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Meaning of Idleness

“Why do you stand here idle all day?” (Matthew 20:6)

The word ‘idle’ has new meaning to me in the midst of a week serving in Lourdes, France. For those of you who do not know, Lourdes is where Saint Bernadette was graced by the presence of the Mary, the Immaculate Conception, in 1858. It is one of seventeen approved Marian apparition sites in the world.

Serving at Lourdes is both laborious and idle. At one moment you can be aiding a woman in the healing waters at the piscine, and the next moment you can be standing in the grotto for three hours helping pilgrims maintain silence in a sacred space. It is the idle standing that hurts your feet, back, and pride.

In today’s culture, we are rarely idle. In fact, most of us don’t stop till we hit the pillow. We are so used to serving in a way that feels fulfilling, has purpose, and provides accolades for our work and achievements. However, when we are given a task so minor and seemingly meaningless, our pride can become wounded if not destroyed.

We compare the roles or projects we are given at work, school, or in our families to those that others receive, and we want our assignments to be the best.

When the landowner in today’s Gospel asked, “Why do you stand here idle all day?” I had to reflect on two questions:

Where am I idle in my spiritual life? Where is God calling me to be idle so I might grow in relationship with Him?

There will come a day when we will be idle because our bodies have grown weak and frail. I have seen that firsthand this week in Lourdes. God calls us to be His hands and feet daily. Do not wait till the last hour of work to respond to His call.

God calls us to be His hands and feet daily. // @SoCalTriciaT Click To Tweet

The devout and simple Saint Bernadette has so much to teach us! Read more about her life today.

Tricia Tembreull is a California girl with a boundless passion for life. After two decades of ministering to teens and youth ministers as a trainer, ministry mentor, and speaker in Catholic youth ministry, Tricia now serves as Campus Minister at USC Caruso Catholic Center. She loves adventure and seeks it everywhere she goes. As an avid foodie, she enjoys testing new recipes out on friends and family, gathering them around the table to encounter Christ in one another and be drawn to the satisfying unity we crave in the Eucharist. You can find out more about her here

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