Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Violent Lifestyle

"The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence. The frenzy of the activist...destroys his own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful." 
- Thomas Merton

I am extremely guilty of letting my life get out of control: there are just too many meetings to attend, customers to help, jobs to design, and homework to do.  How are we supposed to fit all this in?  And do people actually get the "recommended hours of sleep?" Doubtful. On top of that, there are constantly the needy, hungry and naked to help, feed and clothe.  I feel as though I am fulfilling my duties not only on earth, but also to Christ.  Therefore it's justified... right?

The theme of stillness has invaded my life lately.  Slowing down is necessary because my health and relationships depend on it.  In fact I was at a Thomas Merton meeting last night at Ursuline College where the above quote was mentioned and it cut me like a knife.  Busyness a form of violence?!  Absurd.

Well...maybe there is something to that.  What harm am I causing myself and others by being so consumed in doing things?  Perhaps this is why I am so drawn to the monastic life.  The simplicity, contemplation and sereneness speaks to me.  I long for a life where there is enough time to "be still."

Why do I feel the need to be accomplished each day? Might that be merely fulfilling society's pressures?  And aren't we called to be "in the world but not of it"?

"The frenzy of the activist...destroys his own inner capacity for peace." 

I need peace.  I need stillness.
Lord, help me.

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