God with you.