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Ready for a Vacation?
by Sr. Marguerite Broderick, DC | July 19, 2012
Scripture Reflection for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 22, 2012)
1 Jeremiah 23:1-6
2 Ephesians 2:13-18
Ah Rest, Retreat, Leisure, Vacation! What a perfect Gospel for July when many people are thinking about or even fortunate enough to be engaging in these refreshing activities (or non-activities). Even Jesus enjoys letting down, going away. Today we hear him inviting his disciples, just returned from their missionary work of evangelizing in the little towns around their country, to come away with him to “a quiet place.” Who of us contemporary disciples does not long for a quiet place from time to time? Who of us does not need a quiet space within on a daily basis?
Are people coming and going in your life? Do you sometimes have difficulty finding time to eat because of your work or ministry? Do you find yourself eating on the run? In the car? At your desk? Are you hungry for time to yourself? Do you need a break? Are you feeling spiritually starved? Physically exhausted? Socially depleted? Do you want to get away? Then heed the Master’s call to “Come away by yourselves.” How can we resist his suggestion of a quiet place wherein to rest a while?
So how is this going to happen? I am a woman of many responsibilities. I am a man who juggles a busy calendar. I have too many customers waiting in line, too many lessons to prepare, too much studying to do, too much land to cultivate, too demanding a family to step aside and care for my own needs.
How about planning mini-vacation moments within a regular day? I have a friend who says to me whenever we get in the car, even to drive to the drugstore, “We’re on vacation now.” It’s an attitude about life and leisure I struggle to adopt.
How good it would be for us to save just a few moments morning and evening, more often if possible, to close our eyes and reflect or just empty our mind and heart. Hand it over to the Lord. Ask him to be our rest, our quiet. Yes, give him a moment to love you, to lift you, to strengthen and energize you. This is one way to take Him up on his invitation. Do it while waiting at the stoplight, in the grocery line, at the gas station. Give him those few moments when you first awake or just before you retire for the night. Quiet yourself and listen. It takes discipline.
Go to the nearest park, the nearest church, a quiet library and spend your lunch break or even half a day being quiet and away. Plan a day away just for yourself at a retreat house, in the country, in a place other than home or work, a place with natural beauty. It will change you.
You might find you need a retreat of a longer period, a weekend or several days. Check with your parish to see what they offer. Go online and see if there is a diocesan opportunity. Ask a friend or a family member where they go. You don’t have to spend a lot of money.
In the end, people will find you, just as they found Jesus and the Apostles. You’ll be right back in the midst of the busy work day, the family cares and trials, the worries and weariness. However, you will have a secret store of strength to bring to all this. You will see things and people differently, with more love, more patience, more grace.
If you make a regular practice of mini-vacations, semi-retreats within each day, each week, each month, you will be refreshed. You will find repose in whatever verdant pasture the Good Shepherd shows you. You will find courage near the restful waters where he will lead you. Allow him this time, this place to fill you with courage for the work he gives you and the people he sends you to serve as his faithful disciple.
Come away with the Lord. Gift yourself with a special vacation just with Him.
Do it today. Do it now.
Sr. Marguerite Broderick, DC
A Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul for almost fifty years, Sr. Marguerite spent most of them in Catholic education as an elementary teacher, catechist, and principal in Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, Texas and South Dakota. She went from accompanying Maya refugees in Guatemala to helping move retired Daughters in St. Louis to a new inter-community retirement center. In the Diocese of Brownsville, TX , she served in the Office of Catechesis. After a year in the Vincentian Integration Experience in Chicago, she spent three years in vocation ministry. Sr. Marguerite currently offers Vincentian formation to various groups including Daughter of Charity novices in St. Louis. Born in Wisconsin, most of her immediate family lives in Minnesota where she enjoys visiting each year.
Sr. Marguerite has a Masters degree in Religious Education from Loyola University, New Orleans and Bachelor’s degree in English/History from Marillac College, St. Louis with courses in administration from Christian Brothers’ College in Memphis and theology from Aquinas Institute of Theology at St. Louis University, St. Louis. She enjoys and incorporates music, art and drama wherever possible, appreciates team-work and collaboration in ministry, and loves praying with people.