School’s out and summer break is here! It can be easy to adopt a carefree and relaxed attitude this season as we enjoy warm weather, slower schedules, and simple pleasures. While relaxation is a wonderful thing, let’s take care not to become too relaxed in our spiritual lives! Below are a few ways you can incorporate spiritual growth into your summer. Discuss these and other ideas as a family and let your kids help choose goals to grow in faith individually and as a family this season.
1. Change up your prayer routine or begin a new one. Find a different place to pray, or take up a new devotion. Perhaps have a mug of coffee on your porch in the morning and read the Liturgy of the Hours as the birds sing in the background. Commit to an evening Rosary (or start small with just a decade!) with your family on the patio. Sing praise and worship songs around a campfire.
2. Go on a “mini pilgrimage” road trip. Find a religious shrine within a few hours’ drive and pack the family in the car for a day of spiritual renewal. Learning about the history of our faith, the saints, and different miracles and relics can breathe new life into our personal faith. Many shrines also offer Mass and the Sacraments, so make sure to check out schedules on their websites. Not sure where to begin? Check out EpicPew’s great list of 100 shrines and pilgrimage sites.
3. Read a spiritual book. Nothing says summer quite like lounging on a beach towel with your sunglasses, a cold drink, and a book — but it doesn’t have to be a fiction novel! There are so many great Catholic books these days on authentic Catholic womanhood and motherhood. Check out Catholicmom.com’s Book Notes articles for some ideas for readers of all ages. You can also read a spiritual book as a family. Choose an exciting saint biography (such as Saint Isaac Jogues) and read a chapter a week out loud to your children.
4. Plant a Mary garden. This is a lovely tradition that children of all ages can enjoy — both during the creation of it and as it grows. An outdoor statue of Mary serves as a beautiful visual reminder to your children as they play outside that they have a heavenly Mother too. You can choose simplicity with just a few types of flowers named after Our Lady, or you can go all out with a garden bench for prayer, a plethora of Marian flowers, and even ladybug garden decor (the sweet little insects were originally named Our Lady’s Bugs!). Catholicmom.com author Charisse Tierney offers more ideas on how to create a Mary garden.
5. Perform an act of mercy as a family. Put a date on the calendar for your family to serve together. So often the culture tells us that elaborate and expensive vacations are needed in order to bring our family closer together and provide lasting memories, but nothing brings a family closer than serving side by side to those in need. You could help with a meal at a soup kitchen, assist with a local Special Olympics, tour a crisis pregnancy center, or bring flowers (and conversation!) to lonely nursing-home residents.
Just as we create summer bucket lists or Pinterest boards, we can (and should) be intentional and creative when it comes to our spiritual lives this summer. We’re more likely to follow through when specific goals are chosen and written down. We’re also more likely to complete them as a family (and with minimal grumbling!) when each member of the family contributes ideas, so don’t skip the collaboration!
Here’s to a grace-filled summer of the sun shining on our faces and the Son shining in our hearts.
Copyright 2019 Laura Range