01 September 2017

Each new day is a blank page presenting us with a host of possibilities on the horizons of our life.  This is the incredible gift that we call time.

In much of the world, September marks the beginning of school, and many families organize their life around this reality.  In other places, the rhythm of life stays as it was because New Year’s is at the center of the calendar and determines the changes.  In both cases, however, a host of possibilities is presented to us.  It is most natural to think that we will always see a new dawn, that we will have good health, and that life will hold many possibilities – but it is not always this way and neither is it so for everyone.

It is certain that time or, better, life – which has time as its measure – envelops a host of possibilities, relationships, and experiences…

Not long ago, I was speaking with a Brother in his 80s.  He was advising me to live my life with passion – squeezing out of it all I could, just as one would squeeze a lemon or a bunch of grapes to get out all the juice.  This is what this Brother, who has excellent intellectual, academic, and religious formation, told me.  He did not mean to say that one must live a crazy life, running from one place to the other, or seeking this or that because one is dissatisfied.  No.  He was referring, rather, to the impassioned exercise of taking control of one’s life, of this true gift received from the Lord of Life.

I wish to offer you some reflections about time and its possibilities.  Let’s imagine that there exists a bank which adds to our personal account 86,400 dollars every morning.  This strange bank does not carry over our funds from one day to the next, but every night it takes out of our personal account whatever we have not used.  Every one of us has an account in one of these banks!  What is the name on this bank?  Time!

Each day this bank, beyond adding new funds, removes whatever is left over from the day before.  It never keeps a balance.  If the full amount is not used up in one day, what remains is lost.  It cannot be reversed.

You cannot make any credit card charges to your account for the income of the following day.  You must live in the present with the funds for today.  So:

¨      To understand well the value of an entire year, we can ask a student who has had to repeat a course;

¨      To understand the value of a month, we can ask a mother who gave birth to her baby prematurely;

¨      To understand the value of a week, we can ask the editor of a weekly publication;

¨      To understand the value of an hour, we can ask the help of those who are in love and who expect to see their loved one at any moment;

¨      To understand the value of a minute, we can ask someone traveling who missed his or her plane or train by just one minute;

¨      To understand the importance of a second, we can ask someone who avoided an accident by one;

¨      To understand the value of a millisecond, we can ask the athlete who earned a gold medal in the Olympics by this margin.

Such is the value of time!

Thus, I think we should wish that each one of us treasure every moment of our lives.  Let us give much more importance to this treasure by sharing it with others who are most dear to us, especially by dedicating our time to them.

Let us not forget: time waits for no one.  Let us also remember what is most important of all: as believers, we know that time is only a means, but the gift is life itself, given for us to share, and in this sharing we are truly happy.

My wish for you, dear readers, is that we do not let life just pass us by or live it in any old way.  Once we have had the experience of living life fully, enjoying all the beauty and wonderful things that surround us – and even the difficulties which weigh us down at times – accepting this challenge becomes a passion. 

May you be happy!

Don Ángel Fernández Artime

Rector Major



ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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