Summer: having the courage ” “to reject clichés

Holidays and rest could provide the opportunity for solid, transparent relations, to strengthen the family and raise our glance to God

You will be judged by the holidays you take! Without a doubt, we all look forward to summer vacations, a period of rest and reflection, whether expressed openly or kept to ourselves. It’s not easy to harmonize – or even coordinate – so many factors: limited days, and most of all, limited budgets. But a vital aspect risks being given a secondary role. How do I relate to myself and to those living around me? Dismissing these questions could cause further unbalance and stress. Dreaming of sunny beaches or snowy mountains in 5-star hotels is a self-deceit, as if every possible fashionable comfort and luxury could change us and our self-perception. Is bathing in the same sea of a star or a celebrity very different from bathing in a remote bay perhaps equally worthy of a blue flag? Don’t hidden, unpopular bays tell us more with their silence? During the summer emerge all the “status symbols” meant to qualify us with a sort of trademark. At a closer reading they are nothing more than a heralded deficiency, marking a lack of depth that is disguised to make us look different from who we truly are. Two weeks of follies to repay the greyness of a life considered commonplace and anonymous. The value of life, especially in the summer, requires a greater deal of vigilance: our ego never takes rest, it’s always alert and it influences us. It waits to be glutted with some brand, covering its doleful and plaintive sides. If family life is usually affected by study and working hours while the time devoted to parents and children is reduced to a minimum, is this not the right time to be together? To know more deeply, to communicate the deepest desires, to make bonds more transparent and solid. Sharing among families brings joy and happiness; it makes people feel less alone in replacing phony nightlife that create a fictitious, meaningless climate thereby damaging the body and soul. Gangs and criminals come together, but there are also individuals and families whose gaze reposes not only on their wellbeing and benefit but is extended further: how many are those living isolated and alone who would instead like to share the wisdom of the elders, and learn their ability to accept a disease? How much time do we dedicate to others, whoever they are, so they may breathe differently and benefit from days of relaxation, and may revitalize their own body and soul? Moreover, the option of a sober (or even austere) form of leisure cannot be improvised, and the ways we live our holidays are always a projection of our daily lives, signalling the underlying options. In the summer nature calls us and makes itself known. How many of you have never experienced the enchanted silence of the woods? How many of you have strolled along pleasurable and relaxing valleys? We must be able to stop and allow the beauty of the mountains, of the hills, penetrate us and the portal of prayer, with a glance extended to the work of God to see Him as the Creator of everything. At dawn the splashing of the waves on the sand or on the rocks is a lure that attracts and magnetizes. It speaks of the time that passes and does not return. It talks about life, that has meaning and blooms in fullness, or else, if it has none, it dries up and loses its glaze. Indeed, if the night is a wild night spent amidst a deafening hubbub of sounds that some dare call music, coupled by the flow of alcohol, nothing will remain of the beauty of the sea and of its charm. Our gaze will be darkened, the mind will be dull. The cycle then would not be regenerating but totally destructive. We must have the courage to reject the clichés and be bearers of new proposals. Not with words but with deeds. Two weeks shared happily and healthily construct a connective tissue with daily life, that is nourished and that can expand, in the light of that desire that is in us to recognize one another as brothers and sisters, in need to give and receive love and friendship. We must not give in to the magnetism of fashion, of what appears but deceives and impoverishes us at all levels. May the period of vacation be a gift from God, a gift of beauty, to ourselves and to others.

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