We may ask in all seriousness whether we have the strength of mind, integrity and independence of spirit to sit down and rest occasionally, or whether we are the sort of people who must always be up and doing...Are we too always running about in an effort to run away from ourselves? Karl Rahner
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Genesis 2:2 For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
Finding larger spaces for our everyday lives
Sitting down belongs to the ordinary and everyday, picking up on our theme prior to Lent. For me the subject of sitting is becoming oddly charged with meaning, the action a strong and symbolic gesture within my day of unreflected activity. The empty chair, simple, solid, wooden, an invitation, even a challenge to value the humdrum and unremarkable in my life. Have I ‘the independent spirit to sit down’? So I’d like to spread out some lines from the theologian Karl Rahner on the subject of sitting down and ask if they resonate at all and why that might be so – is there something to note?
Don’t just do something, sit there
A person belongs somewhere...his ultimate aim is to settle down and “take root”. All his comings and goings can be regarded indeed as simply the outward expression of his inward yearning for some place where he can make a home, establish a “seat” and lead a really full life at last. Sitting down somehow suggests tranquillity, the inward joy that comes from possessing, without fear of loss, the things that endure, the things of the spirit. It also implies the absence of aimless activity. It is time that we learned that rest can be a higher form of activity. The first and most essential step is to give up thinking that futile, self-escaping activity is better and more bearable than rest and reflection.
Only in loving union with that infinite mystery whom we call God...can we find rest that is not just a short halt in our erratic journey. Karl Rahner, Everyday things
This sitting down is more than a short halt, a pause in the day. It's more like basking in belonging, doing the work of slipping deeply into your experience of your day, of your life than is held by, given by and fashioned by God.