Early July is traditionally vacation time for my family. I am a big fan of resting, relaxing, and recharging. However, I must admit that I haven’t always invited Jesus away with me. While the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, it is not always in my heart—or part of my vacation. 

With my usual routine at home, I do reasonably well in consistently connecting with Jesus. I’ve mastered prayer when I wake up, contemplating my favorite Scripture verses, and reciting a Hail Mary or Memorare as needed throughout my day. My calendar, for the most part, includes what I lovingly refer to as “Coffee with Christ” prayer time before beginning work. 

In the comfort of my home and with my family, I rock living my faith out loud and unabashedly. I find ample time and feel very comfortable with making regular Adoration holy hours and attending Sunday Mass – I’m even blessed to have daily Rosary and Mass offered at my office. Participating in small group faith-sharing rounds out my weekly spiritual activities.

Take me out of this environment, especially when vacationing with family or friends who are not Christians or living a mainly Catholic lifestyle, and well, things go awry. This detachment from Jesus can also happen to me on holidays, which is more upsetting when it is a religious holiday such as Easter or Christmas. I resolve every year to keep the Kingdom of God at the forefront of all that I do, yet in my feeble, human-fallen nature, I often leave it behind. 

Recognition is the first step to making changes. Sin happens, which is why our merciful Father offers us the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Before you travel, it might be a good idea to avail yourself of the powerful grace Jesus offers in the sacrament. Filled with the Holy Spirit, we may find it harder to be forgetful or dismissive as we enjoy our free time. Finally, as you make your final preparations for your summer vacation, decide how to pack your faith and not leave Jesus at home. 

How will you keep the Kingdom of heaven always at hand? As Catholics, we are blessed to have a vast number of saints we can call upon, especially the original followers of Christ, the Apostles, to keep us focused on the eternal prize and reward. If God stopped thinking about us for an instant, we would cease to exist. Therefore, we are always on His mind; shouldn’t He always be on ours? 

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Saint Charbel Makhlouf

Saint Charbel Makhlouf, O.L.M., was a monk of the Lebanese Maronite Order and a priest in Lebanon. During his life he obtained a wide reputation for holiness and he has been canonized by the Catholic Church.
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