I recently read another blog post from adoration.com (a great URL and website!) discussing our societal preoccupation with our smartphones. In their defense, they are a great tool that can be extremely helpful! But the danger of becoming overly occupied with our phones is that we lose our sense of the here and now, and most importantly, the people who we are present in our lives…Easy enough to argue against, and I think we can all easily identify moments in which we’ve fallen prey to this trap.
But this got me thinking a little beyond just cell phone usage and more so on our lack of leisure time. I mean, if smartphones are supposed to make us more efficient, then we should have more time for relaxation, right?Overall, I think the root problem lies more so in our priorities and less in how much time we actually have.
But let’s begin with what leisure actually means. Leisure, as is commonly misunderstood, does not necessarily entail relaxation or spending a couple hours a week doing nothing, a.k.a. “vege-ing”. Instead, time in leisure is time spent in contemplation of greater things (i.e. those things relating to the Divine). Sounds to me that adoration fits perfectly into this leisure time (how fitting!).
Josef Pieper says that “leisure appears…in its character as an attitude of contemplative ‘celebration’, a word that, properly understood, goes to the very heart of what we mean by leisure.” Additionally, Aristotle explains leisure by saying that “a man will live thus, not to the extent that he is a man, but to the extent that a divine principle dwells within him.” [i]
Personally, I think time spend in leisure can, and possibly should be spend both alone in a quiet place AND spent in the company of others- people who you can contemplate “out loud” with. We probably all can recognize the benefits of sharing thoughts not only to help ourselves understand them, but those around us. And this is essentially what Catholic Beer Club has to offer- sharing our contemplative thoughts of the week with those who can help us grow in holiness. Sounds like a pretty sound foundation for a relationship! But in order to be a good participant, we have to spend some time in quiet contemplation.
Our society is built around social gatherings involving beer. Here in the city of St. Louis, there are far more pubs and bars and microbreweries than there are grocery stores. Sounds like we have the social aspect of leisure time down, but is it really time spent in leisure? At least in my experience, it appears that a majority of this time is not spent in line with the leisure that Josef Pieper and Aristotle speak of.
So what should we do to address this? After all, Catholic Beer Club has a mission to transform the culture and engage fully in the New Evangelization! My recommendation- spend more time in adoration.
But on a more serious note, commit yourself to take time for adoration. Find a Church that offers an adoration time you can make, or better yet, sign up for a perpetual adoration time slot! I cannot think of a better place to spend quiet, contemplative time in leisure than in front of our Creator. Then once you have had that quiet, contemplative leisure time, put your smartphone down and go to the next CBC event to share in the communal “indwelling of the divine”…paired with your favorite beer, of course.
P.S. For those interested in learning more about leisure, I highly recommend reading Josef Pieper’s Leisure: The Basis of Culture.
[i]Pieper, Josef. Leisure; the Basis of Culture. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2009.