Last weekend we hosted the Blessed Carlo Acutis Eucharistic Miracles Exhibition here in St Mungo’s. The exhibition opened with the 7pm Mass on Friday night and closed with the 7pm Mass on Sunday night. In between there was the usual schedule of Masses together with additional times of Adoration, Holy Hours and Confessions. In the bottom hall there was a video on Blessed Carlo running on a loop, and in the middle hall a beautifully constructed display taking up the whole space for people to walk around, peruse and ponder, with pamphlets, medals, relics and other holy items to take away. It was a very grace-filled time, but it was also very exhausting. I felt as if I had never stopped for a minute during the whole weekend. I arrived back home to Bishopbriggs around 9pm on Sunday night and had to pack a bag as I was travelling to Dublin on the Monday for meetings. On Monday morning I was up early to shower, shave, dress, say Morning Prayer with the Passionist Community, and then put the finishing touches to the packing. I left to celebrate the 10am Mass in St Roch’s, and then headed back to the office in St Mungo’s to catch up on some admin that had been neglected over the weekend because of the exhibition. As I was rushing out of the office to walk to Buchanan Street to take the bus to the airport, I met Father Gareth returning from a funeral, and he kindly offered to run me to the bus station, an offer I couldn’t refuse. I got to the airport, checked in, grabbed a cup of coffee, and then headed for the departure gate.
As I was sitting in the departure area, waiting for the flight to be called, I was taking a few bits and pieces out of my luggage that I would need on the plane. It was then I realised that the book I had packed to read on the flight was the wrong book. A few months ago, I was introduced to a certain author by one of our parish council members. I was quickly hooked, and have been working through the series of books in their proper order ever since. I had two of these books lying on my desk at home, but, in all my hurry, I had picked up the wrong one, and the book I had brought was not sequentially the next book in the series. I think that all of us have our little obsessions, and one of mine is that I could not possibly read a book in a series out of sequence. It would be completely beyond me. What was I to do?
It was then that I opened up my Kindle to check what I had on there, and the first book that jumped out at me made me laugh. At a recent clergy day, the keynote speaker, Father Stephen Wang, had recommended a book to us which afterwards I downloaded onto my Kindle, but, up until now, I had been too busy to read. The book was called The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer, and the theme of the book, essentially, is that hurry, or busyness, is the great enemy of the spiritual life; that most of us are just too busy to live an emotionally healthy, and spirituality vibrant life; that hurry is incompatible with the way of Jesus; that the love, joy, and peace that form the nucleus of Jesus’ kingdom are all impossible in a life of speed, hurry and busyness, and so, we must try and ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives. There are some quotes in the book, such as one from C. S. Lewis, that “if the devil can’t make you sin, he will make you busy”, and another from one of my favourite authors, and it turns out one of his too, Ronald Rolheiser, who says that “we, for every kind of reason, good or bad, are distracting ourselves into oblivion...pathological busyness, distraction, and restlessness are major blocks today within our lives.” Another quote is from the poet T.S. Eliot who said that, “people are distracted from distraction by distraction.” It seemed to me that God had guided my hand to the wrong book that morning, because he wanted me to read this one, and hopefully learn from it. So, hopefully, I will be trying to order my life a wee bit better going forward, to be a bit less frantic, to ruthlessly eliminate hurry and busyness, and hopefully enjoy a better spiritual life as a result of it.
As ever, protect yourself, your loved ones and others, and protect Christ in your lives.