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Meditation for the Morning
Let us adore the infinite goodness of Our Lord, who has bought us and arranged time for us that we may prepare in it for eternity, the sole aim to which all our actions here below ought to be referred. Let us beg of Him to make us sensible of the value of time and to give us grace never to abuse it.
What is the Value of Time
Time is worth, first, as much as heaven; because heaven is the reward assigned by God Himself to the right employment of time. A single moment well employed was worth to the good thief, spite of all the crimes of his past life, the possession of paradise, and even if by the holiness of our life we are worthy of paradise, one more moment well employed will be worth to us an added degree of glory and of happiness throughout eternity, that is, so to speak, a new heaven in heaven itself. Time is worth. Second, as much as the blood of Jesus Christ; for His blood is the price at which all the moments of our life have been bought; it is, as it were, the money which represents the value of time. If, then, this blood calls itself precious, time ought to be precious to us in the same proportion, that is to say, beyond all speech; for who could express the value of this blood, a single drop of which would have sufficed to redeem a thousand worlds? Time is worth, Third, as much as God Himself; for every moment well employed will be worth the possession of God to us throughout eternity. Fourth, time is of such great value that God gives it only drop by drop, if I may so say, without ever granting two moments at once. Now we can only enjoy one short moment of it, which passes like lightning; and if we fail to take hold of it in its flight, it is lost forever, lost irrecoverably; for time passed never returns, nor another time which might repair it, because of the reason: First, that the other time is already due to God, and that which is due cannot be used to pay other debts; Second, that time, seeing it may be taken from us at any moment, is the most uncertain thing in the world, and that a thing which is so uncertain cannot be assigned as the payment of a debt which is certain. Whence it follows that it is our duty to act, in regard to time, as those do who, not having large revenues, do not expend the smallest portion of them in useless expenses, and derive the greatest possible advantage from those that they have. Is it thus that we have looked upon time?
The Way in which to Use Time Properly
First, we must perform at each moment what God asks of us in regard to that moment. Time being God’s and not ours, we have no right to put it to any other use except that which He wills, to give up the smallest particle of it to the like or dislike of the moment, and to take counsel of caprice respecting the employment to be made of it. Second, we must do everything with a view to pleasing God. God recompenses only what is done for Him. The Pharisees might perform as many good works as they chose; Jesus Christ declared that they would not receive any recompense for them, because they did them that they might be esteemed by men, and not from a desire to please God. Oh, what merits are lost in this way! Third, we must do everything in the best possible manner. “In all thy works keep the pre-eminence.” (Ecclus. 33:23) To do things negligently and imperfectly when we are proposing to do them for God, is to be wanting in respect to God; for the more eminent the person is for whom we are laboring, the more what we do for him ought to be carefully performed and perfect in every respect. For whom are you performing that action? St. Ignatius asked, on a certain occasion, one of his brethren who was negligent in his office. I am doing it for God, he replied. So much the worse, St. Ignatius answered; if you had been doing it for me I would have forgiven you for having done it badly; but as it is for God you are performing it you are inexcusable to put so little zeal into it and to do it so carelessly.
Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.