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abalanceThe beginning of a new week is always a good time to take a breath and see what lies ahead. That task presupposes a look at the calendar to be sure we have noted all the “goings-on” and the preparation necessary for each event. I’m reminded of that practice by the first line from this morning’s psalm that prays: Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart. (PS 90:12) The first clause of that sentence sounds like the necessity of knowing what day and date it is (something that escapes me sometimes lately) but the second clause adds a goal to the “numbering.” It implies good time management but also good choices about how we are spending the time that we have.

Benedictine spirituality runs on a time schedule that is based on a balanced day of activities and rest. A good exercise to illustrate this is to draw a circle and divide it into four equal quadrants entitled prayer alone, prayer together, work alone and work together – and then fill it in with everything you do by yourself and with other people. Rest/leisure is included as “work alone” and should not be ignored. It’s good, especially if one is just beginning to look for this balance, to draw two circles for the day labeled Start and End to check at the end of the day to see whether intention and fulfillment merge. I find it a good way to test procrastination tendencies as well as workaholism. And as the psalm seems to suggest, wisdom is found in the middle path.