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By Kristina Beer, Franciscan University of Steubenville
People often consider life “hectic,” “busy,” “chaotic,” or “stressful,” but very rarely, “full” or “abundant.” In a fast-paced, results-focused world, though legitimate responsibilities exist, other things (perhaps from the pits of Hell) often distract us and steal precious time. A constant orientation towards productivity often takes a major toll on our mental, physical, and spiritual health, inhibiting our ability to love well where we are called to . Getting caught in the whirlwind, we forget basic needs (ie., eating, sleeping, praying) and make excuses to procrastinate. Yet, God has a far more exuberant plan for our lives than just surviving!
“The thief comes to steal, slaughter, and destroy, but I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (Jn 10:10). With Christ, we should be thriving—even if discipline demands perseverance at times—because the Lord encourages reasonable rest: “He restores my soul” (Psalm 23:3). Oftentimes, we dread our daily duties simply because we never give ourselves a break. The concept of “Saintly Timeliness” resolves thisin a two-fold way: work hard when necessary; rest hard when necessary.
Prov 5:23 says it straight, “[Man] dies for lack of discipline.” We need self-discipline to complete duties we are supposed to, so we can rest when we need to. Saying “No” is an art, but so is saying “Yes.” In everything, disciplined souls actively seek the Lord and His purpose, instead of blindly gliding along. Doing what needs to get done is saintly, especially when it’s undesirable in the moment. Average college students struggle to combat our consumerist culture, but virtuous students pursue excellence. Some of us have been raised in self-made, hardworking families with exquisite morals, but media, laziness, and comfort enormously affect everyone.
God calls us to rest, not laziness. Procrastination creates a neverending cycle not conducive to true rest. Procrastinators neglect responsibilities. Procrastinators settle into mediocrity. Procrastinators avoid their cross. They try to have fun while having the weight of responsibility still over our heads, they absolutely scramble to just “get it done,” and then they have to recover because they shirked basic needs amidst the chaos. Saints don’t delay; they continually do the next right thing. Rest refreshes the body and soul in simple and profound ways, for grace builds upon nature.
Each moment is a priceless gift from God, and we express our gratitude by using it well. Procrastination wastes the gift of time. In Mary’s Mantle, Christine Watkins addresses procrastination and false humility: “If we are able to do well the work He is calling us to, then He expects us to do it well.” Good fathers have realistic expectations and call us higher. We don’t have to earn God’s love, but we are called to be like Him: “perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). Sainthood isn’t self-focused perfectionism but a response of love. Those centered on growing in virtue necessarily rely entirely on God to strengthen them. Saints know that time is love.
The following situations too commonly occur: not finishing an assignment, then having a mental breakdown… not exercising or eating proper meals there’s too much to do… not praying because of other more pressing responsibilities….