Life is a terrible thing to waste
In our Lord’s short earthly life, not a moment was wasted. In imitation of Christ, we should make each day — every moment, every hour — something which continually consoles Him. No opportunity comes around twice, in exactly the same way. When we assume that, strange things happen — cars and computers fail, storms arrive, illness hits, jobs change. Our Lord has allotted each person specific gifts and an unrepeatable purpose — and a finite span in which to accomplish it. Each moment really matters.
Life is not for ‘having a good time.’ But you’d never know it, looking at what’s seemingly important to so many. In our region, highways to the beaches are jammed like panicked ant colonies each warm-weather weekend; once there, parking is impossible, restaurants are backed up, and crowds sprawl. Bars have standing room only, including straight out the door and down the sidewalk. Some spend entire days at the taproom. Sunday Mass there looks like a we-gotta-sit-foran-hour sacrifice, with most dressed in shorts, tank tops and sundresses — while hymns aren’t sung, prayers are mute, and people rub each other’s shoulders. Then the whole exercise repeats on Sunday night, with exit highways swarming in reverse with outbound traffic. But God’s a cool guy — he’ll understand. There’s other stuff to do…time is so short on precious weekends.
Life is a stewardship, given to each in exact measure — with talents, resources, people, work, and time to employ wisely. Our lives and our faith are serious business — for ourselves, for others in our stewardship, and for the ultimate ‘profits’ God expects in return. So if that’s the case, whittling away life — partying and carousing, avoiding duties, sloppy comportment, needless consumption, coarse conversation — has no place. They demean our purpose, and distract from crucial focus.
We might realize this at different junctures, but hopefully it eventually hits home. I remember when our eldest son was a baby – it was the first time I saw how much time and money I’d wasted previously. Suddenly it all counted, or else we’d miss getting a shower, being dressed properly, baby fed and cleaned up, and errands accomplished. Then, I had to be on a 7 a.m. train into the city on weekdays, which meant being up at 5, ready by 6, tending baby by 6:15, greeting babysitter at 6:30. Traveling for business made home hours even tighter.
Years later when the kids were almost grown, we cared for my elderly dad, and again there was a sobering time constraint, which red-lined the leisurely newspaper reading, sleeping in, or staying out late with friends. Empty nesting was on hold: Dad needed us and trusted us. We couldn’t fall down on the job.
Just as in the parable of the unjust steward, we will be called by Christ to give settlement of our accounts: every moment, every word, every gift, every action. A fruitful life is the greatest consolation we can offer Him — and then we will hear: “Well done, good and faithful servant… Enter into the joy of your master” (Mat 25:23).
CHRISTINE VALENTINE-OWSIK is Legatus magazine’s editor.