time as gift

as time goes on, i find myself often saying, “my, how time flies!” it could be seeing a son or daughter of a friend– whom i remember as a eight year old running around– getting married and having children of their own! or an approaching 40th high school reunion. as i get older, i have come to value time as a precious gift.

in the christian spirituality of stewardship, all that we have and all that we are, are gifts from God. a basic way to see our gifts are in three areas: time, treasure and talent.

st ignatius defined love as exchange of gifts. the gift of our very lives is the ultimate gift to give to another. in brief, the more we share ourselves through our time, treasure and talents, the more we love others. sometimes we will feel very good about sharing these gifts. at times, we might not have any feelings– in this sense, love is not primarily about how we feel. with the realization that we are blessed through the sharing of these gifts, our thankfulness and generosity increases. there are wonderful graces that come through this love.

over my years as a claretian priest, i have learned to be economical and prudent with my limited financial resources. i have not had much “treasure” in my life. but i have also not had any financial anxiety since all my needs are covered by the claretian congregation.

with the meager monthly allowance that i do receive, i choose to spend it on lunches, drinks, and dinners with friends. over the years i have encountered people in many places. in those places the vast majority of folks have met me as “father art.” while i value those friendships, those relationships is rarely equal. for them, i will always primarily be a priest; they cannot just call me “art.” but i have learned to accept and appreciate these relationships.

being back in seattle, i have had wonderful opportunities to renew friendships with folks who i grew up with. they know that i am a priest, but really, i am just “art.” they know that i can be a clueless knucklehead; they know my youthful indiscretions.

i am very grateful for the time shared with my “seattle” friends who call me art and can call me out. having lunch and dinner with these long time school friends is precious to me. each of them is real grace in my life– in my best moments in prayer, i give thanks to God from the depths of my soul for them.

so today, i see time as a changing gift in my life. perhaps as i get even older, it will become the most precious gift of love.

i offer these verses to you for meditation today:

“As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Pt 4)

…(jesus said) love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this,j to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another” (john 15)

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