Pray. Study. Rest. These are three very important things, things that are meant to be part of each person’s life. True, for many people it is not easy, and sometimes not possible, to make time each day for all of these, especially given the busyness of life. We have many things to do, demands from work, activities, family and friends. For us, on days like today, when we have a few hours of time spent in the classroom, the study part seems easier. I went to class. But there’s more to it than that. Study doesn’t mean just showing up, it means actively seeking the truth. It means an honest desire to find the truth and an open heart to receive it and be changed by it.
Rest. “My heart is restless until it rests in You.” Saint Augustine wrote this famous line, and his words written so long ago still resonate today. Our hearts are restless; we bounce from one thing to the next to the next. But where, with whom, do they rest secure, rest in the absolute certainty of being loved and cherished by the other? This is why we, especially us Americans, must learn to rest, learn to do nothing and just be.
But study and rest are by no means the end of the story. In fact, taken outside their proper context, when taken too far, they can become something which leads not to God but close us in on ourselves. That is why pray is the first task listed. That’s the one that is most important, that’s the one that keeps us rooted firmly in God. Most people are capable of serious study, and equally capable of working hard at our jobs. But are we intentionally and consciously making sure that spending time with Jesus is right at the top of our priority list? This is not easy. As a seminarian, we are asked to do many things, asked to juggle many things. We are currently staring down the barrel of a few exams and deadlines for papers quickly approaching. This makes the study part seem pretty important right about now. But we cannot let our work, our study, become an end in itself, it just is not meant for its own sake. The challenge is to remember, and more than just to remember, but to make real in our daily lives the fact that all of our study and work and rest are directed toward being with Jesus. Our lives must be directed toward remaining with Him as He remains with us.