For those of us students, we were all excited when this academic year came to a close. The normal school struggles, paired with the strange incidences of the COVID-19 pandemic, made it a very exhausting time. Now that summer is here, hopefully we can all look forward to a reprieve from most academics, and a chance for a change of pace.
Ordinary Time, the season the Church finds itself in during the summer months, matches this change well. It recalls Jesus Christ sending out his followers – and by extension, us – to spread the good news following his return to the Father. We are called to use what we have learned and bring it to those around us.
Which brings us to the summer. There are countless things readers of this article could be doing with their summer. You could have a job, be pursuing academic studies, or taking the opportunity to stop both education and work fully for a time. Whatever the case may be, we all have the same calling to bring about good in these summer months, growing in love for God and others.
One of the most significant ways we can do this is rest. You read that right. When our culture emphasizes constant productivity, it’s hard to have good rest. The common message we hear is that, if we’re not doing something considered worthwhile, we aren’t worth anything. While it is good to value work, especially that which helps others, we cannot be constantly working without stopping. We weren’t created to be robots.
“One cannot give what one does not possess,” my pastor would say during wedding homilies. His saying is a good reminder for us too. We also can’t give out of love to others if we do not stop to allow ourselves to be receivers of God’s love. This rest may look like implementing time to meditate in God’s presence for at least five minutes a day. It could also be a commitment to praying the Rosary or the Divine Mercy Chaplet while taking a walk outside. Rest could also look like using your talents to create something, be it art, a new dish, or music. What matters is that it allows you to slow down from the busyness of life, and realize how God has blessed you in the small things.
God’s peace and love is too great to be kept to ourselves, however. Think of the people you are going to encounter this summer – coworkers, classmates, friends, loved ones, strangers, clients. How do you show God’s love to them? Grandiose gestures aren’t required; most often, it’s just in being caring when it is difficult, or going the extra mile to help someone with a minor task. On the surface, these day-to-day actions don’t seem significant or grand in effect. God uses our small kindnesses to make beautiful things happen, in his great mercy. Acting out of love allows us to cooperate with his wondrous work, and show him to others.
The summer is often seen as a three-month void that disappears before our eyes before we even begin. It doesn’t have to be this way. Keeping in mind what we can do for God, ourselves, and others, we see how the summer is an opportunity for great love, growth, and peace. It’s up to us to commit to it, but when we do, we are sure to not be disappointed with what God will accomplish in us.