Breaking the circuit
Editorial - Autumn 2017
Frank Freeman SDB, Editor of the Salesian Bulletin
The day-to-day business of making a living, and the fulfilment of our duties, make great demands on our energies. Immersed in a busy round of responsibilities, people and situations challenge us continually. It is not easy to find time to reflect on things outside our everyday matters. After a long tiring day on the farm or at the office, at school or in the home, most of us like to put our feet up, sit back and look at a television screen. Yet, if this becomes an unvarying routine, we could be missing out on some of the best things in life.
Thinking itself can become relaxing, so long as it is concerned with things far removed from those which have required our attention during the day. Some of the most fascinating adventures lie in the territory of the mind. Thought enables us to break through into unfamiliar worlds and gives a new interest to life. How do we start such a journey? A good book, especially one which lifts the spirit and removes us from the monotonous round in which we might have slowly entrenched ourselves.
How long has it been since we have opened up a book dealing with some spiritual topic, allowing us to see deeper meaning in our life? Oh, so many of our minds today suffer from spiritual malnutrition! A few minutes' spiritual reading each day will certainly kick-start the mind into activity. Then quiet, reflective music can have the same effect. A person told me recently that a time is set apart each day for him to get his daily fix of restful music. Somehow music has the power “to rinse the ear and mind” if in our day we but "sit and let the sounds of music creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night become the touches of sweet harmony". [Shakespeare]
A pleasant walk can set the mind working, especially in the evening when nature seems to give to all things a certain gentleness. "Now is the healing: quiet hours which fill this grey green world with peace and grateful rest". [C. J. Dennis] By taking time out to think we broaden our interests, enlarge our range of vision and become bigger and better human beings. We thus become better equipped to deal with the difficulties of our business or occupation or with the problems that life can throw in our path.
To think for oneself is an essential part of the process of self-development. We help to liberate ourselves from the prison of prejudice and drudgery of secondhand ideas. One thought leads to another, and, once the mind has become stimulated, it is amazing what it will do. Thought is a very powerful instrument which can transform our attitudes and bring into focus new entrancing vistas of whose existence we were totally unaware.
The season of Lent is with us, signalling that it is time for some spiritual renewal by increased prayer, the strengthening of our will by self-denial, and increased interest and assistance to the poor. And all this for us to be better prepared for our celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. Let us honour this holy time by breaking the circuit, taking time out to reflect. Our lives and those of our loved ones will be the richer for it.