Post by Hildegard on Mar 30, 2020 15:25:01 GMT
Time is a Treasure
St. Alphonsus on the Value of Time
Selections from The Way of Salvation and of Perfection, pp. 53-55;
and from Preparation for Death, pp. 122.125.
If God calls you today to do good, do it; for tomorrow it my happen that for you time will be no more, or that God will call you no more. Selections from two of the saint's meditations on the value of time:
Time is a treasure of inestimable value, because in every moment of time we may gain an increase of grace and eternal glory. In hell the lost souls are tormented with the thought, and bitterly lament, that now there is no more time for them in which to rescue themselves by repentance from eternal misery. What would they give but for one hour of time to save themselves by an act of true sorrow from destruction! In heaven there is no grief, but if the blessed could grieve, they would do so for having lost so much time during life, in which they might have acquired greater glory, and because time is now no longer theirs.
A deceased Benedictine nun appeared in glory to a certain person, and said that she was perfectly happy, but that if she could desire anything, it would be to return to life, and to suffer pains and privations in order to merit an increase of glory. She added, that, for the glory which corresponds to a single Ave Maria, she would be content to endure till the day of judgment the painful illness which caused her death.
Time is a treasure which is found only in this life; it is not found in the next, either in hell or in heaven. The very pagans knew the value of time. Seneca said that no price is an equivalent for it. But the saints have understood its value still better. According to St. Bernadine of Siena, a moment of time is of as much value as God; because in each moment a man can, by acts of contrition or of love, acquire the grace of God and eternal glory.
I give thee thanks O God for giving me time to bewail my sins! And to make amends by my love for the offenses I have committed against thee.
Nothing is so precious as time; and yet how comes it that nothing is so little valued? Men will spend hours in jesting, or standing at a window or in the middle of the road, to see what passes; and if you ask them what they are doing, they will tell you they are passing away the time. O time, now so much despised! Thou will be of all things else the most valued by such persons when death shall have surprised them. What will they then be willing to give for one hour of so much lost time. But time will remain no longer for them when it is said to each of them, “Go forth, Christian soul, out of this world.”
My brother, how do you spend your time? Why do you always defer till tomorrow what you can do today? Remember that the time which is past is no longer yours; the future is not under your control; you have only the present for the performance of good works. “Why, O miserable man,” says St. Bernard, “do you presume on the future, as if the Father had placed time in your power?” St. Augustine asks: “How can you, who are not sure of an hour, promise yourself tomorrow?” “If then,” says St. Teresa, “you are not prepared for death today, tremble lest you die an unhappy death.”
Walk whilst you have the light [John 12: 35]. The time of death is the time of night when nothing can any longer be seen, nor anything be accomplished. The night cometh in which no man can work [John 9:4]. Hence the holy spirit admonishes us to walk in the way of the Lord, whilst we have the light and the day before us. Can we reflect that the time is near approaching in which the cause of our eternal salvation is to be decided, and still squander away time? Let us not delay, but immediately put our accounts in order, because when we least think of it, Jesus Christ will come to judge us. At what hour ye think not, the Son of man will come [Luke 12:40].
On the day of judgment, Jesus Christ will demand an account of every idle word. All the time that is not spent for God is lost time. “Believe,” says St. Bernard, “that you have lost all the time in which you have not thought of God.” Hence, the Holy Ghost says, “Whatsoever thy hand is able to do, do it earnestly, for neither work nor reason shall be in hell, whither thou art hastening” [Eccles. 9:10]. The Venerable Sister Jane of the Most Holy Trinity, of the Order of St. Teresa, used to say that, in the lives of the saints, there is no tomorrow. Tomorrow is found in the lives of sinners, who always say: hereafter, hereafter; and in this state they continue till death. Behold, now is the acceptable time [2 Cor. 6:2]. If today you should hear His voice, harden not your hearts [Ps. 4:8]. If God calls you today to do good, do it; for tomorrow it my happen that for you time will be no more, or that God will call you no more.
Hasten then, my Jesus, hasten to pardon me. And shall I delay? Shall I delay until I am cast into that eternal prison, where with the rest of the condemned souls, I must forever lament, saying “The summer is past, and we are not saved [Jer. 8:20]. No my Lord, I will no longer resist thy loving invitations. I desire never more to offend thee, but to forever love thee. I ask two graces: give me perseverance in Thy grace, give my Thy love; and then do with me what Thou pleasest. O Mary refuge of sinners, in thee do I place my confidence. Most Holy Mary my mother, obtain for me the grace always to recommend myself to God, and to ask him for perseverance and for his holy love.