‘Leisure is a school of wisdom’

Procellous \proh-SEL-uhs\, adjective:

Stormy, as the sea.

The plan traced on our chart will lead us through oceans procellous and perilous straits, amid regions where the atmosphere is cheerless and the sun’s rays are pale, and the spring blossoms no sooner unfold their petals than they droop and languish.

— C.C.C.P. Silva, M.D., The Western Medical Reporter, Vol. 10

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Don DeLillo’s Thoughts on Daydreaming

A writer takes earnest measures to secure his solitude and then finds endless ways to squander it…. One’s personality and vision are shaped by other writers, by movies, by paintings, by music. But the work itself, you know–sentence by sentence, page by page–it’s much too intimate, much too private, to come from anywhere but deep within the writer himself. It comes out of all the time a writer wastes. We stand around, look out the window, walk down the hall, come back to the page, and, in those intervals, something subterranean is forming, a literal dream that comes out of daydreaming. It’s too deep to be attributed to clear sources. (Quoted in Michael Casey, Strangers to the City: Reflections on the Beliefs and Values of the Rule of Saint Benedict, p. 35)

Michael Casey’s Case for Leisure

There are two happy outcomes to a satisfactory resolution of the issue of leisure: mindfulness and patience. Mindfulness comes from having learned to listen to reality and not reducing it to echoes of what is happening inside ourselves. We put aside our heedless habits and begin to pay serious attention to the world outside. Today matters. This is the day the Lord has made; it is the only one that we have. From this we have also come to realize that before we act, we need to accept that there is a season for everything under the sun (Eccl. 3:1). Leisure teaches us to recognize that everything is to be done at the opportune time, as Benedict insists (31:18, 68:2). We have learned to read the signs of the times as a means of ensuring that our action is called forth by the objective needs of the situation and not by our subjective need to act. In many cases we need space and time to consider at what moment our contribution will bear the fairest fruit. In the final analysis, leisure is a school of wisdom. (Ibid, pp. 36-7)

Further Reading

Andrew Taggart, “On Smoking”

Andrew Taggart, “On Psalm 118.24 and Cosmic Gratitude”


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