REFLECTION: Linking time and eternity PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 September 2011 15:14

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

We have to be aware of this dual dimension of our life. In fact, I believe this aspect refers to the ultimate status of our life. We should not be too immersed in the here and now to forget that time is meant for eternity, and we have a role to play in their connection.

We live both in time and eternity for now, and later, in a definitive state, in eternity with God or separated from him forever, since time would be completely taken up by eternity the moment time runs its course through our death or through the world’s end.

But at any instant, our earthly life also is in eternity. The flow of time is always within the sea of eternity, since eternity is both outside and inside time. Whatever we do now, no matter how transient, always leaves an effect in eternity.

This is because being both material and spiritual, with body and soul as constituent elements of our nature, we can’t help but live in both time and eternity. Time is when we are tested as to our correspondence, or lack of it, to God’s love. As St. Augustine said, “God created you without you, but he cannot save you without you.”

We need to understand that what we do in time, how we live our life here on earth determines the state of life we are going to have in our eternal life. Our earthly and temporal affairs, no matter how immersed in the material and the mundane, have an impact on our spiritual and eternal dimension. Time is the gateway to
eternity.

We have to sharpen our senses and faculties so that this reality of how our time is related to eternity is not lost in us. The linking takes place mainly in our mind and heart where we can converge our material and spiritual dimensions, where the interaction between God and us, eternity and time takes place.

This means that we have to sharpen our spiritual faculties, nourishing them with eternal truths and not only with earthly facts and temporal data. This means that we have to spiritualize and raise to the supernatural level with the reception of grace our bodily faculties, such as our senses, emotions, passions, imagination, etc.
We have to avoid allowing our spiritual faculties to be completely at the mercy of our senses and the goings-on of the material world. We have to break loose from the mentality, quite strong and prevalent, of considering our life as mainly if not totally just time-and-earth-bound.

With God’s grace and our efforts, we have to direct our earthly and temporal life here to eternity, to God. We should not allow our life to drift just anywhere, or to be totally dominated by earthly and temporal aims.

We don’t deal only with food and drinks, with material and purely human needs and natural goals. We have to deal with spiritual and eternal requirements and objectives as well. As our Lord said, “Not by bread alone does man live but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4,4)

We need to see to it that our thoughts and desires are immersed in the supernatural gifts of faith, hope and charity, those theological virtues that enable our earthly and temporal affairs to acquire spiritual, supernatural and eternal value.

That is why, we need to study and assimilate the doctrine of our faith, make it generate hope in our earthly pilgrimage, and fuel the love that catapults us to eternity, uniting us to God and others.

All the other human virtues and qualities should be imbued with these supernatural gifts. We have to be wary of our tendency to develop many good qualities inspired only by human and natural ideals.

As Opus Dei founder St. Josemaria Escriva once said: “If you lose the supernatural meaning of your life, your charity will be philanthropy, your purity decency, your mortification stupidity...” (The Way, 280)

A basic attitude to develop is the determination to look for God everyday and in everything. We just cannot be passive in this, waiting for things to tickle our interests and curiosities.

We have to look for him, find him, love him and serve him, using both material and spiritual means, natural and supernatural virtues. And knowing that loving God is in loving others, then we should be actively immersed in all the affairs of men in this world, but out of love of God, and not just out of some natural motive.