Too Much Haste!

One day as they all sat around the table, the Rabbi asked of his disciples, “Where does God live?” The disciples were surprised at their master because the answer was so evident; everyone knows that God is everywhere! But they knew the Rabbi had some kind of a puzzling answer and so nobody said anything. And sure enough, the Rabbi seemed to be talking to himself as he mumbled, “Where does God live? God lives wherever we let Him enter.”

We live in a mad world. We keep running around and around in circles. We do not seem to know how to stop this absurd race against time. Everyone is busy, everyone grumbles that they do not have enough time to do anything… Work, school, jogging, workshops, housework, television, church, homework, laundry, cooking, kids, meetings… Burnt out!

I was watching recently this group of scientists talking on television about their experience on an expedition in the forests of the Amazon. They took a group of natives with them to carry their luggage – clothes, food, water, scientific equipment. For the first week, all went well. They were moving quickly and were happy that their plans were running on schedule. Suddenly, however, the natives put down the loads they were carrying on their heads, sat down, and would not move.

The scientists could not understand this behavior. They natives refused to speak. They tried to reason things out, they offered them more money, they threatened them, they even tried to move them forcibly. All was in vain. The natives remained seated and silent. Two days later, however, without a cue, they got up, lifted their loads, and began the journey again as if nothing had happened!

When the expedition was over, these scientists asked the natives the reason for their strange behavior. Their answer was simple and forthright, “We were hurrying too much. So much…. that our spirits could not reach us! So we stopped so that our spirits could catch up with us!” They were right, no?

The Desert Fathers love quietness. Abba Poemen, the Shepherd said, “If you are silent, you will possess peace wherever you live.” A brother in Scetis went to ask for a word from Abba Moses and the old man said to him, “Go and sit in your cell and your cell will teach you everything.” Abba Nilus said, “The arrows of the enemy cannot touch one who loves quietness; but he who moves about in a crowd will often be wounded.”

Theophilus, bishop of Alexandria, journeyed to Scetis and the brethren coming together said to Abba Pambo, “Say a word or two to the Bishop, that his soul may be edified in this place.” The old man replied, “If he is not edified by my silence, there is no way that he will be edified by my words.”

May I offer a suggestion? Today as you are returning from work, stop by a quiet Church and spend ten minutes kneeling or sitting in front of Jesus present in the Eucharist. No need to say much. Just look at Him. Or else, go outside, find a quiet place in the open countryside or by the sea, and spend some minutes looking up at the heavens…. Just smile at Him.


(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.