I love activity. I enjoy being busy and having a purpose, an aim, a target, and a reason for moving about in my corner of the world. I also love sinking into my bed at night and falling asleep knowing that after such a day of activity, I have given my all.
Throughout the years I have found that it is often during the Christmas and Easter seasons, when I am away from work and after the busyness of participating in the liturgy at Mass, that I truly have the time to wind back, be still, and think deeply about things.
When contributing to this blog I am always mindful to:
- relate what I write about back to God, Jesus, and His teachings
- pay careful attention to how these words can be of assistance and nourishment to you, our readers, in practical and easily understandable ways and
- remember and incorporate the Daughters of Divine Zeal’s charism and dedication to vocations in accordance with St Annibale’s call to “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send workers into his harvest” (Mt 9:37 – 38 and Lk 10:2).
We want to send workers – ourselves and you, lay people and religious together – out into the world armed with a joyful spirit and heart by reaching out to you with our words. But, speaking for myself, often it is only when I take the time to be still or am at rest in that half-awake/half-asleep state just before retiring at night or at the break of dawn, or when praying meditatively, that ideas and topics will come. It also happens, funnily enough, when I am waiting in line or for public transport. The point is that when I am still, things happen. Ideas float and can sometimes be fleeting, like a butterfly landing on a precious flower.
The blank page before me is an opportunity to create something out of nothing, to try and send a ripple out into the world that will hopefully reach you, and bring you closer to God. Stillness is every writer’s companion in that tiny moment of time before the seed of an idea is formed in the mind, then written down and shared. It is God’s magic message and we just happen to catch it.
We need to be still to be co-creators with God. This is not only true for writers, musicians, and other creatives, but for all of us in whatever work and activity we do. I believe that we all have mini-vocations in life, such as being a daughter, son, mother, father, employee, friend, carer and so on, as well as our larger vocation and calling as children of God. In order to fulfil these smaller vocations I like to think that we need to take mini-vacations in life – times of stillness to reflect and recharge right where we are.
There is power in stopping and being still. When was the last time you sat and looked at a flower for instance, or at butterflies dancing together in the sky, or really paid attention to breathing deeply? Doing nothing can bring us closer to God. Part of me winces when writing that, because I have been raised in a society which lauds being on the go and active all the time, even when we are on a break. We usually catch this tendency when at school in striving, achieving, and chasing our dreams – nothing wrong with that, but teaching children to be still and speak with God is important too. I know that when I return to work after my annual leave, for example, my colleagues will ask: ‘Did you go away?’ or ‘Did you go on holiday?’ or ‘What did you do?’
How in the world can God get through to us if we are frenetically tied up all the time? That ‘still, small voice’ (1 Kings 19:12) has to compete with social media, television, 24-hour news channels, internal mind-chatter, and so on. Switch. It. Off.
Can I be honest with you? Some days I think the world is totally nuts. And then I go into the garden or just focus on breathing deeply somewhere quiet and, ever so slowly, life does not seem so crazy anymore. Melancholy melts away. I am not ashamed to admit that stillness often saves my sanity. I have especially found that meditating during prayer, interspersed with silent moments, works well for me.
Christian meditation is particularly worth looking into. Some may be wary about delving into the world of meditation as they may perceive it to be cultish, or new age, or lead to occult activities. However, below are only a few of the readily available resources about Christian and Catholic meditation which describe how it is not only beneficial to your mind, body, and soul, but highly recommended in developing your relationship with, and connection to, God:
- How to Meditate Like a Catholic
- What Works: Meditation
- What Works: Why to meditate – A closer look at the benefits of meditation for Christians
- Expanding your spirit and life with meditation
- The Art of Living Well – Father Ian VanHeusen
- The Guided Life – Jackie Trottmann
Take the time to stop.
Turn to God.
It might just save your soul and your life.
Do you have two minutes right now?