Posted July 25, 2006
Sound Advice for a Sound Vacation
In Addition to this address, please go to the search section of
www.jknirp.com, punch jknirp.com only, and put in the word silence, and next
the word stillness. Both of these qualities help us better understand what a
real vacation should be.
Father Cantalamessa on How to Live Vacation
Pontifical Household Preacher on This Sunday's Gospel
- Here is a translation of a commentary on the Gospel passage of this
Sunday's liturgy, by Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the
Come Away to Rest a While
In the Gospel passage Jesus invites his disciples to separate themselves
from the crowd and their work and to go away with him to a "lonely place."
He taught them to do what he did: to balance action and contemplation, to go
from contact with people to secret and regenerating dialogue with oneself
and with God.
The theme is of great importance and timeliness. The rhythm of life has
acquired a speed that surpasses our capacity to adapt.
The scene in "Modern Times" of Charlie Chaplain absorbed in the assembly
line is the exact image of this situation. In this way one loses the
capacity for critical separation which allows one to exercise dominion over
the flow, often chaotic and disordered, of circumstances and daily
Jesus, in the Gospel, never gives the impression of being agitated by hurry.
Sometimes he even wastes time: All look for him and he does not let himself
be found, absorbed as he is in prayer. Sometimes, as in our Gospel passage,
he even invites his disciples to lose time with him: "Come away by
yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while." He often recommends that
one not be harassed. Our bodies benefit so much from such "respites."
Among these "pauses" are precisely the summer vacations which we are living.
For the majority of people, they are the only occasion to rest a while, to
converse in a relaxed manner with their own spouse, to play with the
children, to read a good book or to contemplate nature in silence; in short,
to relax. To make of holidays a more frenetic time than in the rest of the
year would be to ruin them.
To the commandment: "Remember to keep the Sabbath holy," one should add:
"Remember to keep vacations holy." "Stop (literally: vacate, take a
vacation!) Know that I am God," says God in the Psalms.
A simple thing to do might be to enter a mountain church or chapel at a time
when it is empty, and to spend some time there "apart," alone with
ourselves, before God.
This need for times of solitude and listening is posed in a special way to
those who proclaim the Gospel and to animators of the Christian community,
who must stay constantly in contact with the source of the Word that they
must transmit to their brothers. The laity should rejoice, not feel
neglected, every time that their priest leaves for a time for intellectual
and spiritual recharging.
It must be said that Jesus' vacation with the apostles was of brief
duration, because the people, seeing him going away, went ahead of him on
foot to the place of disembarkation. But Jesus does not get irritated with
the people who give him no peace, but is "moved," seeing them abandoned to
themselves, as sheep without a shepherd," and he begins to "teach them many
This shows us that one must be ready to interrupt even one's deserved rest
in face of a situation of grave need of one's neighbor.
One cannot, for example, abandon to his fate, or leave in a hospital, an
elderly person one is in charge of, to enjoy one's vacation without
disturbances. We cannot forget the many persons whose loneliness they have
not chosen, but suffer, and not for a week or a month, but for years,
perhaps throughout their lives.
Also here there is room for a small practical suggestion: To look around and
see if there is some one to help feel less alone in life, with a visit, a
call, an invitation to see them one day in the place of vacation -- whatever
the heart and circumstances suggest.
[Translation and adaptation from the Italian by ZENIT]