“Hey, what’s up …what’s going on ….. Oh nothing, just killing time.“ Sometimes it seems that time has no value and you want to make it pass quickly. In prison, the convict is “doing time”. In school you may hear, “I can’t wait until this class, this term is over.” “Auuuuugh, I’m so bored….life is so uninteresting, I just can’t wait for something better to happen.” The young seem to always have an excess of time…plenty of time… time to waste.
St. Pope John Paul II spoke about the importance of making a gift of our self to God and to others …. in marriage, in consecrated life, in friendship, in communion. What is the greatest gift we can make of our self? I recently read that the most precious gift we can give another is the gift of time. Hmmmmm, that’s a lot different than “killing time”. The author went on to say, “ the gift we value most but often is hardest to give is our time…. not our “presents, but our presence”, our presence given to another in the present moment, this moment, the only moment we have.” This is especially true when the person is in need of a kind word, a small service or a listening ear. The author, Anne Burleigh, ended with “ will we be judged by what we checked off a list, or by what we gave in time to the other.” (Magnificat, 10-21-22)
Whether a young child a young mother, or old codger, we all have 24 hours in each day. God has a plan for each of these 24 hours at every stage of our life… the young baby and the old man may sleep 18 hours out of the day; for the rest of us, sleeping 8 hours a day is more normal and the other 16 should be spent as a gift of self. So, let’s ask the Holy Spirit how we should spend the 16 hours of awake time being a gift of self to others.
Often when I begin a job or activity, I don’t want to be interrupted. If someone pops in, I really need the Holy Spirit to help me stop what I’m doing, smile and listen… and be willing to give them some time and some help. The moment lasts for a moment and that time will not come again. I’m happy to report that at times I treat the person almost like Jesus … other times I put my little project above them and give them the cold shoulder…. treating them like 2nd class citizens. So time is very precious. May the Lord help us to use it wisely. Let’s end with the very convicting prayer of St. Alphonsus Ligouri on “time”.
“At the hour of death, conscience will remind us of all the time which we have had to become saints, and which we have employed in multiplying our debts to God. It will remind us of all the calls and of all the graces which He has given us to make us love him, and which we have abused. At that awful moment we shall also see that the way of salvation is closed for ever. In the midst of these remorses, and of the torturing darkness of death, the dying sinner shall say: O fool that I have been! O life misspent! O lost years, in which I could have gained treasures of merits, and have become a saint! but I have neglected both, and now the time of saving my soul is gone for ever. But of what use shall these wailings and lamentations be, when the scene of this world is about to close, the lamp is on the point of being extinguished, and when the dying Christian has arrived at that great moment on which eternity depends?”