Summer has begun! Finally there is more time to rest and relax. After a year full of activities, exams and stress the most desired moment for many young people has arrived: summer.
It’s funny how during the year we don’t do activities that are proposed to us; almost always, things that would take us get out of our routine and give ourselves to others. We postpone them because “we don’t have time.” Most of the time, it is a prudent decision for students since the Lord asks us to sanctify ourselves in our studies. But sometimes that “I don’t have time” can become a justification that also contains a lot of selfishness. I’m pretty sure that now that summer has started, you are thinking of a lot of fun plans to do with your group of friends, and maybe even with your parish or a movement you belong to. And sometimes the reason is just to do something with the people you love, things that are exciting and different. I encourage you, once more, to ask the Lord: what plans do You want me to do this summer?
If you really have more time now, how much time are you going to dedicate to our Lord? How sad it would be if we did not take advantage of this moment to enjoy giving ourselves, because there is more joy in giving than in receiving. I also encourage you to make a real schedule, consulting it with a spiritual director, where everything is included: time with your family, with your friends, help more around your house, visit new places, start reading good books and—why not?—start to pray or increase your prayer time, go to Mass during the week, pray the rosary, etc.
The summer is an opportunity to rest, but that rest can either cause us to forget about pursuing holiness or it can become a time of real spiritual growth. Every day the Lord hopes to give us infinite graces to make us grow and advance in the fight for holiness, so don’t let them go to waste!
It has always helped me to think of a river. If you are going against the current, just as in the spiritual life where you have to fight against your weakness and against the world, the devil and the flesh, you must be continually fighting. As soon as you lower your arms and stop, the river drags you back and in a matter of a few minutes you have lost everything you had gained. Keep fighting, in summer too!
A virtue that helps me personally to stay in the fight is generosity. Look for fun plans this summer, but also that they help you to surrender; be generous, don’t look for the easy way out.
There are many situations that require you to go out of yourself towards others: do missionary work, help with a charity shop, help your parents or siblings in something they’re working on, stay with your grandmother, go to camp as a helper, help your parish pruest… Or if you make plans with your friends like going on a hike or visiting a new city, make sure that the Lord is present, make a visit to the Church or pray the rosary with your friends during the hike.
Now that you have time, that you are well rested and that you are young: don't let your life pass you by on the sofa at home! Be brave, encourage yourself to do great things that bring you closer to holiness, do not settle for a boring and monotonous life, do not be afraid to give your time and your vacation because I assure you that it is always worth it. Giving your summer to the Lord in others is the best vacation option, and it can even be a “before and after” moment in your life. Take advantage of this moment that the Lord gives you!