Timing is Everything
I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. There’s an objective component to time. Humans have measured it in all sorts of ways – with sundials, with sand in an hour glass, with a pendulum, and now by the frequency of the electromagnetic radiation emitted by an atom or molecule – I had to look that last one up! We live by these measures to be able to function together in society. Working for a railroad company, I completely understand how important that is - nobody likes when their train is late!
But there’s also this subjective component of time. Time can seem to fly by – I feel like I’ve gone from 21 to 27 in an instant! Or I feel like my deadline for this blog post snuck up on me! It can feel like time drags on – is this person still talking? Is this meeting ever going to end? Is it time for the next Penguins Hockey game yet?? And there’s moments that you wish were timeless, like watching the sunset over the hills with someone you love.
As Catholics, we believe some pretty radical stuff about time. We believe in a God that is eternal – outside of time and who, in fact, created time. It’s hard to imagine this kind of God, since eternity isn’t just a whole lot of time, it’s something else altogether! And we believe something even crazier – that, out of love for us, our God decided to enter definitively into time – “he emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Phil 2:7). Our Lord voluntarily took on the pressures and limitations of time – how crazy is that!
So what does all this thinking about time mean? For me, it’s two things:
First, I should try not to worry so much about time. It’s a finite, created thing just like I am. It doesn’t have this overwhelming power over me, especially when I’m aligning myself with the Lord who is eternal. I especially should not worry about the past or the future. I can’t do anything about the past – in economics, it’s like a sunk cost. Learn from the past, sure, but don’t stress out about it. And the future has so much uncertainty to it that spending time worrying about is like a fool’s errand. A proper amount of planning is fine, but after that, we should be focusing on the present, because every moment is an opportunity to better love God and those around us.
Second, if there’s one moment in my day to day life that really demands focusing on the present, it’s when I go to Mass. I’m in a position in my life right now that I’m able to get to Mass almost daily. But it’s so easy to let that time go by each day worrying about the rest of the day. At Mass, we believe that the sacrifice Christ made almost 2,000 years ago is made present before us. We believe that we are receiving the Body of Our Lord, the eternal One. If ever there is a moment to be undistracted and totally focused on the present, it’s that moment. I know I can do a better job of that, and I suspect that’s true for most of you. I pray that each of you can be more present to the crazy reality that is Our Eternal Lord coming to us in the Mass.
Written by: Tyler Deschamps, Vice President of Operations for YCP Omaha