Vacation time should be prayer time, pope says

IMAGE: CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Summertime can and should be a time
for extra prayer, a moment of peace that allows Christians to savor the joy of
their relationship with Jesus and find new strength to reach out with love to
others, Pope Francis said.

Before reciting the Angelus Aug. 6, the feast of the
Transfiguration, Pope Francis talked about the Gospel story of the disciples
going up Mount Tabor with Jesus, “detaching themselves from mundane
things” and contemplating the transfigured Lord.

Today, too, Christ’s disciples need to “rediscover the
pacifying and regenerating silence” that comes from prayer and meditating
on a Gospel passage.

“When we put ourselves in this situation, with the
Bible in hand, in silence, we begin to feel this interior beauty, this joy that
the word of God generates in us,” the pope said.

With high temperatures still plaguing Rome and most of
southern Europe, many tourists and pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square came armed
with umbrellas or bought paper parasols from wandering venders outside the

Pope Francis said he knew the students in the square were in
the midst of their summer holidays and many of the other people in the square
were on vacation. He told them, “It’s important that in the period of rest
and breaking away from daily concerns, you restore the energies of your body
and soul, deepening your spiritual journey.”

The disciples who saw Jesus’ transfigured, he said, were
changed by the event and descended the mountain, back into their daily lives,
“with eyes and hearts transfigured by their encounter with the Lord. We,
too, can follow this path.”

An encounter with the Lord, he said, should inspire further
steps of conversion and a greater witness of charity.

“Transformed by the presence of Christ and by the
warmth of his words, we will be a concrete sign of the life-giving love of God
for all our brothers and sisters, especially those who suffer, find themselves
alone and abandoned, are sick, and for the multitude of men and women who, in
different parts of the world, are humiliated by injustice, abuse and

Pope Francis prayed that Mary would watch over people on vacation,
but also that she would care for “those who cannot take a vacation because
they are impeded by age, health or work, by economic difficulties or other

Earlier that morning, Pope Francis went to the grotto under
St. Peter’s Basilica to pray at the tomb of Blessed Paul VI, who died Aug. 6,

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