Renew your spiritual life this spring break and enter into the last stretch of the year centered on God.
By Rachel Padilla
Spring break is a time to relax and also to recharge. Take this week off from school to regroup, maybe catch up on some grading, settle your emotions, and most importantly reconnect with God. While we can find Him in the everyday hustle of a school day it may be easier to recenter our hearts on Him during this break. These five strategies can help you do just that and be ready to jump back in to the final stretch of the year.
Getting away from school is great, but getting away from the world can be so much better. Our souls need times of quiet contemplation. Spring Break is the perfect time to escape to a local monastery or a retreat center in a neighboring state. With a whole week without school there’s plenty of time to enter into the quiet and refocus on what matters most: Christ and our relationship with Him.
You may not be able to take the whole week away, but even just a weekend or a single day can be nourishing for the soul. If there aren’t any retreat centers that fit your needs, consider making a digital retreat. Many Catholic groups offer self-guided retreats that are completed via email and can fit into your schedule. It’s certainly not the same as going somewhere, but an online retreat can still benefit your relationship with God.
Read a Spiritual Book
If you’re craving to deepen and strengthen your faith, good spiritual writing can be just what you’re looking for. A week is plenty of time to read some of the shorter spiritual books out there. Maybe this is a chance to dive into the writings of a favorite saint or read one of the Gospels in its entirety. Fr. Jacques Phillipe has many books that are spiritually enriching and fairly short. If you’re more ambitious, consider a longer classic such as St. Francis de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life. Reading is not a replacement for prayer, but can be another way to deepen your relationship with Christ and give you thoughts to bring to prayer.
Pray in Nature
If you’re fortunate enough to live in a warm climate (or be visiting one), take advantage of the beauty of Creation. A long walk in a shady park or down a beach can be the perfect backdrop to conversing with God and praising Him for the good He sends. The calming effect of nature can help some people be less distracted or unsettled in their prayer. God’s creation is, of course, no substitute for Himself. Churches and chapels where He is present in the Eucharist are essential and special. But nature can remind our feeble senses of the beauty and grandness of the One who made it.
Renew Your Spiritual Life
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your spiritual life is not a single moment but a re-commitment to something much more long term. What you may need this spring break is an opportunity to assess your life and practices in light of virtue. Are you living as you are called to? Perhaps this an invitation to go to the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation and recommit to living virtuously and having a habit of daily prayer. Perhaps you need to be recharged by entering into the last quarter of the school year with a solid game plan for maintaining your relationship with Christ.
Pray the Divine Mercy Novena
If your Spring break is the week after Easter, it falls during one of the most powerful novenas in the Church’s calendar. While novenas can be prayed at any time, Jesus specifically asked that the Chaplet of Divine Mercy be prayed for nine days leading up to Divine Mercy Sunday (one week after Easter), beginning on Good Friday. In one of His apparitions to St. Faustina, Jesus explained that the Chaplet was to be said each of these nine days and for different, specific intentions each day. Our Lord promised many graces to those who pray the chaplet. This novena is an excellent opportunity to practice devotion to Christ’s mercy. Being reminded of His great love may be just what you need this Spring Break to recharge your spiritual life.
Instructions for how to pray the novena can be found at TheDivineMercy.org.
Spring break can be about so much more than catching up on grading or sleeping in past 6 am. This week is an opportunity to be spiritually recharged. Our relationship with God is one that deserves constant attention. Take time to renew your spiritual life and enter into the last stretch of the year centered on Him.
Rachel Padilla is a campus minister in Colorado.
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