St Paul asks us to “use the present opportunity to the full”. (Ephesians 5.15)
“For time is a gift You give to us,
But a perishable gift,
A gift that does not keep”
As I read this this morning in Michel Quoist’s “Prayers of Life”, I looked out at the garden at the grey, blustery scene. The dogwood has a few yellow/green leaves. It is in a turmoil of wind intent on stripping it utterly. The laburnum IS naked, and as shrouded in the sleep of winter as it shall ever be.
It was this sight that revived a memory of May, half a year away now. Then, a lively breeze was blowing, but the laburnum was extravagantly alive. The pendant yellow blossom tossed in the air with joy and rejoicing. Of course, the rejoicing was mine, for who can resist such a declaration of joy in the midst of such a resurgence of life?
Time is a perishable gift. Had I not noticed the laburnum blossom on that particular morning, engaged in its delightful dance, I should have sustained a great and irreplaceable loss: for the moment, any moment of glory, is short-lived. And all are necessary and complement each other in making the grand design. The “moments” themselves are gratuitous, the integration and consolidation of them to form the complete picture is in our hands.
St Paul and Michel Quoist are reminding us of the same important truth:
“use the present opportunity to the full” because the gift (of time) does not keep. It is not really the gift of time, but the “moment” that concerns us. We use the word time to designate that ever-flowing flux of events in which is secreted an infinite potential of “moments of insight”. When such a moment is plucked from the great cauldron of time, it is the result of a divine act of revelation we call grace. When it happens God is calling to us saying “Look now; grasp this moment, for it is part of your eternal joy”.