In front of me, stands a clock made by a friend from a CD, that says in bold red letters: MAKE TIME FOR GOD. It has been there for 11 years and all of a sudden I figured out what it meant. It doesn't just mean to pray, but it actually means to dedicate time (as in a span of time) for God. That's what I was doing yesterday evening, as I sat in my easy chair, with television off and all but one light off. And I was at peace. The "TIME" one gives to God, is "time" not fiddled away for our own purposes, thin as those may be, but just given to Him! For His Glory! To do with what He wants or needs! That kind of time is not lost time.
That's why I was at peace, because what I was doing (just resting in the Lord) was good time. Well spent time!
I remember a friar, a OFM friar, many years ago when I was trying to be a friar, who would close his eyes, no matter where he was or what was going on around him: he just made time for God! Can you do that? That takes a lot of effort for those whose brains go a mile a minute. But when you get older, brain activity slows anyway, and it becomes a little easier to make time for the Lord. When it takes no effort at all anymore, we're not far away from the end. The beginning—I like that better—the beginning of things to come, the beginning of eternal life. Between this "end" and that "beginning" is a lifetime, or perhaps just a few seconds as in an electrical bridge closing a synapse. Pain recedes and the realization of His Glory appears in front of us as a bolt of lightning. For many it is a wonderful moment, a rewarding moment, a Sacred moment. It is a moment when God makes Time for us! It is a moment when we are completely His!
So let us examine how much time we fiddle away on nothing, nothing productive, and there is lots of that - and now instead of pampering ourselves, let us give that time to God. Let us be in Church at Adoration for a solid half hour or hour, keeping your mind attuned to God. Doesn't take much effort - just do simple adoration. Words aren't even necessary, just eye-contact with the Host in the Monstrance or the Tabernacle when He is not exposed in adoration. Sure, you may look around, but I guarantee that you will get distracted when you look about. So don't. If someone wants to chit-chat, say "Excuse me" in a soft and friendly way, and keep looking at the Altar. And if they persist, tell them you are listening to the Lord. Because you ARE listening to his sweet, gentle voice.
Distractions are beyond annoying. When I arrive at Holy Mass I already know which people will begin to talk because they always sit in the same place. I try not to listen but when they are loud enough I cannot shut them out. This distraction can be a temptation or simply a challenge -- somehow we carry on and pay it no mind. Often I fail, and my thought are pulled to the conversation away from the Lord. A sign of weakness we try to overcome.
Every day, make some time for God. Don't do like I do, when I get a thought to write something I rush to the computer. I know that's wrong. I should not interrupt prayer for that. Then why do we do it? Because we're sick! We don't realize that our time with God always takes precedence over our time with ourselves. Right?
Next Sunday is around the corner, and it'll be the Fourth Sunday of Lent. I haven't even done anything yet, I thought of doing. Been busy, busy, busy. Strongly reminds me the that wonderful book that was required reading when I was in religious life. A book written in somewhat old English with thees and thous and all that good stuff. It was the "Soul of the Apostolate" by Dom Chautard. You can find it here, on our website. Dom Chautard was a French Cistercian abbot. His work, a spiritual classic, is about scheduling time for God and many more wonderful things pertaining to the Soul.
As a Franciscan-OFS, we know we have to make time for God. Here's your and my challenge: Make MORE TIME for God! He will reward you amply if not in this world, then in the next!
Peace and all Good!
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
March 8, 2013