Good Zeal

New Respectability

Sister MichelleI used to visit patients in a nursing home where the staff had colorful bulletin boards that reflected the seasons. On one especially hot Alabama day, the headline read: “Mid-summer in the south, when laziness takes on a new respectability!” The illustrations showed people rocking in chairs on covered porches, drinking tea under shade trees, and sitting on docks with feet in the water and fishing poles in hand. Having grown up in the North, with its long, cold winters, I always thought of that season as a time of rest, especially in January when the holidays were over and deep snow kept kids out of school and many adults out of work. The Amish people have a saying that, “Winter is when the land and the people rest.”

In Benedictine life, we recognize the need to take time for that careful reading of the Scripture and other spiritual writings known as lectio divina and for spending time in silence to allow ourselves to hear what God is saying to us.

In these times, many of us live in climate-controlled environments. While this has many advantages, the one disadvantage may be that we are not as aware of the weather and its ability to force us to slow down. So, it is up to us as individuals to allow a respectable laziness into our lives and listen for the voice of God there.

By: Sister Eileen M. Gallagher, OSB

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