Everything is in a state of flux because time stands still for no man. As Heraclitus said, you never step into the same stream twice. Paradoxically, there is nothing new under the sun, only different manifestations of what was always there. Nature is the result of God’s handiwork and we are always growing in ever-deeper appreciation of the truth that lies within it. Take for example the old Ptolomaic view of cosmology, wherein everything revolved around the earth, only to be replaced by the deeper understanding afforded by the Copernican view of advancing science, that the earth is a planet that revolves around the sun.
The God we believe in is the God we encounter in our personal time. That is why we celebrate the different times and seasons of our lives in the liturgical calendar. God not only orders all things, but He orders all times and seasons as well.
As this new year unfolds, we enter into a new time of our lives, passing from Christmas to the Epiphany, a word which means “manifestation.” Epiphany is also called “Little Christmas” because during this time we recall that we are Children of the Light, a light that came into the world with Christ and continues to shine in the lives of those who follow Him. We are recipients of great gifts such as Faith, Hope, and Love which we are called on to share with one another. Let us take time now to delve deeper into this treasure which we possess. Now, right now, is the time to wake up and discover the intensity of God’s presence, the span of His goodness, and the breath of His love in your life.
You can make plans for the future or recall memories from the good old days, but the only time you have is the moment at hand. You are a co-partner with God in the totally unpredictable present moment. Think about it — the only time that is truly yours is this time, right now, where you are. You may be very good at preparing for the future, for a degree, for a career, for a house. But the question is, are you good at living? There are many wonderful arts that uplift the human spirit, inspire and keep us going; arts such as music, poetry, song, dance, architecture, painting, drama, ballet, and literature, to mention just a few. But the greatest art of all is the art of living, which improves the quality of your day, creates harmony in your life, and brings to the fore the transforming power of love.
We are living in a time when people are tempted differently than they were in times past. The modern revolution in communications technology has not brought people together the way that many experts had envisioned. There are many positive aspects to the internet and social media, such as the ability to communicate instantly via text or email from any location; the ability to call upon libraries of information and search through them quickly. But all these developments come with a price, and can easily morph into double-edged swords. For example, the level of interpersonal relationships has suffered because of these ever-present and all-absorbing new communication technologies. Paradoxically, we are electronically connected to everyone but, in reality, are in genuine personal contact with no one. People mindlessly prefer to watch life on YouTube or Netflix rather than live it in real life. Family relationships have been fragmented as a result, and people crave to be whole again, but are at a loss on how to achieve it.
This is a good time to improve the quality of your life rather than the speed at which you live it. Make time for your family and your friends. Don’t take your iPhone, your iPad or your laptop to the kitchen or dining room table when you sit down for a meal. This is your personal time and don’t let the new technology take it away from you. Don’t be afraid to be a friend to someone who has no friend. Only you, not a computer, can do that. Time spent like this is never a waste of time. On the contrary, it is of the essence.
The story of the Magi (The Gospel of Matthew, chapter 2) is a story about wise men who were alive to God’s intervention in time. They came to see the Savior, and were guided by the inner light of their conscience. When they found Him, they brought Him gifts. They were urged on by the light of faith, even though they were pagans and did not possess the biblical beliefs of Herod, who plotted to kill the Savior. God works in strange ways….
May He surprise you also with His joy as you experience His presence in the simple things of life, and in your daily personal encounters with those around you.
Fr. Hugh Duffy holds a Ph.D. from the University of Hull, England. Born in Donegal, Ireland, he was ordained in 1966 in Dublin, Ireland. He is pastor emeritus of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Okeechobee, Florida, where he served for 30 years and built a new Church, debt-free, in 2013. He founded Christian Community Action (CCA) in Ireland that built housing for seniors, a sheltered workshop and bakery for people with disabilities, a community center, and an addiction treatment center. Since 2013 he has traveled across America as an Outreach Priest for Cross Catholic Outreach, Inc. Duffy’s recent book, “What is This Thing Called Faith?” is a collection of meditations with reflections for readers on the sayings of Jesus. For more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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