Catholic at UST

Leisure: The Basis of Spring Break

Written by Garrett Ahlers ’12, Philosophy and Catholic Studies

This upcoming weekend is the spring hiatus here at the University.  I have a few friends who are heading down to Florida to spend a week on the beach.  A few others that I know are going to New York to visit a mutual friend ours who joined the Franciscans a few years ago.  Still others among my friends are heading out to do mission work in Honduras and Haiti.  And for my part, I will be on a silent retreat for a few days in the wooded hills of Wisconsin.

Four wildly different options among many for Spring Break.  And yet, there is a common theme that runs through our plans:  it is the promise of leisure.  Leisure is not exactly a word that sounds noble or even admirable.  It sounds soft and lazy.  And yet, an authentic definition of his word can give a whole new perspective on its importance.  According to Josef Pieper, leisure is the very basis of culture.  But what is leisure?  It is, in a nutshell, a retreat into reality.  It involves a person being most open and free to enter into a fullness of being that is uninhibited by what tends to become a daily hum-drum, a noisy and busied existence.  Leisure is a release from the usual demands not to escape into unreality but to return to what is most real. 

I desire leisure this break.  Man was made not for constant toil but for the Sabbath rest.  Gloria Dei vivens homo:  the glory of God is man fully alive.  It is my hope that this break will afford for my peers and I the opportunity to be refreshed in our leisure so as to continue to fight the good fight in the days ahead.

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