It has been said that a person without a hobby is a much to be pitied individual. Of course, the taking up a hobby doesn’t necessarily guarantee the pity should stop…
Yow! It would appear St. Basil The Great, one of the Saints whom we honor on this 9th day of Christmas, was right on the nose when he famously warned, “Leisure without the fear of God is, for those who do not know how to use time, the teacher of wickedness.”
Along with being quotable, Basil was also something of a joker. He made that oft-repeated statement near the end of homliy in which he was brow-beating certain members of the congregation for their gambling habit. Knowing that many of them were itching for mass to end so they could rush out to the dice tables, Basil stretched out his homily a bit. Finally, as the pewsitters began to get really fidgety, he got in one last jab. “Perhaps, some profit will be found in what I have said;” the future Saint speculated, “but, if not, at least, because you have been kept occupied here, you have not sinned. Therefore, to detain you longer is to withdraw you for a longer time for evils.”
Say, that’s a pretty good strategy isn’t it, making mass longer to keep folks from sinning? Or, you know, at least it was back in the days when even the gambling addicts were respectful unough to wait until mass was actually over before bolting for the door.