There is always some kind of fear. Gory pictures representing numerous attacks – taken also on the beach – remain in our hearts. Yet, the sun, good weather, nature is still as it used to be, that is to say, as it used to be in peacetime. The need for peace is ancestral and it is stronger than fears. The beauty of the landscape and, above all, the magic of the sea, are enough to offer people some hope.
The beach opens to a community of people who are equally disarmed before the normal (i.e., crazy) rhythms of the world. A community of people who have been set free, who have stopped and managed to disentangle themselves from their institutional and social obsessions. Everyone seems to return to their primordial, natural innocence. Everyone tries to enter, at least partially, the pure space of well-being offered by nature itself.
Yes, there is always a lot of commerce around us. Even the beach is slowly entering this commercial circle. But the essence of spending time there is still the same: a bit of emotions and paradise.
Thus, so close to our primitive natural condition (with a minimum of social code of the clothes) we reveal ourselves, often with a…terrifying sincerity: bellies of different shapes and sizes, legs with different degrees of agility, heroic or ridiculous bellies, seductive or presumptuous breasts. This is the true symphony of human bodies!
But the beach is also a temple (no walls) of closeness and love: after all, parents have time for their children and play with them like never before; brothers and sisters are full of joy as they “chase” water and sand; lovers do not need to say anything: we all see, know, and probably remember (or dream), carried adrift by nostalgia.
Nonetheless, in its deepest essence, the beach teaches us to enjoy full freedom, and forget- at least for a few days – the problems we live with. Lying on the sand, caressed by the sun and wind and accompanied by the rhythm of the waves we simply are, live the present fully, with pure disinterest. The word vacation derives exactly from this action of doing nothing to be truly alive.
The life of the monks is nothing but, to use the Latin word, vacare God – that is, devote ourselves to God entirely, do everything onlt for him. A truly necessary lesson in our times.
Thus, the beach paradoxically can teach us to pray, just stay in the sun, bewitched by the beauty of the moment, with no worries. Is this not a prayer of felt and enjoyed presence of the good Lord, who despite the worldly events, always offers us these beautiful summer moments?
And if we remember the symbolic power of the sun, the beach experience can acquire a theological depth. Once, while talking in Santa Gertrude, Jesus compared the way his divinity pervaded Gertrude with the sunlight, capable of passing through our body to reach our soul, prepare it to a more intimate communion with Christ.
God is everywhere around us. Perhaps, during the time we spend resting on the beach, we can finally find Him.