Friday, June 7, 2024

Time is a Mystery

Time is a mystery. When we hear the word mystery we think of a who-done-it. The actual meaning from the Greek is ‘a thing whispered’. This is what the Church means when she says that something is a mystery. It is not so much a secret as it is a thing whispered. Time is a mystery.

For us, the past is locked in time. What has happened has happened. We are powerless to change it. The future is yet to be written. We know not what it holds. The present is the current moment where time intersects with eternity. One moment later it is the past and one moment to come is the future. We are stuck in the eternal moment of now.

Things are much different for God. God is in the what we call the eternal now, not the eternal moment of now. That means for God every moment of time, from the very first moment to the very last moment, is the same moment. Everything is now. Being omnipresent, everywhere is here for God. Every place that has ever existed, exists now, and will exist are the same place for God.

The Church teaches that Mary was conceived without the original stain of sin. She was immaculately conceived. It is taught that God borrowed from the salvation won for us through the crucifixion of his son and applied it to Mary at the moment of her conception. For us creatures stuck in the eternal moment of time, it would appear that God took from the future and applied it to the past. But for God in the eternal now this happened at the same moment. The moment that Mary was conceived is the same moment Jesus was crucified.

It has been said that the Catholic Mass acts as a conduit through which time and space are connected and we are brought to the actual crucifixion of Jesus on Calvary. Through the Mass, we enter into God’s eternal now and Jesus’ crucifixion is made present to us. The supernatural reality of this is veiled to our eyes so we can come to believe in it by our own free will. Love can never be forced and the crucifixion is the greatest act of love that will ever happen. The Mass is made present to us so that we can participate in it. We have to die with Jesus if we are to rise with him to eternal life. We have to choose the cross of mercy or receive the cross of justice.

To God, all people are alive in the eternal now. This means that every person who has ever lived, is living, or will live in the future is alive to God now. We pray for those who are in need of our prayers in our time. We pray for the repose of the souls of those who have passed. We pray for those in purgatory. We limit our prayers based upon our understanding of time.

I would like to introduce a radical idea for prayer. One not restricted by our understanding of time. We are not limited to praying for only those in our time, or the ones who have recently passed, or the one in purgatory. Because we pray to a God who is in the eternal now, we can pray for any person who has ever lived or will live in the future.

Yesterday was June 6, 2024. We remembered those who died at the invasion of Normandy eighty years ago. I urged my brothers in my Knights of Columbus council to take a few moments and say a prayer for those men who died that day and the days to follow on both sides of the line. Our prayers cannot change the past but God can use them to deliver his grace to those who need it at that time. Prayers are offered in love and love is never wasted with God. Love knows no bounds, including the bounds of time and space.

In the same manner, we can also pray for those who will come. We don’t know who they will be but we can still pray for their good. God will use these prayers to also give grace. We can pray for our children’s children. We can pray for our world. We can pray for those who will face their death. That love we offer will be used for their good. Love is never wasted with God.

So pray as it you had all of the time in the world because we pray to a God who does.

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