Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
In its own time
by Father Michael Savelesky, for the Inland Register
(From the July 30, 2009 edition of the Inland Register)
Last week while visiting a friend, I found myself standing over the kitchen stove from which wafted the aroma of the evening meal she was preparing. A glance at my watch advised me that dinner time was four hours from then. Now, in an age of fast-food delivery, I knew I was in the presence of a very dedicated mother! “It just takes time to prepare this dish,” she said. “When the kids come home from their football and soccer camps this evening, it’ll be just ready to serve. The essence of good cooking is in the timing.”
I probably would not have thought much more about my friend’s cooking had I not run across a day later the well-known reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes which offers a beautiful reflection on time. Even a popular song some years ago picked up the passage. “There’s a time...” Ecclesiastes reads: a time for every purpose under heaven. It’s all a matter of time.
My thoughts went back to my friend’s home. All the time that mother put into her cooking was an inspiration. With patience, gentle stirring, and careful watch, she was preparing a dish whose excellence would be announced at just the right moment. Ready to serve, the dish would be placed before the happy faces of a delighted family. In the fullness of time….
Ecclesiastes offers a word of advice to our busy world. With increasing intensity we tend so much to rush things. We want instant everything – from meals to friendships. Interesting to note that our culture, which has produced the most clever labor-saving devices, is precisely one which complains the most about not having enough time to get things done. All contemporary gadgets and conveniences aside, the best things in life still take time. Above all, relationships take time – especially our relationship with God.
In fact, that relationship takes a lifetime. Over the course of a lifetime, God engages us in a good deal of patient waiting – gently stirring our hearts, carefully watching over us. Our fast-food mentality interferes with our spiritual growth. We want our relationship with God served up on command, but God provides no drive-through service windows. We fall short of progress in prayer and meditation because of our own busy lives, artificially packing its hours together in ready-mix packages. How quickly we give up after a few short tries. Impatient at waiting, we give focus and direction to our lives without taking the time to discern the interconnected-ness of our decisions, one with another and their effect on those around us.
In sum, we are always at the ready to tell God when things are ready to serve. And then, rushing through life with packed calendars and scribble-laden date books, we wonder why we are not happy and why there seemingly is little ultimate purpose to it all. For the believer, time is not what we make it. Its purpose is not to be found in how thoroughly or how cleverly we pack it with exciting events or appointments. All time is in the hands of God – and there is a time for everything, a time for every purpose under heaven. The believer does not try to force things, but only shares in the stirring and watching, until the moments of God’s grace and love are ready to be served … in their own right time.
(Father Savelesky is the diocese's Director of Deacon Formation and pastor of Assumption Parish in Spokane.)
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