20140303 ‘Quality over quantity’ 「重質不重量」

Diligence is a virtue; there are four major hindrances to performing our actions well.
The first hindrance is that while we are doing one thing, we are thinking of something else which we have to do or which we have done, so that our occupations interfere with one another, and none is well performed. The second hindrance is haste. The third is anxiety. The fourth is a desire to do too much.

Stay focused
The way to perform our actions well is to attend solely to the one at hand without thinking of others.
Sister Maria Crucifixa, the sacristan, cook, and refectorian in her convent, sometimes also had charge of the door and of the medicine room. She did everything well and still found time for contemplation.
Her method was that when she was in the sacristy, she said to herself, “Now be nothing but a sacristan”; and when she came out of the sacristy, she would say, “Now do not be a sacristan any longer.” She did the same with the rest of her charges.

Go slowly
St. Francis de Sales, St. Philip Neri, and St. Vincent de Paul accomplished so much in their lives, and yet they did nothing in haste. St. Francis de Sales said, “Let us go slowly, for if we do but keep advancing we shall thus go far.”
St. Philip Neri said, “You need not try to do everything in a day, or become a saint in a month. Prudence does not advise it.” St. Vincent de Paul said, “The works of God are performed, for the most part, little by little.”

Work peacefully
St. Francis de Sales devoted a chapter in his work Introduction to the Devout Life (Pt. 3, Ch. X) to a warning about over-anxiety in our works.
“The bumble bee makes far more noise and is more bustling than the honey bee, but it makes wax only and no honey; just so those who are restless and eager, or full of noisy solicitude, never do much or well. Flies harass us less by what they do than by reason of their multitude, and so great matters give us less disturbance than a multitude of small affairs.
“Accept the duties which come upon you quietly, and try to fulfill them methodically, one after another. If you attempt to do everything at once, or with confusion, you will only cumber yourself with your own exertions, and by dint of perplexing your mind you will probably be overwhelmed and accomplish nothing.”
The saint suggested: “When your ordinary work or business is not specially engrossing, let your heart be fixed more on God than on it; and if the work be such as to require your undivided attention, then pause from time to time and look to God, even as navigators make for the haven they would attain by looking up at the heavens rather than down upon the deeps on which they sail.
“So doing, God will work with you, in you, and for you, and your work will be blessed.”

Little, but well
St. Francis de Sales opposed the desire to do too much. According to Bishop Jean Pierre Camus, the saint taught: spiritual progress depends less on doing much than upon the spirit of love which prompts what is done; one good work done out of love is more worthy in God’s eye than many done out of indifference; the worth of any good work depends largely upon the purity of intention with which it is done.
St. Francis de Sales always encouraged people to undertake less, but to perform what they did undertake so as to attain the greatest possible perfection.

「勤奮」雖然是一種美德,但有四種障礙,使它不能好好發揮:一心二用、操之過急、庸人自擾、慌忙多功。

 

保持專注

 

工作時一心兩用,記掛著另一項已完成或未完成的工作;在專注力分散的情況下,結果是兩項工作沒有盡善盡美。

 

我們要專心一意處理正在手頭的工作。苦架.瑪利亞修女,她既是祭衣房管房員,又是修院廚房及餐房的主理,有時要接手藥物房和看守大門,她不獨辦得每事妥當,且仍有默禱的私人時間。她的要訣是專注:在祭衣房時,她常提醒自己現在只是管房員,離開時便告訴自己「我現在不是管房員」;在到達其它工作崗位後,她繼續用這自我提醒的方法,讓自己好能專心做好當時的本份。

 

不急不忙

 

聖方濟.沙雷、聖斐利.乃立及聖文生.德保,他們每天都要處理無數的事情,但他們總是不慌不忙,氣貫長虹。聖方濟.沙雷認為「按步就班,循序漸進,會在不自覺中邁進」。聖斐利.乃立告誡我們:「不需強迫自己在一天內,必定要完成所有工作,或要在一個月內成聖。智德不會同意這一點。」聖文生.德保說:「天主的工作大部份是逐一些、逐一項地完成的」

 

安靜地工作

 

在他「熱心引」一書內,聖方濟.沙雷用了一整章,表明反對工作時,操之過急。他寫道:「嗡嗡擾耳的奴蜂,牠們忙得團團轉,只製做出蜜蠟,並非甜美的蜂蜜。同樣,焦慮急燥的人,只睹其行或只聞其聲,卻不見其效,甚至不見其成!一群蒼蠅給我們帶來滋擾是因為牠們的數量,一大堆微不足道的事情,比較一件大事情,更能令我們坐立不安。安靜地接受生命中的職責,然後有計劃地逐一完成。假如你要一蹴即就,或糊亂處理事情,會好像用己力來阻礙自己,倍感吃力,變得一事無成。」聖人又補充說:「如果工作並非需要全神貫注,反而可以多用心轉向天主。相反,工作真需要全神貫注的話,不妨間歇性地停下來,讓心靈仰望天主,正如導航者不時要仰望觀天,而不是只顧垂頭瞰地。這樣,天主會與你一同工作,降福你的辛勞。」

 

雖小猶精

 

聖方濟.沙雷反對慌忙多功。聖人建議:「一、神修的進度,不在乎做得多,卻在乎因愛德而做事。二、天主珍視一件因愛德完成的善功,多於一大堆沒真心的交差式工作。三、任何善工的價值主要在於做事的純潔意向。」

 

聖方濟.沙雷常勸人不要做太多事,但對所做的要給予適當的注意,盡善盡美地妥盡其職。

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