The Sense of Time

Reading from Ecclesiastes or Qoheleth (22:48)

There is such a notion in spiritual life as the “remembrance of death”. Remembrance of death is a gift of God, which is not perceived profoundly and spiritually by all people. “Remembrance of death” sounds a little fierce, I would call it “a sense of time”. Those who feel time come into the state of the all-wise Solomon the Ecclesiast. The sense of time brings a human to a sober and wise state. What do I mean by state? When people have a constant sense of time they take everything as ephemeral, everything they come across in their lives- both sorrows and joy. They welcome joy without exaggerative euphoria or unreasonable delight, as they know that the earthly joy is temporary. The same goes with sorrow, they overcome it humbly, mildly and patiently as they realize that the sorrow won’t last long. They come to realize these things, due to life experience, and it is also good when this realization also comes from the Holy Spirit. At that moment, people start to perceive time and feel the vanity of vanities in it. They see that everything comes and goes and passes away. Thus, their attitude becomes even. Neither happy moments make them too emotional nor grievances make them fall into despair and feel as if everything will end. 

Therefore, ask God to award you with the sense of time. We can also call it the sense of death. When people have it, they become humble and bear everything with stillness of soul. On the other hand, we can’t take and insert it theoretically into our hearts. I suppose, we should suffer and live through hard times to achieve it. Grief and life itself wizen up a person. Some people consider our time as horrible, some think it is unusual and for somebody else, it is noble and wise. We have come to a point when everything is unstable in this world, we have no idea of what to expect tomorrow, whether we will have halcyon days or the end times will come. Now we remain in this state and wander. All we need is to have the understanding of the Ecclesiast in order to overcome these troublesome, dangerous, complicated and dark times without getting hysterical. Many Christians, waiting for the end times, catch this hysteria, which makes them do foolish things.  The more complicated the time is, the more wisdom and patience we should have. But we can’t have them for nothing, we should gain them through our spiritual life. That is why, living in such a troublesome or even a frightening time we should speculate less and pay more of our attention to prayer and spiritual life. Speak less about the Last Day, plots and other scary issues and pray more.  If God lets us live in these times we should not, as per St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov), “attempt to stop the flow of this river with our feeble hand”. In other words, do not attempt to stop the course of history. 

We have to live through this time, but the way we will live through it, is up to us.  People can’t interfere with the providence of God, but we can change our attitude and live spiritually or thoughtlessly. All that God gives is goodness, He doesn’t bring anything evil. We either draw something good from His wisdom or foolishly make things worse for ourselves. Now we should not argue, gossip, search for the news, but pray very hard instead. “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us”.

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