In the calendar of the Church we are in the middle of what is called Ordinary Time, the seventeenth out of thirty-four actually. The word ordinary means it isn’t one of the special seasons like Christmas or Easter, or even Advent or Lent, but rather the rest of the year with the word ordinary meaning numbered, week 1, week 2,…. This is the time outside those special celebration and preparation periods when the real living of our lives occurs.
I mention this because we can just segregate our faith out that it is something we do on those special times mentioned, or maybe then and Sunday too because those are the times we come together as a community for Mass and other sacraments, but is that how our faith is meant to be in our lives? Is it just for certain special times, or even just an external part of us like clothes that we change depending on the season or what we are doing? Or is it a more fundamental part of not just what we do, but who we are?
One way to recognize how we see and practice our faith is when we go on vacation. When we go on vacation it is from the work in our lives, work being the things we have to do so we can support the things we need in our lives, the necessities, but work also helps us to do the things we just want to do, the luxuries. When we are on vacation we are hopefully doing a thing we want to do, sitting on a beach, biking down a mountain, touring a museum or a park, but also continuing the things we need to do, eating and sleeping. Some vacations may be obviously religious and include going on a retreat, or visiting a shrine, or making a pilgrimage, and those are special times, but on the other vacations do we still see the need to pray and attend Sunday Mass. There may be certain places and times that you can’t get to a church, but other times, like food, it might just be a little different than we are used to, the language or culture, which can be a challenge, or also a great surprise in some of the variety you experience. What about praying mealtime prayers, even if you are out in public, or a rosary or just a decade of a rosary during a long car trip. Or maybe a book you take with you is religious or spiritual or brings up some topics related to your faith that would be good to reflect on in some of this down time.
I’m writing this right before going on vacation and it will be in the bulletin right when I get back. I think having a good vacation now and then is important, just consider what is it I’m taking a vacation from, and what does that say about where my faith is in my life?