Monday, February 28, 2011

Frantic Pace

Dear friends,

In my post last week "Facing Fears" I mentioned my beloved uncle, Fr. James, a monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani. When I was a young girl visiting him, I met Father Thomas Merton who was also a monk there and a famous author.

I think we can all probably relate to some aspect of Thomas Merton's statement on peace entitled "Frantic Pace."

"To allow one's self to be carried away
by a multitude of conflicting concerns,
to surrender to too many demands,
to commit oneself to too many projects,
to want to help everyone in everything
is to succumb to violence;
frenzy destroys our capacity for peace.
It destroys the fruitfulness of our work,
because it kills the root of inner work
which makes work fruitful."   Fr. Thomas Merton

That phrase "succumbing to violence" was convicting for me. Perhaps it was truth that  lifted a veil from my eyes. It changed the way I saw patterns in my own life, and made me desire to resist the "frenzy" that could easily overtake me.

I found that it wasn't just too many commitments and concerns that made me feel frantic, but also the practical need to be organized--like getting my socks or earrings matched and keeping my belongings from being scattered. So that when I am trying to get somewhere on time, for instance, I don't have to go searching for something.

Recalling that moderation is a virtue, as women of peace, we can prayerfully examine our motives, set our priorities, and stay aware of the fruit being produced in our daily lives. Is it the fruit of the Spirit as described in Gal 5:22: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? Or is it the opposite?

Somewhere in our day we need to make time for tending the inner garden of our souls-- even if for 15 minutes--to read scriptures, sit in silence, pray, that we have greater mindfulness of the Lord's presence in all the little simple things we do.

May we bear the fruit of the Spirit this week, especially peace,


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