“He said to them, Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” Mark 6:31
The days of summer are certainly upon us. Although there’s been much rain and many storms, we’ve also been truly blessed with some wonderful days as well. Through it all, we need not look far to see how God provides in so many ways. The beauty of His creation, helping hands in time of need, the gift of family and friends, and our skills, talents, and treasures to care for all are ever present. Summer is the time God gives us to refresh ourselves from the daily grind of our work and commitments, and to enjoy the fruits of our labor.
As work is a right and blessing in and of itself, we mustn’t forget that rest and relaxation is vital to our mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church teaches us that “Rest from work is a right.” As God “rested on the seventh day from all the work which he had done” (Gen 2:2), so too men and women, created in his image, are to enjoy sufficient rest and free time that will allow them to tend to their family, cultural, social and religious life. (Compendium, No. 284)
A summer retreat is a great way to renew ourselves and draw closer to God. We have some very fine Catholic retreat centers nearby. I’ll list a few good ones you may want to consider:
Kings House Retreat Center in Belleville – http://www.kingsretreatcenter.org/
White House Retreat House in South St. Louis – http://www.whretreat.org/
Chiara Center in Springfield, Illinois – http://www.chiaracenter.org/
St. Meinrad Guest House in St. Meinrad, Indiana – http://www.saintmeinrad.org/retreats/
Our work is often demanding and rightly requires our full time and attention. And surely the work of evangelizing our environments asks us to be ready and alert. Alert to the many in need of Jesus’ mercy and ready to share what we, too, have received by grace. If we fail to take care of ourselves, we risk losing our Joy in the great mission Christ has entrusted to us – his disciples in today’s world.
I hope this summer you may find time for some renewal of mind, body, and soul – if for only a brief time, to unwind, and unplug from the stress and busyness of your lives – whether on retreat, vacation, or time spent with loved ones. Christ and His Church need us to be rested, healthy, happy, and well. But above all, Joyful!
De Colores! Deacon Wayne Weiler