Summer fun is here and vacations abound, but it’s hard to stay close to God on vacation and live one’s faith while tanning on the beach or riding a rollercoaster.
Do you forego vacations and keep to the routine? Do you avoid the outside world for fear of secular influence?
Can you keep God in your family life and exercise your faith while enjoying the summer season?
Fear not, there are plenty of ways to keep your family Christ-centered while hitting the road and catching some rays.
Here are five simple ways to stay close to God on vacation no matter where you go.
1. Keep Holy the Sabbath
The greatest commandment is to love God (Mt 22:37) so it stands to honor Him wherever you go and whatever you do. This might take a little planning, but not much. Plan to make room for Sunday Mass – evening if it’s a Saturday evening. You can have your vacation at the beach or a theme park or on a road trip. There are Catholic churches all over the world, and the Mass is universal (hence Catholic).
Plan to leave and return with Mass in mind, or plan activities around going to Mass. It’s one hour, or even only 45 minutes, out of your week. It will recenter you, your family, and your vacation to the Lord. You’ll feel spiritually refreshed and ready to enjoy your time with your family.
2. Pray First
St. Paul said to pray without ceasing (1 Thes 5:17). This concept is about praying about everything. We tell our best friends everything. Why shouldn’t we tell our God everything?
Talk to the Lord about what you want to do and where you want to go. Pray for safe travels, good attitudes, positive adventures, and holiness for the whole experience. When He blesses your vacation, you’ll have a better time and come home feeling amazing.
3. Keep Praying
Any daily prayer routines should keep going no matter where you are. The saints prayed in prison; you can pray on a beach. No need to stop praying before meals or before bed. Keep doing what you normally do when it comes to your daily prayer life.
Putting routine prayers on hold is like saying God isn’t as important as your vacation, and that’s not true. We’re able to go on vacation because of God’s blessings, so we should keep Him at the center and stay close to God on vacation.
4. Plan Accordingly… for Everything
Be smart about where you’re going and what you’re doing. As Christians, we go against the grain of most of the world, so don’t fall into bad habits or get into activities that are sinful. Whatever you end up doing, make sure it’s clean, healthy, and doesn’t warrant going to Confession afterward.
If where you’re going is too tempting, consider revising your plans. There’s plenty to do with your family that’s wholesome, so there’s no need to trap yourselves in a situation where sin is too tempting. Keep your fun holy.
5. Be Thankful
In all things, thank the Lord (1 Thes 5:18)! He provides for us and loves us immensely. He wants us to take rests and rejuvenate. Your vacation is a gift from the Lord. So be thankful in all things, thanking Him before, during, and after your trip.
Whether your summer is filled with road trips, camping trips, flights, or stay-cations, stay close to God on vacation by keeping Him first in your plans. Summer is considered the most fun time of the year, but it can be stressful too. Keeping God at the center helps you to remain peaceful, wise, and mindful of yourself. When you stay close to God, you stay close to joy.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~ Romans 15:13