In a Rush
If we stop a moment and listen to the rhythm of life that ﬂows within us, perceived especially by the beating of the heart, we will realize that it is slow, calm and harmonious; unless we have forced it to fasten by a lifestyle which makes us rush.
Our paper, the Echo, is sent to many parts of the world, and I hope there are still parts of the world where the folk are not “forced” to live the anxiety of the “developed world” who are caught up in a mechanism of production that threatens them not to stop.
So, for those of us who wake up with the mind already crowded with things to do, and go to sleep with the worry of having “done it all”, what I suggest is that we start asking ourselves: “Have I done well the things that matter the most? Did I do them in a way that has enabled me to remain at peace?”
We run to guarantee our serenity, often constructing it artificially, however, this blinds us, so that we often miss the chance to enjoy life and all it offers. We have the habit of carrying out our duties mechanically, often leaving us unsatisfied as if we have concluded very little. Perhaps, then, we need to learn to stop and reﬂect to see if and how we need to change.
One way of helping us do this is to observe Mary. Of course, her times weren’t like ours. Palestine 2000 years ago was not measured by the speedometers of vehicles; maybe the only noise on the roads of then was the sound of hooves making their way along a dirt road. So we don’t pretend to confront our lives with hers; we rather want to look at how she lived.
Also the Blessed Virgin, says St. Luke, “went with haste” to the house of Elisabeth (cf. Lk 1:39). Her concern, however, was of a different nature. It meant this: an inner solicitation to follow the will of God; ready to leave one’s own things to visit another; disposed to renounce the joy of solitary contemplation of her pregnancy to share it with her far-away cousin. Mary went with haste to a city of Judah, but once there she most certainly continued to carry out her daily tasks immersed in the God she was bearing, with simple gestures that took on a regal air because they were done with care, attention and dedication; without dispersion of energy.
If we give the best of ourselves and think about what we are doing, even whilst doing banal things such as going up and down stairs, we will see, with marvel, how things are created with perfection and harmony, such as our own body, or even the beauty of human inventions. Take, for example, the roundabouts introduced in recent years in Italy to replace intersections with or without lights. How marvellously they work! Praise God for man’s genius, which can turn even the most basic objects into useful things for our purpose and comfort: blankets, for instance, to protect us as we sleep, or running water, even just water! And in us will be born a constant feeling of gratitude that dilates the heart, and quietens our breathing. And this will give us peace.
But if we don’t manage to do everything we were supposed to do? There is a trick: entrust everything to God at the beginning of the day; our projects, chores and duties… He will help us to comprehend the essential, and the Holy Spirit will help us see what is urgent and what is useless, giving us the wisdom to face everything and strength to fulfil it all. We will stop being so nervous and in our hearts instead of anxiety there will be joy.
Dust if You Must
Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better, to paint a picture or write a letter,Bake a cake or plant a seed,Ponder the difference between want and need?
Dust if you must, But there’s not much time,With rivers to swim and mountains to climb,Music to hear and books to read,Friends to cherish and life to lead.
Dust if you must,But the world’s out there, with the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,A ﬂutter of snow, a shower of rain.This day will not come ‘round again.
Dust if you must, but bear in mind, Old age will come - it’s not always kind. And when you go; and go you must, You, yourself, will be more dust.