The Monk’s Life, In One Paragraph (A Few Thoughts For Thursday)

What follows is from Thomas Merton’s translation of sayings from the Desert Fathers, The Wisdom of the Desert .

An elder said: Here is the monk’s life work. Obedience, meditation, not judging others, not reviling, not complaining. For it is written: You who love the Lord, hate evil. So this is the monk’s life – not to walk in agreement with an unjust man, nor to look with his eyes upon evil, nor to go about being curious, and neither to examine nor to listen to the business of others. Not to take anything with his hands, but rather to give to others. Not to be proud in his heart, nor to malign others in his thoughts. Not to fill his stomach but in all things to behave with discretion. Behold, in all this you have the monk.

Hmmmmm. Food for thought.

Archbishop Chaput on the Politics of Secularism

In the combox this morning on the post on the new educational website launched by the USSCB, a reader notes that religious freedom is a two way street.

The concern here is America not only as a place of freedom OF religion, but also freedom FROM religion. Both must be honored in a true democracy.

I replied with a few thoughts, noting that yes it is a two-way street, and let’s make sure it isn’t a one way street to the gulag for believers.

Providentially, as no one tips me off to stuff going on within the halls of the chanceries throughout the country, Archbishop Charles Chaput launched a little YouTube video* to help answer the concerns of secularists like the reader above. [Read more...]

Because 0.89% of My Time is Not Enough

Sometimes it’s dangerous putting a calculator into my hands. I can come up with some pretty wild ideas. This past Sunday, when visiting a different parish while on a trip to Georgia, the priest mentioned in his homily that if we only think about being Christians once a week during mass, then we are only giving Our Lord 52 hours a year, or only 2.167 days out of 365. Gulp! That’s nothing.

Later on, I played with this information a little bit. Figuring that sleep accounts for 8 hours a day, that leaves 16 hours a day for when I am actually awake. 16 hours times 365 days = 5840 hours a year that I am available to practice living life as a Catholic Christian. Now, if I only practice my faith by going to mass for 1 hour a week, as the priest mentioned, and I am only giving Our Lord 52 hours a year of my time, then 52 hours divided by 5840 hours equals 0.89% of my time.  Think about that for a moment.

How is that even remotely close to this?

Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. Bind them at your wrist as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:5-9)

If you said to yourself, it’s not, then you are thinking like me. Surely compartmentalizing our Catholic faith into just attending mass weekly is not enough to earn the “well done my good and faithful servant” kudos (Matthew 25:23). Nor is it enough time to fulfill the command to,

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19).

We have to do more. We have to find a way to give more of our time to the service of the Lord. One way is for us to consecrate our daily work to Him. Think about the number of hours we throw toward that task. At least 2080 hours a year. So up from .89% of our time to a whopping 36.5%. But even that is far from the mark.

I ran across this short poem by Toyohiko Kagawa recently that left me thinking,

I read in a book 
That a man called 
Christ 
Went about doing good. 
It is very disconcerting to me 
That I am so easily satisfied 
With just 
Going about. 

Over the next few days, I intend to look into various ways to go about fulfilling the passage in Deuteronomy above. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.


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