Summer Top Ten

Recently I was asked to give a talk at Walking with Purpose on “Living Summer Well”. I was delighted to speak on this theme as, over the years, I have noticed how easy it is to let the unique opportunities that summer provides slip by, and before I know it, am right back into the Autumn rush. I hope you find these thoughts helpful and I wish you a blessed summer!

1. Embrace the season

Time is always moving ahead. Summer is a reminder of this. As the weather becomes warmer and sunlight lasts longer, we are aware that a new season has arrived. While nostalgia for the past can enrich us, perhaps we can say that God, through the natural rhythm of seasons in creation, is inviting us to embrace the present, the “season of life” that we find ourselves in today on our pilgrimage towards Heaven.

2. Have a harmonious summer

While we may have planned a delightful summer filled with family, friends, vacation, and relaxation amid our work, we know it is realistic to expect things won’t go as we would like. A friend of mine recently joked that as a kid he wondered why his dad was always in a bad mood during vacation; now that he’s a dad, he knows. Having a harmonious summer would be to try our best to make beautiful music with the low and high notes that we are given.

3. Start well, end well

Just like each morning begins with a sunrise and every day ends with a sunset, it is important for us to establish good “bookends’ to our day by starting and ending them with prayer. It has always struck me that when I begin and end my day with prayer what I do becomes charged with grace and is different. Prayer brings order and structure and helps all of our activities fall into their proper place.

4. Take time to read

Without fail, as summer would begin, there would be a ring at the door and a large box would arrive with my dad’s summer reading. Summer is a great time to read, and I would like to invite you to make some of it spiritual reading. Pray that the Lord sends a good book into your life. You might already have it on hand; if not, ask a friend. I recommend anything by Fr Jacque Phillippe for starters. Who says you can’t read theology at the beach?

5. Consider praying the Rosary

If we can read theology at the beach we can certainly pray the Rosary outside too. I personally like to pray the Rosary walking down a path in the woods, passing the beads through my fingers, and listening to the gentle rustling of the breeze through the leaves. I think it is the perfect summer prayer.

6. Good rest is recreation.

Summer is a great time to discover how we rest. It can often happen that what we feel might help us relax leaves us inwardly empty or depletes our energy. True rest, in my opinion, should re-create us, leave us inspired, and help us tend to the duties and tasks of our life with renewed enthusiasm. I find Philippians 4:8 to be a perfect template for true rest and inspiration.

“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

7. Plan ahead

One of the first things kids learn about summer is that it is too short. Autumn will be here before you know it. It can be useful to take one of the summer days to plan out how you will stay spiritually nourished in the year to come.  Follow this link for a few ideas

8. Where 2 or 3 are gathered

Friendship is a true blessing. Summer is a great time to connect, re-connect, and stay connected to the friendships we have.

9. Enjoy God’s creation

GK Chesterton once wrote that we need to learn to see the color green again as if for the first time. In other words, it’s an invitation to stop and delight in the beauty that summer brings: flowers, puffy clouds, majestic trees, the sounds of birds, the ocean…

10. Have fun

No commentary necessary. Have a wonderful summer!