It is perhaps too common in our age to regard vacations as opportunities to shut down the brain and fire up the senses: Pig out, drink up, sleep in.
That may be a bit of a caricature. On the other hand, ranking among America’s top five tourist destinations is a city in the Nevada desert the economy of which profits from these and other excesses best left unmentioned.
Please do not misunderstand me. Like my friend Todd Aglialoro, the Psalmist, St. Paul, and our Lord himself, I appreciate the important contribution wine brings to convivial gatherings. I also very much enjoy stretching out on the beach with a Rafael Sabatini swashbuckler or a Raymond Chandler mystery. In other words, I think vacations should be delightful and relaxing.
Being a Catholic, however, means that our Faith informs all aspects of our lives. A vacation does not mean a vacation from always living in the presence of God.
There is no reason why vacations cannot also inspire the heart, edify the mind, and fortify the soul. Imagine a vacation that is the perfect combination of elegance, festivity, abundant natural beauty, great food and drink, lively conversation, and the companionship of fellow Catholics who share your love of and interest in the Catholic Faith.
And what if you could come away from this vacation better able to defend the teachings of the Church?
There is such an opportunity.
Right now we are putting the finishing touches on the program for the Catholic Answers 2013 Defending the Faith Cruise, November, 2-9, in the Eastern Carribean.
Matt Fradd, Tim Staples, and I were just in the conference room going over talk topics and scheduling. This year, we’ve really kicked the topics up a notch so that we can dig into some of the deeper questions. Among Tim’s talks will be one called, “The Trouble with Luther” that will explain how so many of today’s social and cultural ills find their origin in the heresies of Protestant rebellion. Matt Fradd will be talking about “Answering Atheism,” and he has also put together a presentation loaded with practical tips called “How to Win an Argument Without Losing a Soul.” I’ll be defending the Church against the charges that the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition are events for which we Catholics need to apologize.
We’ve also go three first-rate guest speakers, Fr. Larry Richards, Steve Ray, and Patrick Madrid. Among Patrick’s lectures will be one called “How to Explain the Sacraments to Someone Who Doesn’t Believe in Them”; and Steve will help us better understand, among other things, the Gospel of St. John and the life and work of St. Paul. And if you have ever heard Fr. Larry speak, well, then, you know what I mean when I say, "Fasten your seatbelt."
You can learn all the details about this year’s cruise at www.CatholicAnswersCruise.com, but let me quickly tell you two things.
First, our speakers do not just show up for their talks and then disappear to their staterooms. You will see them throughout each day and have plenty of time for conversation with them at receptions and dinners. I know you will see Tim and me at breakfast every morning because we were both in the Marine Corps and haven’t been able to get that 0500 reveille out of our systems. And I know you’ll be able to corner Matt Fradd every evening after dinner if you buy him a Fosters or whatever it is that Aussies drink these days.
Second, Catholic Answers’ very own Maureen North (the world’s best cruise organizer!), has asked me to make a special offer for readers of the Catholic Answers Blog: Book by June 15, 2013 and receive a discount of $100 per person! All you need to do is enter the promo code “B0615” on your online application at www.CatholicAnswersCruise.com.
Oh, one thing more: Be sure to pack a Rafael Sabatini swashbuckler. I recommend Captain Blood. It is set in the very region of the Caribbean we’ll be sailing.