All of us hear throughout the year, my gosh the time is going by faster than ever. Where does all the time go? For a few moments I would like to spend and share a few thoughts with you on the subject of time.
God gives to each one of us 24 hours a day. 1440 minutes and basically we are free to do with it whatever we want to do. All during the course of our lives you have heard people say, the years as you get older go faster. Yet we know we have the same 24 hours, the same 1440 minutes. A few years ago an organization from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, started to analyze how our time is spent and how often so much of that time is out of control. What I am going to say applies to a life span of 70 years or 75 years.
In the course of that 70 or 75 years, just think of all the time that is spent on activities such as washing dishes, mopping out the bathroom floor, vacuuming the rug, taking out the garbage. Totally, collectively, all those activities take about four years out of your life. Four years out of 70 or 75 years that we have. The amount of time that we spend in eating, just figure this, takes about six years. This is one that always gets me, standing in line at the bank or the post office or tickets to a movie, takes about five years out of our life if we are talking about a life span of 70 to 75 years. I do this too. Americans spend about one year of their lives looking for misplaced objects such as eye glasses, wallets, car keys, cleaner slips and check books. Almost two years of one's life are lost trying to return the phone calls of people who never seem to be in. Then if you take the amount of time, some five or six hours per day, that the average person watches television, when you think of all these things that fragment our time or give us the feeling that we never have enough time, then you have your own answer to the question, where does the time go.
Another part of that statistical analyzes about the subject of time is that the average person over a span of 70 years of life might spend about six months of his time in solid worship and prayer to God. I am sure that each person can say, that does not apply in my case. I do not watch television that much, I don't lose my eye glasses that often and that is probably true. What I think is more meaningful about these statistics is that it reminds us that we do not have as much time as we think we have simply because it is so broken up and so fragmented. There is an unusual anecdote taken from the life of Abraham Lincoln when he was making his run for the Presidency. He started to fix his clothing by looking at and looking through the whole mirror. As he was look at the whole mirror he saw a double image, sort of like a double reflection. His wife, who had a superstitious bent, saw the double reflection and said, you are going to experience great success and a great triumph and then you will experience a great tragedy. Your life, she said, is just a question of time.
If you study the life of Christ you will quickly see that the quality, the element of time was most important. His public ministry was just about three years, a short span of time by our standards. Three years spent so we could know about his philosophy of life, his theology of life. If our views of time are to be as productive and as meaningful as his, then we have to learn what his teachings were during those three years of his public ministry.
He taught a gospel of love. He taught that we must forgive those who trespass against us. That we must be willing to forgive those people seventy times seven times a day. In other words, just as God has forgiven us seventy times seven, with all the sins and offenses we have committed, then we must be willing to forgive those who have hurt us seventy times seven times a day. We are taught from the time when we are children that we cannot waste energy and we should not and cannot waste water. We cannot waste food and now we have to realize as we get older, we cannot waste time. If Christ were in your living room today, if Christ were sitting next to you in your automobile as you are driving, he would say that you cannot waste your time carrying a grudge, you must follow a Christ who preferred to carry a cross and to those who put him on the cross he would say, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing."
Anyone can say I still have to live in this real world and I have all the obligations even if my time is fragmented. What can I do while my time is so fragmented so that I can bring myself closer to God?
First, let go.
Secondly, let God in.
Take a few days to figure out what your priorities should be. We all know that our time on this earth, 70 or 80 years or whatever, is small in comparison to the eternity that awaits us. In other words, we are going to spend more time in the afterlife than in this life. I am amazed at all the guesses that are made about the stars and the planets how old they are and how long they have been in existence, century after century in our galaxy. If you believe, as most Catholics do, that God put them in this planet area, the galaxies and still keeps them going, don't you think that this same God who took interest in the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, don't you think that the same God plans for us a better life after our time on this earth is over? Don't you think he is more concerned about you than the galaxies and the stars and the planets? If you believe that don't you think that while we are on this earth that we should have a solid relationship with the same God, the God who made the planets and the galaxies and the God who allowed us to come onto this earth and the God who wants us to live with him for all eternity?
The time we have on this earth, which we know is so short and so fragmented, should be time that finds us developing a solid friendship with the God who put the stars and the moon, the lilies of the field and the birds of the air in our life just so we could be more mindful of him. All of us are part of a human caravan on a journey back to God and our time on this earth is so limited. One of the best things you can do on this earth with your time as regards your being Christian or a Catholic.
First, develop a personal relationship with God who created those stars and the moon and all the planets. If you meditate, if you reflect, if you think, if you contemplate during the time you have on this earth of the God who made the earth, who made the stars and the moon, then you are dealing with the greatest thoughts that God can give you. You are one of God's prized creations. You are made to his image and likeness. You are the one for whom his son died. You are destined to belong to his everlasting kingdom. There is no more important creation in the sight of God than you. When St. Paul talked about all the things that God has in store for us, he had you in mind when he said, "your eyes have not seen, nor have your ears heard what God has in store for you who love him on earth."
That time on earth should find us spreading his love on the earth, this earth, as long as we are here. How do you spread his love around? By following the teachings of Jesus Christ, his son. Next to establishing a relationship with God we have to establish a close relationship with his son, Jesus Christ. His son taught us about the love of God. His son spoke about the love of God for all of us. His son used the three years of his public ministry as the time to remind us of the love that God wants us to have after this life on this earth is over. All the stars in heaven, all the moons and suns remind us of the power of God and the love that God has for us so we can enjoy these things. But it is in the gospels that we learn specifics of who we are and how we are to show our love for God while we are here. It is the same gospels that teach us of the importance of love based on the words of Christ himself when he said, "I am not interested in your medals or degrees or wealth or home, I am interested in how you live a gospel of love, how you took the time you were given on earth to bring my love to others."
We did that when we took care of the unwanted, the unloved, the homeless, the people who were in need of the love that could only come from us.