A Balanced Day, Part 4
May 15, 2020 COVID-19 Faith Reflection—A Balanced Day, part 4
More often than I care to admit, I feel that my typical day is like riding a unicycle. Not that I ever have tried, but the unicycle seems to require constant motion rocking back and forth, pedaling forward and pedaling backward, all while keep one’s arms extended like a balancing pole.
Even with less social activity of late, my typical day has that busy unicycle feel. Presiding at morning Mass, keeping my holy hour, preparing a homily for this afternoon’s funeral, meeting someone for confession, visiting with staff to reschedule 1st communion, writing this reflection, walking the dog, and visiting two people in the hospital and one person at home later this afternoon, today’s docket already has that constant motion feel. I have closed my office door, my signal to the staff that “Father needs some uninterrupted time.”
All of us have to choose between so many good things that tug at our attention. We want to spend time with our families. We have a responsibility to care for elderly parents. If we have a job, we have demands at work. We know we should eat better, but fast food is fast and convenient. Regular exercise is easier said than done—a walk or bike ride once a week is not enough when thirty minutes of daily sweat is the recommended minimum—but there does not seem to be enough hours in the day.
As society has been “getting back to normal,” this series of reflections “A Balanced Day” starts with question, “What is normal?” I wrote about the importance of prayer for a balanced day (see part 1 and 2). In part 3, I suggested that habits are powerful forces for good. Those things we do without thinking, such as brushing our teeth, let us give our attention to deciding what to wear today.
Dr. Wendy Wood’s book, “Good Habits, Bad Habits,” surveys decades of research on habits. Dr. Wood has a website about her research on habits
. You can read an article about her book at
. Alcoholics Anonymous and 12-step programs are excellent ways to break addictive habits and live “normal” again. Countless books and programs make use of good research to form good habits and break bad ones.
Habits can be bad. What started out as a slip can become a full-on face-plant fall when our appetites for food, drink, and sexual pleasure become immoderate. We can become consumed by an abiding anger, a desire to get ahead and be held in high regard, or an appetite for nice things that comfort us and telegraph our value to others’ envy.
For a balanced day, good habits are good. Good time management is necessary (also known as the virtue of prudence). As I’ve reflected earlier in the week, we know that we need to make daily prayer (30 minutes minimum!) a priority in order to keep our living relationship with the Lord as our center of gravity. These all support our balance and moderation and inner harmony. Or, as St. Thomas Aquinas would say, the virtue of temperance.
“For Thomas Aquinas, temperance is the virtue that disposes us to proper balance, moderation, and due measure in realizing our desires.” My former teacher at St. Meinrad Seminary, Father Mark O’Keefe, wrote a book, “Virtues Abounding.” It examines St. Thomas Aquinas’ teaching on the four cardinal virtues of prudence, fortitude, justice, and temperance. Tomorrow, we’ll look more at the virtue of temperance, the virtue that gets us off the unicycle and leads us to a balanced day.
The official Catholic newspaper of the Diocese of Orlando is the
). (I write mini homilies for it. My next turn is the month of August.) Recently, a website called the Catholic Tribune Florida (
) has started. It steals stories from the Florida Catholic without permission, in part or in whole, especially the quotes, and uses a different byline. At times, it represents that other individuals authored the news stories although they are just reformatting the Florida Catholic’s news stories. Please know the Catholic Tribune Florida is not an organization of the Diocese of Orlando. It does not have the blessing of Bishop Noonan.
Join me Sunday after the 9:00 a.m. Mass for my Pastor Chat. Last week for my Pastor Chat we walked through the church building to find the answers to my quiz. I had a lot of fun. This Sunday, we’ll walk through the Mass. See you at the Pastor Chat after the 9:00 a.m. Sunday Mass.
Returning to Church
Nativity Longwood .
on Friday, May 15 at 2:02PM