Monday, May 21, 2012

Busyness

I HAVEN’T BEEN posting much lately, because I’ve been busy working on my next photo books; no sooner did I finish working on St. Louis Parks, then I’m working on new projects. (Be sure to order your copy of the parks book by clicking here.) I always try to stay busy!

One thing I’ve learned from Holy Mother Church is the destructiveness of boredom: as any other mother can tell you, bored children start doing mischief, but bored adults even more so. And so I’ve tried to avoid it. The easiest way to avoid boredom is to stay busy.

HOWEVER, many of the terrible heresies which plague our world today were started by people who were always busy.  Even in the otherwise pious Middle Ages, many merchants saw the requirements of the Faith as something that took away from profit, and they eventually turned religion into something that you only do on Sunday mornings at best. Likewise, dissident theologians were busy with their studies, but they turned religion into a dead letter, for these spent more time reading than they spent in the chapel and in serving others, because they thought that studying was “more important.” Heresy is not promulgated by lazy, bored people, but rather by busy people.

Herein lies the problem: if you are always too busy to have an active prayer life, and a life devoid of loving other people, then you could be drawn away from God and your fellow man. A busy person is not bored, but a bored lazy person falls into the same trap of thinking that their time is their own, which seems to be near the root of the problem.

As it turns out, both boredom and the habit of doing ‘busy work’ fall under the capital sin of sloth, or acedia. Sloth is the avoidance of what needs to be done to obtain the ultimate good, and it is a vice against charity. If sloth is persistent, it can lead to depression and despair. We see this with people who do nothing at all, and in those who engage in pointless busyness.

1 comment:

  1. "the same trap of thinking that their time is their own, which seems to be near the root of the problem."

    C.S. Lewis stated the same idea eloquently in The Screwtape Letters:

    "He (Wormwood's 'patient') is not yet so uncharitable or slothful that these small demands on his courtesy are in themselves too much for it. They anger him because he regards his time as his own and feels that it is being stolen. You must therefore zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption 'My time is my own.' Let him feel that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours. Let him feel as a grievious tax that portion which he has to make over to his employers, and as a generous donation that further portion which he allows to religious duties. But what he must never be permitted to doubt is that the total from which these deductions have been made is, in some mysterious sense, his personal birthright."

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