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ting in theory the benefits of vacations, commonly refused in practice to recognize the need of the benefits in particular cases. They did not agree (as the Church in the new Code does agree) with the paradoxical statement of that distinguished physician who declares that “A man can do a year's work in ten months; he may manage to get through it in eleven; but he cannot possibly do it in twelve."
The necessity of annual holidays for prospective clerics has always of course been recognized by ecclesiastical authorities. As a boy and a young man, the future priest has in all Catholic countries enjoyed, every year, from six or seven to eight or ten weeks of freedom from study at college or seminary. Just why it should ever have been considered an abnormality and an extravagance for him to keep up this vacation-habit when once he had entered upon the active work of the ministry does not seem very clear. Given that he is a zealous and energetic pastor of souls-a supposition quite as likely to be true as is the assumption that in his seminary days he was a hard-working student, a priest would on the face of it appear to need as frequent and as lengthy intervals of rest and recreation in middle age as were granted to him in incipient manhood. Nor does the fact that a considerable number of clerics go on from year to year and even from decade to decade without taking a vacation constitute any valid argument against either the utility or the congruity of the practice. To a friend of ours, a religious priest who, after a quarter of a century
devoted to teaching, had been assigned to editorial work, and who, having spent three years at such work without a holiday, finally asked his superior for a month's vacation, this reply was made: "Vacation! What do you want one for? Look at Father So-and-So. He hasn't had a vacation in thirty years."-"Quite so," said our friend; "he has contracted the habit of doing without holidays, and habit, as we know, is second nature. You will kindly remember, however, that for thirty years as student and professor I've been in the habit of having two months of vacation every year, and my second nature is quite as strong as Father Soand-So's. Moreover, 'tis a question whether the good Father would not have done more and better work for the past three decades if he had taken a regular annual holiday of at least a few weeks."
As a rule, and a rule that suffers not very many exceptions, the professional man, priest or other, who truthfully declares that he never feels the need of a vacation is simply asserting that he does not deserve one, that his habitual work is not hard enough, his customary activities not sufficiently strenuous to necessitate the periodical counterpoise of change or repose. The transition from doing very little to doing nothing at all really merits the name of intensified loafing or idleness rather than that of a well-earned holiday. To play well one must previously have worked well. No vacation save one which follows upon real and exhausting labor is capable of affording us any genuine joy or exhilaration. Weeks of rest after months of continuous and strenuous exertion are a delight; but
If all the year were playing holidays,
It is possible of course that the downright pastor who categorically condemns priestly vacations as a sheer waste of time, and who complacently bids you: "Look at me, sir; I haven't been away from my parish for six consecutive days in six times that many years”—it is possible, we say, that he has been throughout these years an energetic, active laborer in the vineyard of the Lord; but it is not at all improbable that he has been vegetating rather than really living, in the sense that true living is activity; that he has habitually had, each week, a moderate amount of work during two or three days and an immoderate portion of leisure for the remaining four or five; and that both his parish and himself would have materially benefited by his occasionally getting out of the rut in which he quite unnecessarily cabined and cribbed and confined himself. On the whole, however, the sacerdotal life in this country is a busy one, and it is quite probable that more clerical vacations are really earned than are commonly taken. Not to take them when they are needed and possible is the reverse of wisdom, is false economy. "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," whether Jack be a young lad of sixteen or an old boy of sixty.
Not to provoke, on the part of the reader, the impatient inquiry: "What has all this to do with the indicated subject of the present chapter?” let us have done with comments on the genus vacation, and confine our further remarks to one of its
species, travelling. Not all priests spend their vacations in travelling, nor are all travelling priests enjoying a holiday; yet it is safe to say that the majority of such clerics as avail themselves of the privilege accorded them by canon 465 of the new Codex, and take a continuous vacation of two months, will devote the major portion of that period to journeys by land or voyages at sea, or to a combination of both. And their doing so will assuredly need no justification or apology. At this stage of the world's history and in this land of the preeminently strenuous life, it would be a task of utter supererogation to multiply proofs and arguments in support of the contention that travel is both pleasant and useful, a legitimate recreation and a potent factor in the acquisition of true education and general culture. To speak first of its pleasantness: whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well, and hence the more complete the relaxation given to the weary priestly mind the better. The late E. H. Harriman graphically summarized the philosophy of holidays in a remark which he made one morning just as he was starting on a trip to Europe. "It's a regular vacation," said he to a reporter, "and the man who mentions business to me gets shot." This vigorous declaration was not of course meant to be accepted at the face value of the words themselves; the railway magnate was speaking figuratively; but the spirit that prompted the declaration was the proper spirit in which to set out upon a worth-while vacation. Business, one's regular work, should be as alien to the holiday-seeker as is idle trifling to the busiest
man in business hours. This is one reason why ocean travel is so popular a form of vacation among priests, as among other professional men.
Very many persons have learned by experience that the cares and anxieties of everyday life, the incessant worries attendant upon one's profession or calling are, for the most part at least, left behind and forgotten when once one has begun "to sail the seas over, to cross the wide ocean." To the really tired brain-worker, is there indeed any other form of recreation so thoroughly grateful as an ocean voyage in summer? The present writer, for one, has never found its equal. Where else can the nervously exhausted pastor, the worn-out college lecturer, or the utterly weary writer enjoy repose so complete, luxuriate in idleness at once so perfect and so healthful as on the mighty expanse that stretches between the old world and the new? If, as physicians teach, the best vacation for the man who really needs one is that which affords the fullest change from his ordinary lifechange of air and diet and ideas and scenery and people-what transition can compare with that from study, or office, or lecture-room to the breezy deck of a handsome liner gracefully gliding through summer seas? Who that has ever enjoyed it can think without longing of the pleasure and exhilaration and delicious rest in a voyage across the Atlantic? What luxury to recline at full length in an adjustable steamer-chair on the sunny side of the saloon-deck, and note, between puffs of your post-prandial cigar, the ever-varying aspects of the multitudinous blue-black wavelets dancing