It's summertime and the livin' is easy!
Friends, I truly hope you're enjoying your summer. Whether you've been sleeping, reading, soaking up the sun, going to camps and conferences, or a little of everything . . . I hope it's been blessed.
I was honored to host a week of camp at Hiawassee this past month and I asked the teens there about some of the pros and cons of summer. You can probably guess most of the pros: no school, time by the beach, time by the lake, no school, time in the mountains, time at camp, no school, etc. Those were pretty much what I expected to hear.
However, I was thankful for a few honest teens who opened up about the cons of summer. The one that most caught my attention was this: lack of order. Indeed, it's hard to stay spiritually and emotionally healthy and whole without much order in your schedule.
Since the school year gives us a pretty consistent and tight schedule, we don't have much time to think and act for ourselves. We're told when to wake up, when to switch classes, when to gather for practices and rehearsals, when to eat our meals, and many other things. But summertime is a little more loose.
Because of this, we need to strive extra hard to keep first things first. Namely, prayer. If we aren't trying, prayer can easily get lost in the chaos. In order to help with this situation, I've compiled a brief list of things that help me continue to stay on point during these summer months.
Now this one may seem obvious, but how often we neglect this great gift! Jesus, truly present in the Eucharist, is available to us more than just on Sundays. During the school year, 8:30 am Mass may be hard or impossible to attend. But it's summer now! On free mornings, make your way down to your local parish. Not only will you grow in virtue, but you'll make everything you do that day better and more fruitful. You may even inspire some of the more, ehh, seasoned people who are there daily.
Liturgy of the Hours
If you've been waiting for an opportunity to grow holier and pray more often, here's your chants! (Sorry, I couldn't pass up that incredibly corny pun). The Liturgy of the Hours are prayed throughout the day and typically consist of one or more psalms paired with other scriptures and reflections of the Saints. (Lord I need You, Oh I need You. Every hour I need You.)
All of our Religious in the Church pray the hours, and lay people are encouraged to do so as well. They're the prayers Jesus, as a devout Jew, prayed 2,000 years ago! It's an awesome way for us to join together with the Church to pray unceasingly, meditate, and come to a deeper and more beautiful understanding of Sacred Scripture.
Prayer on your Pillow
This third one has helped me several times in life. You pick your form of prayer for the day and place it on your pillow. It can be a bible, a rosary, a prayer card, or something else. In the morning you place it on your pillow, and this way it will be impossible to forget praying before you go to bed! Simple!
Schedule Prayer for Each Day
How about we all channel our inner pre-school teacher! Let's get creative. Here's an example of how you can remember to pray every day. You can make Monday 'Mary Monday' and pray a rosary every Monday. How about making Wednesday 'Worship Wednesday' where you commit to praying with some worship music at least once this day! Ooh, and then there's 'Fasting Friday'. Choose something you want to fast from and offer that sacrifice for a special intention. Now I know these seem cheesy, but if you're slacking in your prayer life, it's worth it! There's nothing cheesy or childish about growing in prayer. It's the most mature and responsible thing you can do.
May this summer be fun and relaxing for you without sacrificing the prayer time and order that a healthy lifestyle requires. See you around!