Brute March 2020 enews
In this email we bring you our continuing monthly series of blogs written by our seminarians. We hope you find their writings to be spiritually uplifting and educational.
Finding God's presence in our leisure
Our faith is one of profound supernatural and mystical realities. In a world where all things have seemingly been explained away or discovered already, it’s exciting to discover there are things that can’t be explained. Therein lies the beauty of our Catholic faith: God is completely and utterly beyond anything we could ever imagine. He’s simple yet shrouded in mystery. He’s other-worldly yet entirely personal. Our God is one of contemplation, mysticism and defies expectations and understanding. However, he doesn’t expect us to discover Him by human reason alone. Rather, God has the most excellent foresight of creating a world full of wonders and excitements that constantly direct us towards Him. This universe is nothing so much as a metaphorical playground; full of swings, ladders, and slides, all leading to the waiting arms of our Father. The same way a dad brings back presents for his children when he’s away on a work trip, our Heavenly Father has left us with creation itself to guide us to that area of contemplation in which He resides. Through the example of the incarnate Jesus Christ, man sees the sacramental nature of creation, and cries aloud to God in thanksgiving.
It is precisely in this mindset that we ought to approach leisure. We were made to walk in peace and tranquility with God. The toil and sweat of labor were results of the Fall, and not part of God’s glorified plan. Yet somehow, our modern culture has turned labor into a badge of honor, often declaring those who never take breaks and work themselves into a fever to be role models. How can one contemplate God when they never stop working to do so? It can be especially difficult to find this leisure time in the academic setting of the seminary. Between prayer, classes, and community events, it can seem impossible to integrate healthy leisure into daily life. I submit to you that, though admittedly tough to implement, I have accomplished such a task, and I can’t stress enough how wonderful it feels to have done so.
I’ve always been a morning person and I find that it’s in the wee hours of the morning that I am most disposed to both prayer and relaxation. Every day, I get up at 5:00 AM, take a shower, throw back a cup of coffee, and head to the chapel for a holy hour. Mass is at 6:45, and usually ends around 7:30 after which I begin my morning leisure time. We have a wonderful courtyard in the Castle, with a comfortable rocking chair against the south wall that has a great view of the chimney. My favorite morning activity is to sit in that chair, smoke my pipe (I may or may not have been a little too influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien in my adolescence), and read a book. As I sit there reading great tales, moving stories, or personal biographies, I look up and watch the smoke coming from the chimney, listen to the song of the birds, and feel the chill breeze swirling through the quiet courtyard. It’s usually in those brief, quiet moments that I feel God’s presence the most in my day. As Elijah heard the still small voice on the breeze, I find I often hear God’s whispers in the puff of a pipe and the words of great literature.
The weekends offer greater stretches of time to enter the sacramental contemplation of my various hobbies, and these times usually see my more creative adventures. When the weather allows, I’ll sit outside beneath a tree and draw or play one of the half dozen instruments I claim to play (albeit poorly). Those weekends are my favorite, as I find a certain insight into the creative nature of God. I exercise the powers granted me by the Creator, using the gifts and talents given me to shape what He has already created. The beauty of the act is independent of the quality of the resulting picture or song. Indeed, it resides in the sacramentality of the act itself, much as the value of our prayer lies not in the quality of the experience, but rather the time given to The Lord.
I’m not able to devote as much time to these activities as I’d like, but I find that even a half hour in the morning is enough to place me in a joyous and thankful state of mind that carries through the whole day, and I couldn’t imagine living life any other way.
is a Bruté seminarian studying for the Diocese of Lexington and is a member of the Class of 2021.
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on Monday, March 2, 2020 at 8:00AM