How not to turn away from God during the vacations?

The French Bishops’ Conference has released a series of advice aimed at helping Catholics not to distance themselves from God during their time of rest.

Newsdesk, Paris (July 14, 2021, Gaudium Press) In order to help Catholics not to turn away from God during the summer vacations, the French Bishops have prepared a true ‘Decalogue of the Christian on vacation’, proposing that the time of rest should also be used as an itinerary in the love of the Lord.

On the website of the French Bishops’ Conference the origin of this proposal is explained. “During the vacations, we are ‘less’ Christian. Sometimes we are not at all. We allow ourselves an exceptional time, a feast without God, Sundays without Mass. In short: God is on vacation,” they warn.

Dedicate time to charity and put God in your suitcase

The first commandment of this decalogue directs us to dedicate time to charity, reflecting on the weight that love will carry during the vacation. For the bishops, this is an essential point, otherwise “the summer period runs the risk of selfishness disguised as relaxation”.

The second commandment is to put God in your suitcase, that is, to take with you a Bible, a book with the story of some saint, or even some theological work that helps you to think about divine things. In addition, a rosary and a small crucifix must be included.

Carry God in your heart, flee from occasions of sin, and do not miss Mass

In the third commandment, Catholics are invited to also carry God in their hearts at every moment of their vacation, for Faith is our bond with the Lord. In the fourth commandment, the faithful are exhorted to flee from godless places, that is, from situations that damage our bond with God.

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The fifth commandment emphasizes that the time of vacation is to be understood as a long Sunday, and therefore as “a time to devote a space only to God”. The sixth commandment is practically a development of the previous one, not to miss Mass using trivial excuses, but always to participate in the encounter with the Lord.

Contemplating beauty, witnessing to Christ, serving others, and rejoicing

In the seventh commandment, Catholics are encouraged to contemplate the beauty present “in nature, in art, in human beings,” because “without contact with beauty, we quickly become arid.” In the eighth commandment, Catholics are asked to bear witness to Christ, because “on vacation, we must not only ‘remain’ Christians, but also awaken faith in others.”

The ninth commandment exhorts the faithful to serve their neighbor, because placing oneself at the service of others means walking “the way of God.” Finally, the tenth commandment invites Catholics to rejoice, for “the Christian rejoices in everything because his joy is first of all in God, and on his return, better than the proud photos of tourist ventures the Christian will bear witness to a heart more joyful for having taken God on vacation with him.” (EPC)

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