Monday morning. You know the feeling. After whatever weekend activities you did, it is now time to go back to your well-established work routine. Whether it be your job or your school, it is time to put aside your personal time to go back to living on someone else’s time. It is a universally bad feeling, isn’t it? Oh no, Monday is here again….
Why do so many of us feel so down on a Monday? It is probably because life is moving by so quickly, We are so busy. It seems like, with each passing year, it becomes more and more complicated to run a successful business, run a successful institution, do a good job at work, or be a good student. Even our extra-curricular activities (exhibit A – sports) demand more and more time from parents and students alike. This has a few effects on us. First, when we are overly busy, our work experience is more stressful. Second, when we are overly busy, we eat unhealthy food, subtract our exercising, sleep less, and spend more time zoned out in front of the TV or the Internet. Third, when we are overly busy, we do not tend to our relationships with friends and family. If we own property, we don’t keep it up as well as we should (we may barely spend any time in that house that we are working 2 jobs to pay for! Ironic….). Finally, we realize that we feel like we are on a fast train without a conductor. We begin to wonder where all this fast busyness is going.
Anyone who is living an engaging life will be busy with lots of things. It’s ok to be busy. But, at the heart of all of this activity, we need to be passive, humble, open, and accepting. This is probably the worst result of doing too much: we are not available to others. We, maybe unintentionally, shut ourselves off to our friends, our families, even to God, simply because we are always on the move. How do we expect to experience the meaningful things in life, such as love, when we are not available to one another? How could you possibly receive a vocational call when you don’t have the time to listen?
Pope Benedict XVI warned about what he called “violent activism”. This is the belief that a good life can result only as a product of our hard work. This is a lie. For the Christian, this is actually a heresy called Pelagianism – the belief that we can gain salvation through good, hard work. No, this is not how a Christian gains love and redemption. We gain love and redemption, and all that really matters, through the gift of God. Christ has died, and Christ has risen. He will come again! He is with us now, through the life of the Catholic Church, and through the Holy Spirit that is given to believers. God really doesn’t need us to do anything to shower us with His gifts. Nothing. He just needs our choice to have faith, and follow God’s commandments of love of neighbor.
It is extremely sad to see anyone work themselves silly, especially a faithful Christian. Do we need to work hard in life, both to build the Church and provide for our families and businesses? Absolutely! I am not naive about that. But, as is so often the case, when the work load becomes so great that we are unavailable to receive the gift of the sweet Presence of God’s love, we have gone too far. Work is made for man and woman, man and woman are not made for work. Our culture fails to understand this. It is a shame when we as Christians fail to understand this. Perhaps the greatest way to bring the New Evangelization to people is not to add more outreach, but to take a walk in the rain, take a look at the stars, read a book, watch a good movie, take a jog, or sit in prayer in front of the Tabernacle in Church. What a crazy idea! What a liberating message to give to a weary world. There would be a lot of takers for that message.
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ These things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness,* and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil. &l Matthew 6:31-34.