Harvey Mackay said “Time is free but priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back” This “gift of time” is all about perspective and maturing enough in your life to appreciate the nature of your time here in this life.
And time is, in fact, God’s idea. He created time; the setting and rising of the sun and the rhythm of the earth and the flow of time. God gifted us this space to “spend time” so that we will wake up to a time when time is tamed. But the only way to learn this wisdom is by learning how to use our time well. And that takes the disciplines of the Faith.
Look at our Lesson in Genesis 1:14-23:
And God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens.” So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
The rhythm of the day (by the way, if you’ve ever wondered why we Orthodox measure the day from sundown to sundown; this is why) reveals the wisdom of God for those who have ears to hear. Our lives are always moving from darkness to light. Or our lives are gripped by darkness and never reaching the light. But God’s desire for our lives is for us to move into the Light! (why do I hear the name “Carol Ann” in my head?)
But the only way we are ever going to escape the night for the day is through God’s Word. Now there was a day when I thought that meant the Bible, and, to be sure, knowing the Holy Scriptures is absolutely vital to know the Word of God, but the Word of God is a Person; our Lord Jesus Christ. And how do you get to know a Person? You have to be introduced. You have to be attracted by something in that Person, and then you have to do the hard work of communion to grow in your relationship with that Person.
And the Church gives us the rhythm of prayer and fasting and feasting that makes communion possible and authentic. Look at the wisdom of the rhythm of the Orthodox Faith. Daily cycles of prayer. Daily commemorations of heroes that had intimate communion with God are our examples of how to build that relationship with God. Liturgical services where the center of the service is the Eucharist. Teaching us how to be prepared for the Eucharist through fasting, confession, and prayer. Giving us the spiritual disciplines and rhythm of fasting and feasting to foster communion. Wisdom from a growing relationship with a spiritual father in confession to help apply the spiritual medicine of the Faith to the places of your life that hinder communion. And a Church Year that captures and baptizes even your calendar into focusing on the life of Jesus Christ. All of this wisdom dropped in your lap and the key to activating this wisdom is you, exercising your will to actually DO this rhythm.
In 350 AD St. John Cassian, the Righteous was born. He was a very well-educated man of his time who served in the military and then forsook all that to become a monk. He was ordained to the diaconate by St. John Chrysostom in 403 AD and wrote in defense of the Faith against the errors of the Nestorians and he also defended the Faith against some of the misinterpretations of St. Augustine. His whole life was spent serving the Church through his faithful practice of the Faith and his refusal to waste his time on errors or frivolous living.
Today, as we enter the Great Fast and the “arena of the virtues”, the Lord once again sets before you the rhythm of wisdom in this Orthodox Christian faith. And, once again, your guardian angel, the saints gone before us, our children watching us, all scoot to the edge of their seats to see how you will choose. Will you be attentive to this season and grow the Faith in your heart, or will you let another opportunity slip away because you are too busy, too tired, or too preoccupied with other things? Don’t let time slip away!
P.S. The image of God, was faithfully preserved in you, O Father. For you took up the Cross and followed Christ. By Your actions, you taught us to look beyond the flesh for it passes, rather to be concerned about the soul which is immortal. Wherefore, O Holy John Cassian, your soul rejoices with the angels.
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Tomorrow is my sister Carol Ann ‘s
Birthday. Please pray for her Many Years!
May God grant her many years!