Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 5, 2001
How should we treat time?
By SR. LOUISE ZDUNICH, NDC
Today everyone seems to be in a hurry. We don't have time. Is there a better way to look at time?
We all know what the clock says and we use the word time frequently. We are about to leave part of the liturgical year called Ordinary Time. But I would like to give you a few thoughts that can serve as a starting point for your reflection during Lent.
Sacred Scripture in Ecclesiastes chapter 3 tells us that there is an appointed time for everything: be born and die, plant and uproot, build and tear down, weep and laugh, mourn and dance, seek and lose, keep and cast away, be silent and speak. So probably we are missing the boat when we don't have time.
Along with life itself, time is God's most precious gift. Sometimes, we refer to it as a sacrament because God comes to us through and in time. Time is what allows us to grow into God and eternity.
Time is like the manna God gave the Hebrews every day. It had to be picked and completely used each day. It couldn't be saved for another day.
Each day has its own time but time is not a tyrant, slipping from our grasp; it is a splendid opportunity, a sacred gate through which we enter eternity, through which we are restored and made faithful and in which we can meet God.
God gives us the sacrament of time to be received with reverence. Time must be nurtured and tended, not spent or killed. How do we handle this? Do we work continuously? Or do we take time just "to be": rest, pray and reflect, delight in what God gives us, enjoy the beauty in people and in life? We need this kind of time in order to live fully as human beings created in the image of God.
Unless we respect life's intrinsic rhythm which is part of all nature, we suffer the consequences in our physical and spiritual being. When we feel the need to do so much, it becomes a denial of our own human weakness and of God's care for us.
Are we aware of what God has given us in giving time? To be fully human means to be conscious of the sacred quality of life and the world we inhabit, to be aware of God's presence and participation in our lives and in everything we do.
Jesus told us to "stay alert." Are we alert to God's presence at every moment of our day? God doesn't leave us but we tend to be so busy that we leave God.
Our workbench or desk is an altar upon which we can help bring about God's reign on this earth. Our family meal is a daily Eucharist of God's nourishment, both physical and spiritual.
Our home or office is a temple where God dwells and where we can find peace and joy serving God, the peace Jesus promised us. Although we are confined to narrow chronological time, we are invited to join God in the infinite sea of eternity, loving God's reign into this world.
How much precious time do we waste in self-recrimination or in being angry with others? We often regret it but we can never have that time back. It is gone forever. Not having the courage to be active in God's service is like refusing to trust in God and in the today God gives us.
Jesus came to earth and lived in time as we do. He told us that when we gather and worship, he would be in our midst, even if we are only two or three (Matthew 18:20).
Prayer is a great and joyful adventure; it is an invitation into a transforming relationship with God, the Creator of the universe; it is an opportunity to join the company of heaven in the redemption of all things; it is a chance to breathe the atmosphere of eternity; it is growth into God, into God's eternal love.
God consecrates time for our use, invites us to eat the bread of hours and drink the cup of years, allowing us to live and to die so that time propels us into eternity with God. How can we not be grateful to such a God?
How can we not see all of time as an opportunity to respond joyfully, yes even in suffering, to that love so amply expressed by God?