Searched the net diligently for a short video on Catholic leisure or rest and found nothing. Hmm … wonder why that is. Instead, enjoy this short poem “Leisure” by W.H. Davies, and articles featured below.
And [Jesus] said to [the disciples], “Come apart into a desert place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. (Mark 6:31)
Are we ready for some rest and relaxation? You bet we are!
Make the most of this year’s R&R and consider how the secular idea of “getting away” has hijacked our Catholic understanding of leisure and rest. For Catholics, leisure is, yes, a time to disconnect from worldly distractions and busy-ness. But this time of refreshment and pause helps us get to rather than get away.
In moments of rest and quiet, we have time to better connect with God, to assess our relationship with Him and whether or not our lives as we are currently living them are truly making us happy. In blessed quiet, we pause to consider what in our daily practice is bringing us closer to God who loves us and desires our happiness. Is my heart filled with a sense of purpose? Am I living out who I was created to be? Am I, in ways grandiose or even very small, practicing the love, peace, patience, gentleness and mercy of God’s Kingdom in my daily walk? And most importantly, do I need to make any changes or corrections to better receive the happiness God wants for me right now.
Often our daily walk as it is lived now, and not our vacations, could arguably be called getting away. Between family pressures and working parent schedules, financial anxiety or our constant striving for the next rung on the corporate ladder, the bigger, better home/car/tv/vacation (you fill in the blanks), the ongoing bombardment of electronic devices … by default we are drawn away from the happiness we can experience in the encounters, blessings, and challenges of each moment.
The Sabbath is a Catholic “protest against the servitude of work and the worship of money.” (CCC 2172) That’s doctrine folks! We have an active life and contemplative life, and both are important. We do not take time off work in order to rest up so we can work harder when we return. Rather, we work diligently to benefit ourselves and others in order that we might all have a time of rest to reflect, connect, celebrate and worship. We are created in the image of God, who rested on the seventh day. Our sabbath is the practice of who we are created to be.
As you approach your vacation this year, don’t go it alone. Yoke up with Christ and find your own burden lightened. At some point in your “getting away” schedule, block some time for getting to that sacred space of rest and leisure where God can truly refresh your soul.
Be not afraid, to leave the cell phone and laptop and even the vacation itinerary behind, and in that quiet stillness, listen to what God has to say to you, just you, as you rest at his feet.
But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things; and yet only one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the best part, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)
Choose the better part. Amen?
For more information on the Catholic understanding of leisure and rest ...
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