Monday, January 15, 2007

The Proper Use of Time

1. "Time is money", runs an old English proverb. But for a Christian time is something much more important. It is the price of eternity. With time well spent or badly spent we can purchase a life of eternal happiness with God or of eternal suffering in hell. Since our true destiny is God and everlasting happiness with God or of eternal suffering in hell. Since our true destiny is God and everlasting happiness, all the time which we spend with this in view is well spent, whereas all that is not devoted to this end is useless or harmful.

We must make a special effort to avoid sloth. There is good reason for aclling it the father of vices. When a man surrenders to laziness he is squandering a priceless treasure which was intended to be used in the service of God and for the sanctification of his own soul and the souls of his fellowmen. He is also disobeying the clear command which God issued after the sin of Adam: In the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread (Gen. 3:19).

The man who is steeped in sloth, moreover, is more vulnerable to the temptations of the devil, the suggestions of the flesh and the frivolous attractions of the world. If our hands are not employed in labour or our minds occupied in study or prayer, we can easily be diverted from our proper purpose and drawn towards sin.

2. The high value of the divine gift of time imposes an obligation on us to avoid laziness. The obligation to avoid sin is still greater. Sin is the most serious way in which we can abuse this gift of God. It is also an act of deep ingratitude in that we turn this treasure which God has bestowed on us into a weapon to be used against the giver of ever good. To use time properly it is necessary to direct all our actions, intentions, and desires towards God, Who is the source of our being and the goal of our earthly pilgrimage.

If everything we do, intend, or desire springs from our love of God and is aimed at the manifestation of His glory and the expansion of His kingdom upon earth, then even our most humble and apparently indifferent actions are precious in the sight of the Most High and receive His blessing. But if we are working for ourselves, for our own satisfaction and petty glorification, we ruin everything. All that we do is barren. If we seek ourselves instead of God, we shall Hear Him say one day: You shall have no reward with your Father in Heaven (Mt. 6:1).

3. As we have said, work, whether manual or mental, is a command of God. We must all work in accordance with our position in life. But work is more than a duty and a natural right. It is also a pleasure. One might say that when we work we are participating in God's work of creation and conservation.

Work makes man noble. Laziness reduces him to an animal level. The Imitation of Christ says: "Rejoice in the evening if you have spent the day profitably." But if we wish this joy to be complete and to last throughout eternity, we must work all the time for God. The effect of this meditation should be a constant dedication of all our actions to God.