“There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence, and that is activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of this innate violence. To allow oneself 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 and everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.” Thomas Merton
“Overfunctioning (doing for others what they can and should do for themselves) is a manifestation of anxiety.” Peter Scazzero
“No longer will violence be heard in your land,
nor ruin or destruction within your borders,
but you will call your walls Salvation
and your gates Praise.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Do you allow yourself to be “carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, or to surrender to too many demands?” Do you “commit yourself to too many projects [or attempt] to help everyone and everything?” What does your answer say about you?
- Have you ever thought of overwork as a “form of violence?” Does that seem overstated? Why does Merton use the word “violence?”
- Does frenzy in your life kill your inner life, steal your peace, undercut your inner wisdom and make your work unfruitful? If so, what can you change?
- Have you been on the receiving end of such violence – asking for love and finding the other person, though well-intentioned, had no time for you?
You, O Eternal Trinity, are a deep sea into which, the more I enter, the more I find, and the more I find, the more I seek. O abyss, O eternal Godhead, O sea profound, what more could you give me than yourself. Catherine of Siena
For More: Confessions of a Guilty Bystander by Thomas Merton
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)