Men’s Ministry: The Art of Leisure


“Leisure, rightly understood, should be the substance and foundation of our lives,” said Franciscan University professor James Gaston at the Men’s Ministry event “The Art of Leisure” on March 25.

His lecture focused on intention, execution and internalization in leisure for man.

“Leisure is time we take to reflect upon God in ourselves,” Gaston said. “It is the time we simply enjoy and love our family and friends as well as God’s wondrous and beautiful creations. … Work ought to be a sustaining means of this … our leisure inspires a way of life and our salvific end.”

Gaston gave practical skills on how to be a man of God in moments of leisure such as praying a rosary, praying the divine office, general prayer, adoration, reflection and even personal retreats. Gaston said these retreats were “profoundly important.”

“I’m not necessarily suggesting a retreat where someone gives multiple lectures to you,” Gaston said. “I would suggest, if you’re willing, a retreat of ‘x’ number of days in which you get away and bring your own reading, your own notebook, you sit down, and you think seriously about you and your life. You should do this regularly.”

The final portion of the talk was a reflection on John Eldredge’s book “Wild at Heart”; Gaston said men themselves can be men “in the image and likeness of the Father.”

“It was a really good talk and really good practicality,” student James Kuepper said. “It gives me something to work on when I really have nothing to do now as well as in the future when I have a family.”

Gaston finished his talk with an opportunity for those attending to ask questions.

“It was a good talk, with good points,” student Brendan Avila said. “I think his idea of leisure is a bit individualistic, but, regardless, it was good practical information.”

Gaston is an associate professor of history at Franciscan University and the founder of the humanities and Catholic culture major.

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