Following are some excerpts from an article ‘Your Presence is needed’ by Shanna Johnson, Editor of U.S. Catholic that I would like to share with you. Even as we are present in others’ lives, it is equally as important to be present in our own. Another article in the magazine argues in favor of taking time for a vacation. I hope you enjoy some leisure time reflection as you read these short excerpts from July’s issue of US Catholic focusing on why your presence is needed.

Being present is integral to our faith as Catholics. We go to church on Sundays, and we are urged to be spiritually present outside parish walls to one another. In another article found in the magazine, Sarah Butler suggests options that allow us to be more present in the ways we give back, rather than just purchasing a pair of shoes, tote bag or a pound of coffee. As Mother Teresa said, “Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So spread your love everywhere you go.”

Author Jonathan Ryan writes that vacation is a good time for spiritual reflection and being present to ourselves. He writes, “In the life of a Catholic and a Christian, taking vacation means we can reconnect with the two chief commandments that God has given us: to love God and to love other people.” It offers a way to take a break from the daily grind of work and family stress to appreciate the small things in life and in doing so strengthens our relationship with God.

Pope Francis urges Christians to encounter each other in the present. He calls on Catholics to bring themselves in person to others. With the busyness of modern life, there is perhaps nothing more critical to our spiritual lives than finding a way to cancel out the noise and meet others where they need us and, in turn, meet God and our spirituality where we need them as well. This requires being present to those we serve.

Most of all enjoy your plans for a summer vacation and realize the need to be present as you relax and rest with family and friends. Let your spirit shine through as you visit new places and make new friends in your travels. Thinking of you as you celebrate our country’s Independence Day, an important national holiday and a symbol of patriotism!