Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

Summer: Come and Rest a While

By Jennifer Gregory Miller ( bio - articles - email ) | Jun 06, 2024 | In The Liturgical Year

Whichever way to look at it, we have entered or are entering into the summer season in the Northern Hemisphere. There are several markers of “summer.” In the United States, Memorial Day is often considered the unofficial beginning of summer observance. June 1 is considered the meteorological start of summer, but the official season of summer is marked by the Summer Solstice on June 20 this year.

Summer is also considered as the break or “observance” between the end of one school year and the start of another. Some schools are still in session for a few more weeks, but most places are coming to a close and teachers are just counting the days and hours and minutes before summer break officially begins for them.

Although “summer” is not a designation on the Liturgical Calendar or a liturgical season, I do see some indicators of summer and how to live it liturgically.

The Solemnity of Pentecost on May 19 is our call to action. Now that we are empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are to step out of the comfort zone of the Cenacle and do our work. I mentioned this before in Actiones Nostras, Direct Our Actions, Lord—Our Daily Prayer As We Exit the Upper Room.

And then there is the Feast of the Visitation of Mary on the General Roman Calendar on May 31st. The feast provides closure and also a launching. The closure: the month of May is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The last day of the month ends with a beautiful feast of Our Lady visiting her cousin Elizabeth.

The launching or beginning is one of the essences of the Visitation. Mary went to visit her cousin. Why? We know Mary went to help Elizabeth in her pregnancy and birth with John the Baptist. I also think Mary went to joyfully share her own gift with Elizabeth. They were able to rest and share and pray together, contemplating the unfathomable gifts they had received from God.

It is this human, familial aspect of the Visitation that begins our observation of summer. Summer provides a break from the usual, and even if your own schedule isn’t affected by school breaks, everyone is still impacted. All around are different events, schedules, activities just for summertime. The pools are open. Most children are home for school break, so the routine at home looks different. Many families plan vacations and family events during the summer months.

Following the example of Our Lady and St. Elizabeth, we can use this time to just “be” with family and enjoy them.

Also following Mary’s example, there is a physical and spiritual aspect to use during summer. We don’t take a vacation from the Lord, but we can take this time to physically rest. I have also been dwelling on the fact that Jesus gave his own instruction of rest in the return of the Twelve in the Gospel of Mark:

The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” (Mark 6:30-31).

We will be hearing this Gospel proclaimed on July 21, the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, right in the middle of the summer months.

My summer will be filled doing other activities to get ready for the next school year. I have final exams looming. But even with all the other work to do, I feel deeply Jesus’ call for me to come away and rest a while. I will be having those times of resting with the Lord this summer.

Previous Posts for Further Reading on Summer and Ordinary Time:

Feast Days of June

Jennifer Gregory Miller is a wife, mother, homemaker, CGS catechist, and Montessori teacher. Specializing in living the liturgical year, or liturgical living, she is the primary developer of CatholicCulture.org’s liturgical year section. See full bio.

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