LET US MAKE GOOD USE OF TIME
Ave Maria Mediations
PRESENCE OF GOD: I recollect myself in the presence of the Lord, to examine in the light of eternity the value of time.
Time passes and does not return. God has assigned to each of us a definite time in which to fulfill His divine plan for our soul; we have only this time and shall have no more. Time ill spent is lost forever. Our life is made up of this uninterrupted, continual flow of time, which never returns. In eternity, on the contrary, time will be no more; we shall be established forever in the degree of love which we have reached now, in time.
If we have attained a high degree of love, we shall be fixed forever in that degree of love and glory; if we possess only a slight degree, that is all we shall have throughout eternity. No further progress will be possible when time has ended. “Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good to all “(Gal 6,10). “We must give every moment its full amount of love, and make each passing moment eternal, by giving it value for eternity” (Sr. Carmela of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D.).
This is the best way to use the time given us byGod. Charity allows us to adhere to God’s will with submission and love and thus at the close of life we shall have realized God’s plan for our soul; we shall have reached the degree of love which God expects from each one of us and with which we shall love and glorify Him for all eternity.
The growth of charity depends upon meritorious acts, that is, good works done under the influence of charity. Every good act merits an increase of charity, which may be given to the soul at once or withheld until the end of life, according to whether the act had been performed with all the love of which the soul was capable, or whether, on the contrary, it was performed with less vigor, generosity, and carefulness than was possible at that moment. In the first case, the increase of charity comes like interest which is immediately accrued to the capital, and which then bears interest together with it. In the second case, it is like interest which is kept separate from the capital and hence does not increase with it, even though it remains the property of the one who has acquired it.
In order that the merit of our good works, that is, the increase of charity which we have merited by them, be granted immediately, it is necessary that these good works be done with all the love possible, that is, with all the good will and generosity of which the soul is capable. Then it is as if the soul opens to receive the increase of love it has merited; and this is added at once to the capital of charity already possessed, immediately increasing its degree and intensity.
We have only the short day of this earthly life in which to grow in love, and if we wish to derive from it the greatest possible profit, we must overcome our natural inertia and carry out our good works with our whole heart. Then love will increase immeasurably and we shall be able to say to Our Lord like St. Therese of the .Child Jesus: “Your love has grown with me and now it is an abyss, the depth of which I am unable to sound”. We must, then, make haste while we still have time, for “the night cometh when no man can work” (Jn 9:4).
Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene OCD
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
The year (has ended). This means, as always, that we spend a few minutes in reflection. We draw up balance sheets and make an effort to anticipate what the future may bring. For a moment we become conscious of the strange thing called “time,” which otherwise we simply use without thinking about it. We feel both the melancholy and the consolation of our own transiency. Much that caused us distress, much that weighed us down and seemed to make progress impossible, has now passed and become quite unimportant.
As we look back, difficult days are transfigured in memory, and the now almost forgotten distress leaves us more peaceful and confident, more composed in the face of present threats, for these too will pass. The consolation of transiency: Nothing lasts, no matter how important it claims to be. But this consoling thought, which gives patience its character of promise, also has its discouraging and saddening aspect. Nothing lasts, and therefore along with the old year not only difficulties but much that is beautiful has passed away, and the more we move beyond the midpoint of our lives, the more poignantly we feel this change of what was once future and then present into something past. We cannot say to any moment: “Stay a while! You are so lovely!” Anything that is within time comes and then passes away.
Our feelings toward the new year show the same ambivalence as our feelings toward the old year. A new beginning is something precious; it brings hope and possibilities as yet undisclosed. “Every beginning has a magic about it that protects us and helps us live” (Herman Hesse) … What can we as Christians say at this moment of transition? First of all, we can do the very human thing the moment urges upon us: we can use the time of reflection in order to stand aside and widen our vision, thus gaining inner freedom and a patient readiness to move on again.
Lord Jesus, you are the fulfillment of all time, the center of all history. We praise you for the wonder of your love. We thank you for your mercy and redemption. We bless you for your unfailing goodness. May we ‘love you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We pray that you keep us awake and watchful. May we recognize your real presence in every moment of our lives. Transform our hearts from stone-blocked tombs into life-giving temples where we may find you, with the Blessed Virgin Mary, and live in your grace so that one day we may be with you for ever in paradise.
Fr. Peter John Cameron O.P.
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: