The coronavirus and sitting quietly in a room alone

Blaise Pascal said, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” The great 17th-century philosopher thought that most of us, most of the time, distract ourselves from what truly matters through a series of divertissements (diversions). He was speaking from experience. Though one of the brightest men of his age and one of the pioneers of the modern physical sciences and of computer technology, Pascal frittered away a good deal of his time through gambling and other trivial pursuits. In a way, he knew, such diversions are understandable, since the great questions — Does God exist? Why am I here? Is there life after death? — are indeed overwhelming. But if we are to live in a serious and integrated way, they must be confronted — and this is why, if we want our most fundamental problems to be resolved, we must be willing to spend time in a room alone.

Cuaresma, tiempo de tentación

Tal vez el título de la presente columna resulte un tanto cuanto escandaloso. Solemos pensar en la Cuaresma como un tiempo de penitencia y conversión, no de tentación. Sin embargo, la tentación es una realidad ineludible a lo largo de este tiempo fuerte que nos conduce y prepara para la Pascua. Baste con darnos cuenta cada viernes del inusitado antojo que nos da por comer carne, justo el día en que debemos privarnos de ella.

Seeds of the Word - Lent, a season of temptation

Perhaps this column’s headline is somewhat shocking. We tend to think of Lent as a season of penance and conversion, not of temptation. Nonetheless, temptation is an unavoidable reality in this liturgical time that prepares us for Easter. Just notice how keenly you crave meat on Fridays, precisely when we should abstain from it.

Cuaresma, tiempo de conversión personal

A lo largo de los años, he notado que la multitud de la misa de Miércoles de Ceniza es casi tan grande como la de Navidad y la de Pascua. Hay algo atractivo en ser llamados a renovar nuestra relación con Dios, en la naturaleza penitencial de ese día y de esta temporada, que se trata fundamentalmente sobre la conversión.

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