CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 9 December 2017

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Have a good holiday

Holidays are a happy time! Workers and students, even grandparents who help care of their grandchildren are eager for a bit of down time.
 
But this year’s summer holidays have been clouded by the news of the death of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo, the deaths of local industrial workers and the disqualification of Legislative Council members, making the season a heavy-hearted one.
 
The word holiday comes from holy day, particularly in reference to religious festivals, and is a time for renewal and recreation.
 
In Chinese tradition, the practice of taking a break from work can be traced back to Confucius’ time. The Sunday rest day, or worship day, was said to have been introduced to China during the early Qing Dynasty by missionaries.
 
In Hong Kong in recent years, a new style of work or vacation called the working holiday has attracted many young adults. It allows them to work abroad for some time, have new experiences and broaden their horizons. But the definition of vacation should be clear, otherwise it can become a kind of escape mechanism.
 
In addition, some young people want more leisure time, giving rise to the flexi-job trend, which they say gives them better control of their time and greater financial opportunity.
 
But these patterns of mixing work with leisure do not come without risk. There is income instability, lack of legal protection and working at any time means losing the job at any time too. There is also no paid holiday, sick or maternity leave.
 
Holidays are a good time for parents to bond with their children, as well as well as improve relations with their aged relatives. This is a way of promoting inter-generational integration, encouraging young people to help the older ones understand new things.
 
Some parents use holidays to up the skill level of their children and enroll them in courses. However, most of these do not help their physical health or moral well-being. Pope Francis advises parents, “Good habits need to be developed. Even childhood habits can help to translate important interiorised values into sound and steady ways of acting” (Joy of Love, No.266).
 
The cry of I haven’t got time is a common complaint and a challenge to use holidays wisely. During a long vacation, some like to relax and be free, but over indulgence can be fatal.
 
It is also a time to nourish virtue, because prudence, good judgement and common sense are dependent “on a whole series of things that come together deep within each person, or better, at the very core of our freedom” (Joy of Love, No.262).
 
But we must make time for God. “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest,” Jesus said (Mark 6:31). Jesus needed rest, we need it even more!
 
However, faith has no holiday. Prayer is a necessity, wherever you may be, and we must always love God and neighbour.
 
During the holidays, invite Christ along to make it holy. Let every holiday be filled with the love of God. There is no holiday from faith, but a good vacation helps to keep it strong! SE