meditation

Pensees 142-143

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Being polite to God

Ask this question: Does the salvation of the world truly depend on the letter that you are writing, the copper you are cleaning, the sentence full of wisdom that you are in the midst of pronouncing? Did the world not exist for millions of years before you said or did this or that? Will it not still live millions of years without your continuing to be a useful presence? So give it a chance now to enjoy your absence. Settle peacefully and say: ‘Whatever happens, I will not budge.’ Say to all those, visible and invisible, who come to disturb you: ‘I am very sorry; I am here, but not for you! …’ This is what we are always doing: suppose we are in conversation with someone and another person knocks on the door, you answer: ‘I am sorry, I am busy.’ If you are busy with God, you do not say: ‘I am sorry, go away.’ What logic, what common sense is there in this? It is not even a matter of contemplation, it is a matter of being polite!

Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, God and Man, p. 106

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Capacity for leisure

Leisure is not the attitude of mind of those who actively intervene, but of those who are open to everything; not of those who grab and grab hold, but of those who leave the reins loose and who are free and easy themselves — almost like a man falling asleep, for one can only fall asleep by “letting oneself go”. Sleeplessness and the incapacity for leisure are really related to one another in a special sense, and a man at leisure is not unlike a man asleep. Heraclitus the Obscure observed of men who were asleep that they too “were busy and active in the happenings of the world.” When we really let our minds rest contemplatively on a rose in bud, on a child at play, on a divine mystery, we are rested and quickened as though by a dreamless sleep. Or as the Book of Job says, “God giveth songs in he night” (Job 35:10). Moreover, it has always been a pious belief that God sends his good gifts and his blessing in sleep. And in the same way his great, imperishable intuitions visit a man in his moments of leisure. It is in these silent and receptive moments that the soul of man is sometimes visited by an awareness of what holds the world together:

                      vas die Welt
Im innersten zusammenhält

only for a moment perhaps, and the lightning vision of his intuition has to be recaptured and rediscovered in hard work.

Josef Pieper, “Leisure The Basis of Culture,” pp. 47-8