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Monday, October 10, 2022

"More Musing, Less Amusing"

My blog partner, Susan, and I both have the same addiction. We are book-a-philes. And we demonstrate it with piles of books all over our respective houses. One of the common traits of book-o-philes is that you often find that you have purchased the same book more than once. As I get older that seems to be happening to me more often. But I don't regret it. I just have wonderful gifts to share with others. I sent my godson a copy of Peter Kwasniewski's book on the Eucharist. (Actually, I bought that extra copy on purpose.) But the other day as I was beginning Roberto de Mattei's biography of St. Pius V, I looked over at my bookcase and there another copy stared back at me. Now who would like that for Christmas?

As I said, Susan does the same thing. She sent me a copy of a repeat buy this week, Minute Meditations by J.E. Moffatt, S.J. The book offers a selection of readings from Fr. Moffatt's larger classical work. It was published in 1958 with a forward by the author.

When I see S.J. after a priest's name, I always check the source. Fr. Moffatt was born in 1894, was ordained in 1930 and died in 1969, the year my husband and I were married. His brother entered the diocesan priesthood in Spokane and his two sisters became nuns. Wow! How I would have loved to know their parents. 

At any rate, as I was reading the Forward this morning and read the words that I chose as the title for this post:

Someone has very truthfully said that today we need "more musing and less amusing" in our lives. Our age is one of ceaseless rushing from amusement to amusement. Men will not allow themselves time for reflection; they seem afraid to be alone with themselves and their own thoughts. It is a disastrous condition especially from the spiritual standpoint and, if we have the welfare of our own soul at heart, it should be the object of our serious effort to correct this destructive attitude of mind toward so important a matter. In other word, if it is not already a part of our daily schedule, we should adopt the practice of meditation.

Think about it! This was written long before Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and every other social media time killer, not to mention smartphones with instant access to games. No Candy Crush, Wordle, Pokémon GO, Mah Jong, Minesweeper, Words with Friends, etc., etc. to the nth degree. The habit of ceaseless "rushing from amusement to amusement" in 1958 was a puddle compared to the ocean of today's distractions. How much planned silence is part of your day? How much is it part of mine?

After our retreats this summer, my husband and I ditched our habit of watching old TV series. At the time we were going back and forth between reruns of Columbo and The Twilight Zone and watched at least one episode, often more, every evening. 

Neither of us have missed it. The time we wasted now turns to conversation and reading, much more fruitful pursuits. I'm also writing more letters. I like to send articles from The Epoch Times to my children and grandchildren. The paper offer a rich repertoire of art and history, and plenty of good advice, e.g., how to graduate from college debt free. I sent that to two of our high school seniors, one a hard copy, the other a digital link.

Angelus Press
Jesus often went away to a quiet place to pray. Immediately after His baptism in the Jordan, He withdrew to the desert for forty days in preparation for His public ministry. He certainly didn't need to do that, but He gave us an example of how to prepare for any big endeavor, or any little one. Be quiet and listen!

Silence and solitude are great teachers. Who ever got a great idea in the middle of playing Grand Theft Auto? On the other hand, a minute of silent reflection on God's will opens us to meet him in all His divine mystery. And, as Fr. Moffatt writes, "He who seeks God will find Him everywhere and at all times." 

We would all do well to follow the advice of a popular Christmas card: "Wise men still seek Him." Let us hurry to meet Him in the silence of meditation. Check out the book.

3 comments:

A. M. Professor said...

Glad I'm not the only one.

What do you think of a guy who, in a fit of "organization,"
gives away a book to a local thrift shop and months or years
later buys back the same book - thinking he's buying a "new" book?

Sheesh!

Patricia said...

A friend emailed the link to this to me today and I've just read it - so beautiful!

And fancy you are a Columbo fan - me, too!

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I laughed when I read your comment, Professor, because it sounds exactly like something I would do. (Actually, I may have done it and am too absent-minded to remember.)

Thanks for visiting, Patricia. I actually mentioned Columbo at the Chesterton Book Club when I did a little presentation on Chesterton and the Detection Club. I think he would have enjoyed Columbo stories where you know who-done-it and try to figure out how Columbo will prove it.