Idleness & Misery
Idleness plagues our world. Bad attitudes about going through the motions of work and prayer only make things worse. We tend to believe we should always feel a sense of affirmation from our daily activities. This holds true for our professional as well as spiritual lives. Consequently, we let listlessness drag us from one unfinished project to another, thus enslaving ourselves to an endless cycle of frustration.
Frustration breeds procrastination and inactivity. Then, our resulting idleness ushers in self-doubt, loneliness, forgetfulness of the needs of others, and distraction. In short, we begin to feel sorry for ourselves.
We must understand that initial enthusiasm always fades. Not all work feels good. Not all prayer feels good.
St. Benedict’s advice? Make peace with going through the motions.
Sustaining Motions of Work & Prayer
“Idleness is the enemy of the soul; and therefore the brethren ought to be employed in manual labor at certain times, at others, in devout reading.” ―
Ritual and structured work and prayer can help us preserve our sanity and keep our lives on the right course. Work feeds prayer by presenting people and circumstances for us to pray about. Prayer feeds work by opening our hearts to the energy and motivation only God provides. The key to conquering dryness in any area of life is to dedicate yourself to work and prayer, seeking the springs of the water of life in the desert of routine.
Wait for the Lord. Wait for meaning and purpose to come. He will come when the time is right.
Truly, the Lord is waiting to be gracious to you,
truly, he shall rise to show you mercy;
For the Lord is a God of justice:
happy are all who wait for him (Isaiah 30:18, NABRE)!