Take Time To Rest

The following is from the Life of Saint John the Evangelist. I jotted it in my journal in 1988 when I was tired and feeling guilty about taking time for rest and play (something of an ongoing problem for me). I have no clear remembrance of why I was so intense, but it really doesn’t matter. I’ve had this same issue over and over again.

Cassiodorus saith that a man had given to Saint John a partridge living, and he held it in his hand stroking and playing with it otherwhile for his recreation. And on a time a young man passed by with his fellowship and saw him play with his bird, which said to his fellows, laughing: See how the yonder old man playeth with a bird like a child. Which Saint John knew anon, by the Holy Ghost, what he had said, and called the young man to him and demanded him what he held in his hand, and he said a bow. What dost thou withal? said Saint John. And the young man said: We shoot birds and beasts therewith, to whom the apostle demanded how and in what manner. Then the young man bent his bow and held it in his hand bent, and when the apostle said no more to him he unbent his bow again. Then said the apostle to him: Why hast thou unbent thy bow? And he said: Because if it should be long bent it should be the weaker for to shoot with it. Then said the apostle, So son, it fareth by mankind and by frailty in contemplation, if it should alway be bent it should be too weak, and therefor otherwhile it is expedient to have recreation. The eagle is the bird that flyeth highest, and most clearly beholdeth the sun, and yet by necessity of nature him behoveth to descend low, right so when mankind withdraweth him a little from contemplation, he after putteth himself higher by a renewed strength, and he burneth then more fervently in heavenly things.

archery[14]Yeah, it is a bit tough to read quickly, but you get the point. Like a bow that grows weaker if it is held taut all the time, so too do our lives. Lord, give me the ability to play, to enjoy the birds, to smell the roses…

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