School is out, the weather is getting warmer, and ice cream trucks are once again making the rounds. Summer is here in most areas. For many summertime means a relaxed schedule with no classes (and no homework!), shorter work days, and vacations.  It is a joy-filled season and a time to make memories.

However, it can also be a time that many take a vacation from their spiritual life. Often youth groups and other ministries take a break for the summer, but that doesn’t mean you should take a break from God. With more time on your hands, summer can be a wonderful time to challenge yourself and grow closer to Christ.

Here are 12 suggestions on how to “soak up the son” this summer.  What would you add to the list?

 

12 Ways to Soak Up the Son This Summer

God doesn’t take vacations…so don’t take a vacation from Him

Summer often means a more relaxed and laid back schedule, but don’t let that have the effect on your prayer time. If you’re sleeping in, make sure you still take the time to invite God into your day before you roll out of bed.
“In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning, I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” – Psalm 5:3

#SquadGoals

Whether we like to admit or not, the people we surround ourselves with have an impact on how we live our lives. Choose to be around others that help you in your faith walk and push you towards holiness. Look for people that can find the joy in life no matter what their circumstances may be.
“A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter: he that has found one has found a treasure. There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend,  and no scales can measure his excellence. A faithful friend is an elixir of life; and those who fear the Lord will find him.” Sirach 6:14-16

No shoes, no shirt….I’ll serve you.

You’ve probably noticed a sign like this on the door of a store – “No shoes, no shirt, no service.” Though this is intended to be a notice for carefree beachgoers to dress appropriately to enter the establishment, the reality is that there are many in our world that lack shoes and clothes. Make it your personal mission to find a way to serve the poor and oppressed this summer. Find a homeless shelter, crisis pregnancy center, or summer camp for troubled youth to give to in some way during these three months.
“Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Proverbs 14:31

Take a Trip to Some Place Holy

Pilgrimages are not things of the past. We have the opportunity to make them today and take the opportunity to use our vacation to grow closer to God. You could choose to visit a Shrine, a Cathedral or to find one of the designated Holy Doors to walk through during this Year of Mercy. Many times you may be able to receive a plenary indulgence because of your journey and prayer.
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.”  Isaiah 2:3

Join Your Library’s Summer Reading Program

Well…you might be too old to receive the prizes that libraries frequently offer to kids for reading over the summer, but it is still a good idea to pick up a book (or two!) that will provide you with some spiritual insight. We have a good list of books to get you started in this post: http://catholic-link.org/2015/07/31/26-catholic-books-you-should-be-reading/
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” – Romans 10:7

Find a Mentor and Be a Mentor

If you have a little extra time on your hands this summer, use it to invest in someone. First, invest in yourself. Ask God to lead you to someone who could be a spirit mentor to you. Asking a priest, your Godparents, or your former youth group leader might be a good place to start. To lead others, it is important to have someone leading you. In addition to investing in yourself, find someone that you could be a mentor to as well.
Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

Go Outside and Pray

When you can feel the warmth of the sun or hear the crashing waves, it can remind you of the powerful presence of God. Take a moment (or a lot of moments!!) this summer to pray outside in the midst of God’s creation.
“Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders. Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash?  Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?”
– Job 37:14-16

Throwback Thursday

Popsicles. Slip ‘n’ Slides. Freeze Tag. Water balloons. There is so much JOY to be experienced in summer. Think back to the things you enjoyed as a child free of the burdens of life. Do at least one of those activities and then thank God for the gift of pure joy that is only found in Him.
  And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

Power Off

Take some time to power off and disconnect from all your devices and social media. If you can’t go off the grid, just pick a day that you can set everything aside. When you feel tempted to check your phone or computer, say a prayer instead. Listen for God to speak when you turn out the noise of the world.
Hear my voice, LORD, when I call; have mercy on me and answer me.
“Come,” says my heart, “seek his face”; your face, LORD, do I seek! Psalm 27:7-8

Memorize the Word

Find a scripture verse that you love and memorize it. In times of stress, repeat it. In times of joy, sing it. Let it be your 2016 Summer anthem.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Let a Worship Song Be Your Jam

When you hop in the car this summer to go somewhere, turn on the Christain radio station for at least part of the ride. Listen to music that inspires and uplifts your soul. Let the words of the song be your prayer.
Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Psalm 96:1

Daily Mass and time spent in Adoration

More free time doesn’t have to mean more “me” time. Use your time wisely and spend it experiencing all that God has to give you in the Mass and the Eucharist. If you want to grow in holiness, this is where you need to plant yourself this summer.
Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread. Luke 24:25

Let’s help hold one another accountable for our actions.  Leave a comment letting us know what you plan on doing this summer to grow in your faith.  If you’re willing to pray for someone else, “like” their comment to show your support!