Sunday, June 2, 2019

Ascension, Time and Eternity

From the Sisters of Carmel Newsletter:
In the midst of this great work of life, the work of our salvation, weariness is bound to plague us: the way seems so very long!  But we have Our Lord's own testimony that it is but "a little while." (John 16)  "Christ's return is both His real presence now in our lives and in the life of the Church and His glorious return at the end of time.  Even the second is not far off, says St. Augustine: 'It seems long because now time is still passing by; but when the wait is over we shall see how short it was.'" (St. Andrew's, Matins Lesson, 3rd Sunday after Easter)

"Time."  What is it?  And what is its worth?  In this perpetually moving and busy world of ours, where we seem to have more and more to do and less time to do it, where we are constantly on the move from one task to the next, always having to think of the next thing, and almost constantly "multi-tasking," how often is it that we think about this great treasure in our lives - and how by it God means to form and mold us?  Time shakes us each/ like a sieve/causing what is true in us/to rise towards the surface (-S. R.)

We cannot pause time, nor slow it down or speed it up, nor replay what has already passed.  We have been given only so much of it by our good God, and it is constantly passing by.  Understanding time, and its value, is perhaps done best by realizing what time is not: time is not eternity.  How often we can read in the writings and counsels of the Saints the importance of knowing the shortness of time and the length of eternity.  By reminding us of this, they mean to instruct us that our hearts, far from being attached to the passing things of earth, should rather be "fixed where true joys are." (Paschaltide liturgy)  The eminent theologian, Fr. Reginald Garrigou- Lagrange, wrote beautifully and succinctly to explain this, and it merits reading, meditation - and further re-reading and consideration.  It is counsel for a lifetime:

 Father Garrigou-Lagrange"As the present minute is passing, let us bear in mind that what exists is not merely our body with its sensibility, its varying emotions of pain and pleasure; but also our spiritual and immortal soul, and the actual grace we receive, and Christ who exerts His influence upon us, and the Blessed Trinity dwelling within us.  We shall then have some idea of the infinite riches contained in the present moment and the connection it has with the unchanging instant of eternity into which we are someday to enter.  We should not be satisfied with viewing the present moment along the horizontal line of time, as the connecting link between a vanished past and an uncertain temporal future; we ought rather to view it along that vertical line of time which links it up with the unique instant of unchanging eternity."
- Fr. Reginald Garrigou- Lagrange
(Read more.)

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