Daily Riches: The Neglected Cultivation of Sacred Idleness (Thomas Merton, George MacDonald)

“Our being is not to be enriched merely by activity and experience as such. Everything depends on the quality of our acts and our experiences. A multitude of badly performed actions and of experiences only half lived exhausts and depletes our being. …when our activity is habitually disordered, our malformed conscience can think of nothing better to tell us than to multiply the quantity of our acts, without perfecting their quality. And so we go from bad to worse, exhausting ourselves, empty our whole life of all content, and fall into despair. There are times, then, when in order to keep ourselves in existence at all we simply have to sit back for a while and do nothing. And for a man who has let himself be drawn completely out of himself by his activity, nothing is more difficult than to sit still and rest, doing nothing at all. The very act of resting is the hardest and most courageous act he can perform; and often it is quite beyond his power.” Thomas Merton

“Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness, the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected.” George MacDonald

“my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus, in Matthew 11:30

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is your life ever depleted by “disordered” activity – by a multitude of “badly performed actions?”
  • Are you ever “drawn completely out of yourself” by such excessive activity?
  • When your experience comes up short, is your response to simply “multiply the quantity” of your acts?
  • Are you able to recollect yourself by cultivating “sacred idleness?” …doing nothing at all? Can you see why this could be “the hardest and most courageous act” you could do when frenzy brings despair?

Abba, deliver me from experience only half lived. Help me do less and do it more deliberately, slowly, and fully.

For More: No Man Is An Island by Thomas Merton

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Confusing Our Will With God’s Will (Pete Scazzero and Ignatius of Loyola)

“By indifference, [Ignatius of Loyola] does not mean apathy or disinterest. He simply means we must become indifferent to anything but the will of God. Ignatius taught that the degree to which we are open to any outcome or answer from God is the degree to which we are ready to really hear what God has to say. If we are clutching or overly attached to one outcome versus another, we won’t hear God clearly. Our spiritual ears will be deafened by the racket of our disordered loves, fears, and attachments. In such a state, it is almost a forgone conclusion that we will confuse our will with God’s will. Ignatius considered this state of indifference to be spiritual freedom. We place our lives in God’s hands and trust him for the outcome. Arriving at this place of interior indifference and trusting that God’s will is good – no matter the outcome – is no small task. We are attached to all kinds of secondary things – titles, positions, honors, places, persons, and security, and the opinions of others. When these attachments are excessive, they become disordered attachments, or disordered loves, that push God out of the center of our lives. …Jesus teaches us that indifference, the key to true obedience, must be learned, struggled for, and prayed for. We see this in Gethsemane as he prayed three times. …If it took falling with his face to the ground and great struggle for the Son of God to submit himself to the will of the Father, how can we expect that it will require any less of us?” Pete Scazzero

“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth,
he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears…
Son though he was, he learned obedience
from what he suffered.”
Hebrews 5:7-8

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you attempting to learn “indifference?” … to be “open to any outcome from God?” How exactly?
  • Are you aware of the deafening racket created by your “disordered loves, fears, and attachments?”
  • What are some “attachments” in your life that hinder hearing “what God has to say?”

Father, I am indifferent to every outcome except your will. I want nothing more or less than your desire…. (Scazzero)

For More: The Emotionally Healthy Leader by Pete Scazzero

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”