Saturday, November 21, 2009

Leisure: Intense Activity of a Different Kind

The discussion on Leisure: THe Basis of Culture is still going on. My brain seems unable at present to handle Pieper but I have been collecting little quotes on leisure as I go through various books. I found this in an old book by Fulton Sheen called The Way to Happiness:

"Never before have men possessed so many timesaving devices. Never before have they had so little time for leisure or repose. Yet few of them are aware of this; advertising has created in modern minds the false notion that leisure and not-working are the same -- that the more we are surrounded by bolts and wheels, switches and gadgets, the more time we have conquered for our own.

But this division of our days into working and not-working is too simple; in practice, for most men, it leaves out the very possibility of real leisure. They waste precious hours away from work in aimless loafing, in negative waiting-around for something interesting to come along.

True repose is not a mere intermission between the acts of the working-life. It is an intense activity, but of a different kind. Just as sleeping is not a cessation of life, but living of a different sort from wakefulness, so repose is an activity no less creative than that of our working hours.

Repose-- true leisure -- cannot be enjoyed without some recognition of the spiritual world. For the first purpose of repose is the contemplation of the good....its goal is a true perspective one, the small incidents of everyday life in their relation to the larger goodness that surrounds us. Genesis tells us that after the creation of the world, "God saw all that he had made, and found it very good." Such contemplation of his work is natural to man, whenever he, too, is engaged in a creative task. The painter stands back from his canvas, to see whether the details of the seascape are properly placed. True repose is such a standing back to survey the activities that fill our days...."

Repose allows us to contemplate the little things we do in their relationship to the vast things which alone can give them worth and meaning. It reminds us that all actions get their worth from God: "worship" means admitting "worth". .... such worthsip is a form of repose -- of an intensely active and creative contemplation of Divine things, from which we arise refreshed. For the promise of the Gospel of St Matthew is still waiting for those who are willing to hear it: "Com to me, all you that labor and are burdened; I will give you rest."

1 comment:

  1. Would you be interested in a copy of On the Unseriousness of Human Affairs? Its been on my list for some time, but I haven't actually read it myself. However, Fr. Schall is engaging and likely a bit easier for a busy mom to pick up and digest than Pieper himself. I'm pretty sure I could send you one, just let me know:)


I would love to hear your thoughts on this!