"At times I think most of the lessons to be learned from observing life and what is around is are all summed up in this: they are invitations, reminders, alarms telling us to use the moments, the days, the years well and from our depths. Generally, these lessons tell us, rule out certain ways of using time as beneath the dignity of ourselves and of time itself."— Don Talafous OSB
This is an interesting perspective. We don’t often think about the dignity of man and time. We live life oftentimes aimlessly, thinking that it doesn’t matter one way or the other. But it does matter. We have been stamped with the image of God and that alone gives incredible worth and dignity to every person – from the President of the United States to the homeless man under the freeway. As St. Benedict advocates, look for the face of Christ in every person. How our perspective would change if we consistently implemented this. Gossip, criticism, slander, grumbling would fade away. We would seek to help and serve the other. Can you imagine?
Here’s a further thought. If we bear the image of God, why would we waste our time on frivolous things that are of no eternal value? Aren’t our lives worth more than that? God’s image gives a dignity to our lives. We should take care of our lives with that same dignity and respect. You have been handed something very precious! Ask yourself, “Is this beneath the dignity of someone who bears the image of God?” For many of our activities, would we answer in the affirmative?
In a similar manner, we live our lives as if we had all the time in the world. In reality, our days are numbered. Why wouldn’t we want to spend them in the best way possible? Remember as a kid (if you are a Baby Boomer) when you went to the fair or carnival and your parents bought tickets for you? You had 10 tickets in your hand to use however you wanted. Your parents reminded you that once those tickets were gone, there were no more. As a child, it seemed an impossible task – weighing which rides or games were worthy of those tickets! There weren’t enough tickets to do everything. Likewise in our own life. Contrary to our culture’s message – that we can experience it all – we won’t be able to. Choices must be made. Time is precious, just as gems are precious. It does not exist in limitless quantities and, once found, it must be guarded and treasured.
“Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.” Psalm 90:12