Any kind of hectic activity, even in religious affairs, is utterly alien to the New Testament picture of man. We always overestimate ourselves when we imagine we are completely indispensable and that the world or the Church depends on our frantic activity. Often it will be an act of real humility and creaturely honesty to stop what we are doing, to acknowledge our limits, to take time to draw breath and rest—as the creature, man, is designed to do. I am not suggesting that sloth is a good thing, but I do want to suggest that we revise our catalog of virtue, as it has developed in the Western world, where activity alone is regarded as valid and where the attitudes of beholding, wonder, recollection and quiet are of no account, or at least are felt to need some justification. This causes the atrophy of certain essential human faculties“Pope Benedict XVI Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year.
Lord, let me see where my activity is actually keeping me from you. Help me to move against the current of the culture and to step out in faith and fully embrace the attitudes of beholding, wonder, recollection and quiet.
When we push ourselves to our limits and imagine that we are indispensable to our work or even to our families, are we indulging in pride? Is the real act of humility to acknowledge that we are not limitless and to stop moving so quickly through a busy, busy world? Is the humble act the one where we breathe deeply and rest? Let's try that today. Let's step off the busy freight train barreling through life at breakneck speed and let's step into nature. Change the scene. Leave the blinding lights, the screens, the car on its way to yet another obligation, and instead draw a breath in the natural world . Stretch your legs, fill your lungs, empty your mind.
Activity in and of itself is not a virtue. Sloth is not a good thing, but there is real value in purposeful leisure. Make time for that leisure today.
It's snowing here today. The will be no run outdoors, but I promise you, there will be time to get out in the world of white and inhale the peace that is a snow day in March. I'm looking forward to it!
What is keeping you from the embracing an attitude of beholding, wonder, recollection, and quiet? Are those elusive states of being for some of us? Or is there a way to build them into the day, no matter what the vocation?