Godtalk: Make haste slowly


Make haste slowly by Peter Knott SJ

Haste is our enemy. It puts us under stress,  makes us impatient, renders us more vulnerable to accidents and, most seriously of all, blinds us to the needs of others.

There may be occasions when we need to move fast, but haste is normally not a virtue, irrespective of the goodness of the thing towards which we are hurrying. Hence the phrase festina lente, make haste slowly.

Because of time pressures we tend not to see a given situation as a moral one.  In essence, the more in a hurry we are, the less likely we are to stop and help someone else in need. Haste and hurry, perhaps more than anything else, prevent us from being good Samaritans.

Our struggle to give proper time to family, prayer, and helping others has mainly to do with time. We're invariably too busy, too pressured, too hurried,
too driven, to stop and help. One writer confesses that when she comes to die what she will regret most about her life is not the times she broke a command-ment, but the many times she stepped over her own children on her way to her den to write.

The classical spiritual writers warn about the dangers of overwork.  Indeed, the dangers of haste and hurry are already written into the very first page of scripture where God invites us to make sure to keep proper Sabbath. When we are in a hurry we see little beyond our own agenda.

Haste and hurry can help make for a productive individual who is affirmed and admired for what he does, but prevent us much of the time from being a Good Samaritan.

Haste makes waste, so goes the saying. It also makes for a spiritual blindness that can severely limit our compassion.

Peter Knott SJ