Song du Jour

Song du Jour

Benedictine Thoughts, Teachings, and Prayers

Time Continuum

December 24, 2012


When we first see a wreath, we think of it as a “ring” having no end; it is eternal. An Advent wreath is round with evergreen branches denoting a spiritual “continuum,” a salvation of everlasting love having no end. Now when we add the candles, it becomes a “clock” as it marks time. I feel that it is very important to have the Advent wreath in a prominent place so that people can reflect on the week’s readings as we light a candle each week; the Advent calendar gives us a daily system of keeping track of the days; know that we have to be prepared at all times to die as we never know when the thief will come through the night and take us.  We must know that God is sending his Son to earth at the appointed time and that Mary’s womb is a clock that creates time and space for human development in a nine month period. The sun and moon for the people living two thousand years ago also gave them a natural clock to mark time.


There is a meaning of why we have clocks in our lives.  When we hear the tick-tock of the clock, you can sense the rhythmic beat and feel time move. According to Jim Slate, “a clock affects the psychology of a person in that it makes you intimately aware of time. When you hear the steady beat of the clock, you are brought back to the slipstream flow of action and events.”

“Time itself is an illusion. It is not a substance which can be felt or experienced, instead,” according to Jim Slate, “is an idea whereby we can measure how much action occurs by comparing it to other actions. The clock, with its steady movement, gives us constant action, against which we can measure our lives.”

But where I am going with this train of thought on the idea of time is that the clock is really an agreement, by all human beings, to abide by this particular measure of time. According to Jim Slate, “This agreement allows us to work together, to plan, and to collaborate, even from across the world. This is why accurate timekeeping is so important. Everything that occurs in the modern world has to be coordinated, or the machinery of life would run into itself, and break.”


But I also believe that just as we make an agreement with time, we make an agreement with God. We, ourselves, have a responsibility to God to take the time that he gives us liturgically and spiritually and use it to the best of our abilities. If we waste four weeks in Advent, we have lost a year in spiritual growth. If we lose six weeks in Lent, we have lost a year in spiritual growth. A clock is round so that we can see the rhythm of our days. Our liturgical clock tells us about the seasons of the church and so it goes on and on and on…


The beautiful aspect of what Jim Slate discusses in his sharing concerns the philosophy of the clock itself. All of you know that we share this planet with all of creation and this is how God wants us to live. Jim gives a simple explanation of the effect the clock has on humans…, “it is a reminder that we live in a world with other people, animals, nature and things, all moving at every moment.”


So now that we have reached the Fourth Sunday of Advent, we are anxiously awaiting for the mystery of God’s child to be revealed to us bringing us love and salvation for all humankind. It is such a joyous feeling to know that God’s plan was and is so awesome and that it all pertained to “time and space in his span of life as well as ours. We have to know by now, that this life is not as important as our eternal life of salvation. What we do here on this planet, is learn lessons so that we can achieve a place in God’s eternal Kingdom.”


So, there are many clocks ticking throughout the Advent season: the Advent wreath marks our Scriptural lessons for four weeks; children everywhere are checking off the days of the Advent calendar awaiting St. Nick to bring gifts and toys; the “O” Antiphons try mold our hearts so as to get us to fall in love with God’s Son. Now, the Christmas Clock is ticking for tonight and tomorrow…are we ready? The Holy Spirit will transform our hearts and give us expectant hearts allowing us to say, “Come, Lord Jesus…we are ready.”


Song du jour:  O Come O Come Emmauel


O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height,
In ancient times did'st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.


“That in all things God may be glorified”

Sr. Jo-El McLaughlin, OSB

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