St. Augustine of Hippo meditated on the meaning of time in his great Confessions, exploring the mystery of time as God lives in its eternal present in contrast to Augustine living in the past, the present and the future (Book Eleven). We may be more inclined to talk about time management, trying to control time, maximize its use and our productivity—scheduling our lives and activities, squeezing more items in, multitasking (we think) and bemoaning our ultimate lack of control over time. Liturgical time as we celebrate the mysteries of Christ and His Paschal Mystery might offer us a better insight into St. Augustine’s great meditations.
For example, we have just experienced the beginning of the liturgical year with the great season of Advent. Time was a major theme in Advent as we looked forward to the coming of Christ: His Second Coming at the end of time; His coming as an infant, born to the Blessed Virgin Mary at a particular time, in a particular place (as St. Luke’s Gospel tells us and as Pope Benedict XVI brilliantly elucidates in his study of the Infancy Narratives); and His coming to each of us at the end of our time on earth, when we face our particular judgment and enter eternity. At every Mass, in every Sacrament, Jesus is present to us in the present; thus we meditate on all the times Jesus comes during the Season of Advent.
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