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Holy Leisure

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Afternoon presentation from the Oblate Retreat on Holy Work / Holy Leisure

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Holy Leisure

  1. 1. Holy Work and Holy Leisure Oblate Retreat Saint Paul’s Monastery 29 September 2007 Sister Edith Bogue, OSB
  2. 2. Leisure In modern society, leisure is pursued to balance the stresses of work and overwork.
  3. 3. Time off <ul><li>Common phrase for time devoted to leisure </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Derivation: prison sentence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work is unpleasant, so we seek “time off” from it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Time off is limited </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Therefore precious </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seek intensity of leisure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most recently, “extreme” as a descriptor </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Indicates division of life, attempt to balance rather than integrate aspects of living </li></ul>
  4. 4. Relaxation <ul><li>Healthy impulse: release tension </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sometimes activity, sports </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sometimes rest, sleep </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Duration may be very brief </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Change of routine </li></ul><ul><li>Time to relax is different from work </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Even when it happens at work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Workplace gyms, massage, break rooms </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Balance rather than integration </li></ul>
  5. 5. Entertainment <ul><li>Something which captures our interest in a pleasurable way, and which passes the time </li></ul><ul><li>May involve other people May be solitary </li></ul><ul><li>Directed from outside </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose is often vague </li></ul><ul><li>No inherent moral code </li></ul><ul><li>In society, must compete with other sources </li></ul><ul><li>Evolves to keep audience </li></ul>
  6. 7. Vacation <ul><li>Literally: to leave, vacate </li></ul><ul><li>Saint Benedict, distressed by the student life in Rome, took a permanent vacation by fleeing to a hillside cave. </li></ul><ul><li>Can be a time to revitalize ourselves </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Live a more integrated lifestyle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Active entertainment and relaxation along with manual labor </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Commercially: special entertainment that requires a lot of work in preparation </li></ul>
  7. 8. Pleasure <ul><li>Natural component of everyday life </li></ul><ul><ul><li>from food, drink, music, events </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>from companionship & family </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>from many individual sources (reading, hobbies) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tends to have external source </li></ul><ul><li>Responds to an appetite </li></ul><ul><ul><li>can become a craving </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>appetites can take over = addictions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>More often sought & found outside of work </li></ul>
  8. 9. Holy Leisure Leisure is a form of stillness that is the necessary preparation for accepting reality. Josef Pieper, Leisure: The Basis of Culture
  9. 10. The Lilies of the Field <ul><li>Jesus reminds us of the utter leisure of nature </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unplanned, unsought </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Beautiful beyond human capability to create </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Does not tell us to stop working or doing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But to stop worrying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No need to seek </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Leisure is openness to God’s work in us </li></ul>
  10. 11. The Holy Rule <ul><li>Regulation of time </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Order rather than chaos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rest is regularly scheduled </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lectio gets the best time of the day, not the leftovers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prayer regulates work </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Regulation of roles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jobs are described </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personalities prescribed </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Alignment of goals </li></ul>
  11. 12. The Contemplative Gaze <ul><li>Aristotle – eudaimonia – happiness or thriving </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exercise of vital faculties according to their design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not achievable by human effort, a divine gift </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But we can train and prepare for it through a life lived well with time for contemplation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Thomas Aquinas – beatific vision – only in heaven </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hints of it here on earth, through life well-lived </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We live our lives in preparation and training </li></ul></ul><ul><li>John Paul II – Fides et Ratio – culture & faith </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Culture of skepticism of truth, seeking for self </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to recover the contemplative gaze - leisure </li></ul></ul>
  12. 14. Festival Time <ul><li>The heart of leisure consists in “festival” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Relaxation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Effortlessness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ascendency of being at leisure over mere function </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Leisure then derives its force from the source of festival and celebration </li></ul><ul><li>Worship </li></ul><ul><ul><li>When religion is displaced, we have secular worship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Worship is to time as the temple is to space </li></ul></ul>
  13. 15. Resting in God <ul><li>Leisure cannot be done as a means to something else </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Even rescuing the culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Even reaching happiness </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The celebration of God’s praises cannot be realized unless it takes place for its own sake </li></ul><ul><li>“ In leisure [we] overcome the working world of the work-day not through uttermost exertion but as in withdrawal from such exertion” (Pieper p. 60) </li></ul>
  14. 16. Wholly Leisure <ul><li>“ God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Come unto me all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ A sabbath rest still remains for the people of God. And whoever enters into God’s rest, rests from his own works as God did from his. Therefore, let us strive to enter that rest.” (Hebrews 4:9-11) </li></ul>

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