Time is the opportunity for real change and repentance
Is time a tragic parameter in human life? Every New Year we usually turn our minds to the so-called “new year”, avoiding to think about the obvious, that every new year brings us even closer to the inevitable end of our lives. After all, is time friend or foe, blessing or curse? The way we measure time is necessary for our life in this world, but it is also artificial, a human invention. But every beginning of time is an opportunity to take stock spiritually, a new beginning in our lives.
From the beginning of creation the Bible speaks of time, “it was evening and it was morning one day”1. Certainly man was not created to be imprisoned in time, but for eternity. Angels were created in eternity, and therefore the fall of Lucifer is irreversible, because he sinned in eternity. For man, time reveals God’s charity because His good providence created him in space and time, so that he could take advantage of “the malleability of time”, of which the philosophers speak, and have the possibility to repent. “The moment is not caught”; by the time we call it present it has already become past. This flexibility of time is a blessing for man, because it gives him the opportunity to change for the better and to build a spiritual state in his heart. In this sense, time becomes another tree of knowledge of good or evil.
The time of our life acquires value and meaning not according to the number of our years, but according to the extent to which we utilize it deeply. If you notice, in the readings on the Feasts of the Saints it is said that a truly righteous old age depends on whether a person lives soberly and has an unblemished life. The righteous “being finished in a short time fulfilled long times”2, that is, his life reached its fullness, “in measure of the age of Christ’s fullness”3. The apostle Paul exhorts us to redeem the time of our life, because the days are wicked4, and the same Apostle shows us the way in which this redemption is accomplished, when he instructs the Ephesians to “be filled in spirit (Holy)”5.
Very often we hear people say “how much time have I wasted in my life!”. Unfortunately, we grow up with the standards of the world, and we don’t know how to handle the great gift called time in our lives. In the darkness of ignorance, people face time by turning nostalgically to the past, which no longer belongs to them. Sometimes the enemy drives them to despair, reminding them of all the failures of the past. Others shift their minds into the future through imagination. It is tragic that man tends to notice the signs of the times in others much more easily than in himself. He constantly wants to avoid the perishability that time brings, as if he is immortal on earth. But time and death came as an act of extreme charity of God, so that man would not become immortal with evil.
The greatest event “under heaven” is the moment when God himself became man. Then God’s eternity entered time, crisscrossing horizontal historical time. The Lord is called Christ, that is, God’s anointed one, and He Himself anoints time and all creation with His divine energy. In the Old Testament time came to a full when all the events that God wanted to happen took place. The Fathers identify “the fullness of time”6 with the Virgin Mary. And for us, along with the redemption of time, the matter of the crew of our life is equally important. The means we must use for our life to reach its fullness and to redeem eternity, is time itself. Basil the Great says that time is “the space involved in the constitution of the world”. It is a period of time that has a beginning and an end; it began with the creation of the world and continues with the evolution of the world. Elder Sophronius says that time is the place of our encounter with God; it is the time in which God creates gods. Liturgically, the term “time” is used when we say that the priests “take time”, that is, they prepare themselves with a small sequence before entering the sanctuary to celebrate the Liturgy. In the same way, the time of our own life is a time in which we prepare for the life to come. Saint Nicholas Kavasilas says that the life in Christ is sown in this world, but will bear fruit in all its fullness in the next life.
One reason we waste time, even we Christians, is because we do not have an attitude of obedience neither to our spiritual fathers, nor to the tradition of the Church. Whoever does not know the mystery of obedience is wasting the time of his life, even if humanly he has great and brilliant gifts and achievements. Without obedience he will not be able to gather
eat only crumbs from the rich bank of the tradition of our Fathers. In the Scale it is said that three young people went to an Elder to ask him for a word, and to the third the Saint said: “remember that ‘in our patience you will win our souls’7; find a very hard Elder and obey him completely ». Then the young man asked him, “and if the Elder does not live a spiritual life should I stay again?” And the saint answered him, “even if you see that he is the worst of all, don’t judge him, but say to yourself the words that Christ said to Judas, ‘Whoever, if he takes him?’8″ Man, why did you come here? To judge or to be judged?’ Persevere and then you will see that the grace of God will extinguish all pride in you and every other carnal desire.” We see that those who surrender with simplicity to obedience, many temptations that torment others, they do not even know them. This concerns all believers. If we had true obedience to the institutions of the Church, God would allow us to become bearers of its Tradition.
With the incarnation of Christ, we now live in the “oneness of the Lord’s usefulness”9. How many times do we not say in services, “blessed is the Kingdom of God, now and forever and forever and ever”? This “Now and forever and ever” refers to the “eternal present”, that is, to the liturgical time, when the time of our life is eclipsed by the eternity of God and then man becomes a contemporary of eternal events and can burn together with the Church “Today, Son of God, receive me from the communion of Your Last Supper”. In this perspective the real purpose of the time of our life is to collect daily in our heart the seals of the presence of Christ, so that we enter into His eternity and the Lord recognizes us as His own.
As we sing at Christmas, what Christ was remained and what he was not He took upon Himself, that is, human nature. The Church captures all this in the services of the day. What hour is more blessed than the sixth hour, when Christ nailed His Body to the Cross and crucified sin? Or from the ninth hour when he said “It is finished” to show that God’s plan for man was finished? What hour is more blessed than the third hour in which Christ sent the Intercessory Spirit to His Disciples? What time is more blessed than the night in which Christ was born or resurrected? As Solomon says, “In the stillness of the stillness of the night the almighty word of God came down, bringing with Him the sharp sword of His insincere command” of His insincere will, which was the zeal of His “unending” love for man.