With summer right around the corner, the pace of daily activity seems to pick up. On the one hand, most people are absolutely elated to get out of the house after such a long winter, but on the other hand, they fear escalating into pure busyness. Don’t let yourself and your family get ensnared in the busyness trap once Memorial Day rolls around.
Something to keep in mind: Satan hates you—everything about you! He not only wants your soul to be eternally separated from God, but he wants to destroy your body too. If he can’t keep you from God through mortal sin, he’s going to try to distract you from the mission God has entrusted to you—the thing that only you
can do. The world screams to be a human doing
rather than a human being.
It's like that part of The Lord of the Rings
where Frodo, the one who’s chosen to carry the ring symbolizing temptation and sin, collapses to the ground out of sheer exhaustion ready to give up on his mission when Galadriel, an elf likened to our Blessed Mother, appears to him in a vision, extends her hand to him and says, “This mission has been appointed to you, Frodo of the Shire. If you do not find a way, no one will.” He takes her hand and is pulled back up with renewed strength and vision.
To ensure that Satan doesn’t get the upper hand in our lives, we need to prioritize the activities in our schedules. St. John Paul the Great encouraged us in his 1998 writing Dies Domini
“Do not be afraid to give your time to Christ! Yes, let us open our time to Christ, that He may cast light upon it and give it direction. He is the One who knows the secret of time and the secret of eternity.”
Here’s where you can start:
1. Time for God
: When are you going to spend time in conversation with God today? If you’re too busy to pray, you’re too busy, period. Prayer is a must! Stop the excuses. If you want to go heaven, it’s a good idea to get to know God now, don’t you think?! As Americans, much stress is put on being productive and seeing results, and this carries over into our spiritual lives. We want to do
rather than be
, but we can’t do God’s will if we don’t spend time asking Jesus what his will is. Blessed Mother Teresa said, “The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life. We need silence to be able to touch souls.”
2. Your primary vocation
(priesthood, consecrated life, or marriage): This, by it’s definition, is your path to holiness, so this must trump all of your activities apart from your time with God. Make the time you spend with your family or others involved with your vocation meaningful—they want your love, not merely more things
. Remember that 70’s song “Cat’s in the Cradle”? Don’t let that be the ballad of your life.
3. Rest/recreation/holy leisure
: Do not put off what you enjoy, what makes you fully come alive, for the sake of your work. This is why we get burned out! God gave us Sundays to relax, worship Him, and to spend time being
with others. Plus, we need a snippet of this daily, not just Sundays. “The alteration between work and rest , built into human nature, is willed by God himself…[Rest] is something ‘sacred,’ because it is man’s way of withdrawing from the excessively demanding cycle of earthly tasks in order to renew his awareness that everything is the work of God” (Dies Domini).
: This is a necessary part of life—there’s no getting around it. However, it can overrun our lives and take precedence over the people in our day. How are you being a light in the workplace? How are you trying to make someone else’s day better? The immortal souls God places in our path are more important than the most pressing project.
Time is a free gift we are given, but with this gift comes great responsibility. Every action we do should be ordered to our ultimate end: heaven.
C.S. Lewis shares in his book Mere Christianity
“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next…It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective…Aim at heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in;’ aim at earth and you will get neither.”
Ask yourself: How do I want to spend my time? vs. How am I spending my time?
• Duppong is director of adult faith formation for the Bismarck Diocese.
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