By MARIA SERMERSHEIM
God’s Providence works through time in the most beautiful ways, and we should tend more graciously to that fact and bless his name.
When milestones arrive—especially in the spring, with graduations, ordinations, and weddings galore—we love to proclaim how “crazy” the occasion is because time seems to have passed so quickly. “It’s crazy” that this school year is complete, “it’s insane” that my little brother is graduating high school, “can you believe” my friends have been married for a year already? Often, polite company shakes its head in agreeing disbelief; yes, so insane that it has been more than a year of COVID-19; wow, it is crazy that we are nearing June 2021. These tropes are tiring, though, and I disagree with them. The time is ripe. The time is right.
Each time I hear these phrases, now, I want to examine the instance and ask what else could be said. I want to interrogate my own impulse to respond in shock to the passage of time because this perpetual circumstance of our lives is well-ordained by God. Ecclesiastes 3:11 declares that “He has made everything appropriate to its time and has put the timeless into their hearts....” Everything is appropriate to its time, and we can sense this more keenly if we reflect more regularly on the Lord’s work in our lives. No, I do not think it is “crazy” that time seems to pass so quickly; as my friend Jessica said, I think it is “wonderful” in the literal sense: full of wonder.
The finitude we experience as beings defined by time can be frustrating or surprising because the Lord hid “the timeless” in our hearts. Our Father’s Providential ways are mysterious, and our hearts made for Him are restless in pursuit—and often confused. The many activities of our lives distract us until the milestones jump out and force us to do a double take. But as much of a double take as it may be, I protest the shock, and I propose we praise our Lord.
Scripture instructs us (and all of creation) to “bless the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever” (Dan 3:87). As I have quoted before, the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass is prefaced with, “It is truly right and just, our duty and salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks….” Let’s reevaluate our bafflement at the passage of time. Instead of expressing astonishment, I suggest a remedy of reflection on the wonders the Lord worked in that time. I suggest we render praise to our God, always, everywhere, forever.