Friday, December 14, 2012

The Danger of Balancing Acts

I just finished my final exam and am finished with graduate school for the Fall 2012 semester! Deo Gratias!
Now I can concentrate on my writing for my employer - until I leave that job next week. The whirlwind continues, with insane amounts of travel during the holiday season.
And then the tornado of activity slows to a crawl - in January, I will be able to study full time for one whole semester, without distraction. And I am very, very glad for this opportunity to focus on my studies.
This may sound like a venting post - and it is one. I don't like being stretched in all directions like Gumby by my worldly cares. No one does. Though it may be necessary, trying to serve two masters is never easy, and always spiritually dangerous. To be a true Christian, one must be willing to give his all in all things - and multitasking hinders one's ability to do so by encouraging distraction.
This past year and a half has taught me the spiritual perils of multitasking, even for good and noble purposes. I could not complete my job and my studies to the best of my ability, to my everlasting shame. Both goods that I pursued conflicted with one another, distracting me from full devotion to my assigned tasks.
Distraction is a constant danger in the spiritual life. There are the constant temptations to distraction during prayer, which are unavoidable. But we tend to surround ourselves with distractions - TV, video games, Internet, technology. We try to have it all and do it all - and we bury ourselves under a web of cares.
As Christians, we should attempt to eliminate distractions from our lives to the best of our ability, including good things. Spiritual distractions should especially be avoided.
The appeal of the contemplative and religious life for one seeking to love God better is obvious. Such a life is comparatively free from the distractions of day-to-day living. As St. Paul eloquently stated in First Corinthians: "The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his thoughts are divided." (1 Cor 7:32-33)
It has proven very difficult for me to serve two masters on earth. How much more difficult for the Catholic to attend to earthly and spiritual cares simultaneously!

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