Have a good Vacation

Like most things in life, putting together a good vacation takes a little effort and maybe some skill.

First off, good for you if you can take some time off. You’re fortunate. Not everyone can do that. Not to lay a “guilt trip” on anyone, but a little gratitude is not out of place if your circumstances allow you to get away.

I remember my first vacation as a Jesuit. I had already been in the Novitiate (the first two years of Jesuit training) for 10 months before the Jesuits broached the subject of a little vacation. It seemed like everything in the Novitiate required an “orientation” beforehand – and “villa,” as it was called, was no exception. The priest in charge, whose imposing title was the “Novice Master,” summoned all of us novices together and started laying down the special rules that we were to follow. By the world’s standards, it wasn’t really much of a break – two weeks with no classes and a few afternoon cook outs. But he said one thing that was quite striking and I’ve always remembered it. He said, “Brothers, you may find that you pray differently during villa. It may be a time of special graces.”

That’s an interesting idea that I guess most people don’t associate with vacation. It’s not included in any of the ads you see on TV for an amusement park or a Carribean cruise. But, really, when you think about it, it makes some sense. Vacation is a time for a change of scenery, to break the routine, get some rest, and maybe get a different perspective on what is going on in your life. Possibly, that experience can make us vulnerable to the Lord’s graces. You never know.

I remember hearing about a secular counterpart of this truth. In 1940, just before the US entered World War II, Great Britain was desperately in need of military assistance, but the isolationist Congress was blocking all American aid. During this perilous time, Franklin Roosevelt went on a long vacation – too long, even his staff thought. But when he finally returned to the White House, he had come up with the Lend Lease proposal, which circumvented the Congressional restrictions and helped to save England in its hour of greatest need. None of the hard workers in Washington that summer had conceived of such a novel idea.

So if you’re planning a vacation this summer, I hope you return with some great thoughts. even more, maybe with some new found graces from the Lord. Give it a try. And by the way, while you’re away, don’t forget to remember to keep supporting OSJ. Unfortunately, our bill collectors never take a vacation from their appointed rounds.

Father Walter F. Modrys, S.J.