This week's reflection is written by
V. Rev. Lewis S. Fiorelli, OSFS, Provincial.
St. Francis de Sales was a man of great balance. He knew the importance of taking time from the busyness of life just to kick back a little and relax a bit.
In one of his writings he makes that point in this way. There was once a group of travelers who were eager to get to where they were going. Perhaps they were pilgrims. In any case, one of them suggested that they pause a little from their rushing to take a little food and rest a bit before continuing on their way. Even though they thought that they would lose time by doing this, they found that they actually made greater progress and arrived in better spirits because they had paused to rest and relax along the way.
He applied that story to the spiritual life. At the beginning of one’s spiritual journey, many conclude that more is better. They multiply prayers and devotions which soon begin to take up more and more of their time, often eating into the duties of their vocational state in life. This is very unfortunate because for Francis the duties, responsibilities and expectations of one’s state in life constitute the principal arena of God’s will for each of us. Francis admires their enthusiasm but cautions that by acting in this manner they will soon burn themselves out. He wisely advises them to moderate their pace and to make progress in the spiritual life in a balanced and proportionate manner. Not more prayer, but better praying. After all, God looks first to our heart and to its desire to love him. He wants our spiritual life, that is, our relationship with him, to enhance, not diminish, the quality of our lives with others such as spouses, children, friends and colleagues.
We are now well into the summer months, a time when we take time off from work or school to relax and enjoy some down time. We then return to our everyday lives refreshed and renewed and with greater energy to do what we are called to do and to be who we are called to be. This makes good sense on both the human and the spiritual levels.
I will take that advice myself. During the coming weeks there are a number of “duties of state” such as the General Chapter in France, the reception into the Novitiate, and vacation time with family that will likely keep me from writing regular reflections. At those times, please know that you will be in my thoughts and prayers. Please keep me in yours.