Work and Play

St. Paul says, “If any man will not work, neither let him eat” (2 Thes 3:10). Father Geiermann discusses work and its necessary counterpart, recreation.

Concerning work, he states: “A habit of industry is a disposition for work.” This habit is useful in at least three ways: it is conducive to happiness and to success, and it disposes us to live a Christian life.

“A habit of industry is conducive to happiness (1) by giving us an object in life; (2) by compelling us to take exercise, which is necessary for the preservation of health; (3) by supplying diversion for the mind; (4) by giving us profitable occupation for our time; (5) by imparting a relish to our recreation; (6) by insuring rest in our repose; (7) by keeping us from vice; (8) by disposing us to help a neighbor in need.”

“A habit of industry is likewise essential to success. It (1) teaches concentration of our energies; (2) imparts method to our procedure, and (3) insures perseverance in our efforts.”

“A habit of industry disposes us for a Christian life (1) by teaching us self-discipline; (2) by giving us the mastery over ourselves; and (3) by grounding us in natural virtue.”

Concerning recreation, Father Geiermann writes: “Recreation is relaxation after the strain and strife of duty. It is necessary to relax and renew our energies from time to time, if we are to bear the burdens that await us.” He says three things about recreation. First, he advises that “recreation should be an innocent relaxation, suited to our age and station in life.” Secondly, he cautions: “To balance the mind recreation should be taken with moderation. Over-indulgence will dissipate instead of recreating our energies, while a want of recreation will make us dull and mechanical.” Thirdly, he observes that “congenial surroundings contribute very much to our recreation.” Therefore, he surmises that “under normal circumstances the home is the best place for our recreations, though on special occasions we may take our recreation away from home without injuring home life.”

Lastly, he observes that cheerfulness, which is “the disposition of looking on the bright side of life,” has “a soothing influence on all present” and “a tendency to lighten our burdens, to sweeten our sorrows, and to give us a relish for labor, endurance, and prayer.”

Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).

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