"The spiritual side of summer" by Hannah Christensen (CatholicMom.com) Copyright 2017 Hannah Christensen. All rights reserved. Designed by the author in Canva.

In the beauty and intricacies of God's created world, we can find many parallel ideas and objects that mirror each other. I was pondering this week how the seasons of the year mimic the seasons of life, particularly the spiritual aspects of life and the patterns of our individual spiritual growth.

The season of summer represents the time in our lives when everything is going smoothly and we are naturally happy in our surroundings. The warmth of the sun and the length of days has the ability to make everything brighter, better and more enriching. The summer of our spiritual life is when everything is easier. It's easy to pray and be thankful for our blessings. We soak in the love of God like our skin soaks in the warmth of the sun. Our little prayers and sacrifices seem to be as fragrant and full of purpose as a field of summer wildflowers. We find acts of kindness to be almost effortless because we are in a joyous and giving mood.

Summer can reflect the state of grace in our souls. Just like the season of summer where nature is bursting with life, so our souls are fully awake and alive when we live in grace. We are renewed in God's mercy as refreshing as the morning dew on the lush grass.  After a season of barren temptations, chilled hearts, and cold discouragement, our souls transform with new life, just as winter ice melts to summer growth.

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In summer our routines change, often slowing down after a year of school schedules and commitments. If we are still busy in the summer, it is usually more a pleasurable busy from the rest of the year. We are going on vacations, having backyard BBQs with friends, and enjoying outdoor activities. We are able to take a break from our normal schedules and find refreshment. Just like the summer season of our spiritual lives, we find more space to rest and be at leisure so that we are renewed and ready to face the harshness of the cold dark days again.

The seasons will continue to cycle around us, and through each season our souls learn different lessons. In the abundant season of warmth and grace, we have the opportunity to feel fully alive, to feel joy in our tasks, gratitude in our hearts, and a lightness to our burdens. This spiritual fullness prepares us for the empty season of spiritual dryness, sinful choices or harsh suffering where we have to battle against the cold winds of selfishness, frustration, monotony, anxiety, or fear. In this difficult season, we long and seek out the touch of God's warmth. Our dependence on Him pulls us through the stormy blizzard towards the season of summer-like joy again.

This summer, I'm trying to be intentional about my time and my need for renewing rest, both in my spiritual life and my family life. You can check out my printable bucket list of summer activities that is helping my family relax and grow together. We can incorporate prayer into our summer, like saying a rosary while we roast marshmallows, or reading a Bible story while we watch the sunset. As we have fun making family memories we are enjoying God's creation, taking deep breaths of His love for us represented by the sunshine and the affection we share.

How can you relate summer to your spiritual life?

Copyright 2017 Hannah Christensen