Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Just for The Record

And I mean that, literally. Here's a piece (pdf version) I published in The Record, "Australia's oldest weekly newspaper" (est. 1874). It presents "Catholic news and opinion from Perth, Australia, and the world." (I guess I qualify for that last one).

And so, for the droves of Record readers who come here as a result of the article, welcome to DOH!

UPDATE: it seems that despite the magic of computer wizardry, most of DOH's fans are having difficulty opening the pdf link. So here's the plain old text of the piece.

God is present in every moment of our time

December wasn’t long enough; it never is. How I wish I’d have done less rushing around, doing the necessary evils (shopping, office parties, meetings, recitals), and spent more time with loved ones: more time with aging parents, with the aunt in the senior’s home, with the friend who has cancer, with our daughter who has now travelled the 500 km back to university, not to be seen again for months—more ‘quality’ time with my husband and younger children, whom I see every day, but sometimes don’t “see” at all. More time in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

Having just rung out the old year and ushered in the new, “Time” may be on our minds these days. What did I accomplish last year? Did I meet all my goals? Did I meet any of them? What do I hope to achieve in the New Year? We make resolutions, surely one of which is better time management.

For some, especially those who are suffering, elderly, or lonely, time may drag interminably—it doesn’t need to be managed so much as endured. For others, time goes by all too quickly. Those of us who are living through the double-whammy of being middle-aged and far too busy with family life and community activism can sometimes get confused—as I remarked to my sister a month or so ago: “I can hardly believe 2010 is coming to a close.” There’s nothing like momentarily losing an entire year to make one sit up and take notice that perhaps things have gotten away from you.

We are (quite naturally, in a fast-paced world) obsessive about time: we wear watches, carry datebooks, calendars and schedules (if not the archaic paper variety, then in digital form: iPads and iPods and iPhones and iThings too numerous to name). I’ve even programmed my new laptop to tell me (out loud, in a semi-human voice) what time it is, on the hour, every hour, so that I don’t waste too much time on the computer. Since I have relatives, friends, and even editors (groups not mutually exclusive) living in various time zones all over the planet, my laptop also displays clocks telling me the time in the UK, Prague, Australia, New Zealand.

We follow friends and celebrities on Twitter and Facebook for minute-by-minute updates on their every thought (and bodily function). Constantly online, we don’t bother reading news that’s more than six hours old. We even like to remind God what time it is: bold reformers in the Church constantly tell the Holy Father that he should change Church teaching to ‘get with the times.’

I am grateful for the season of Advent, now past (and all too quickly, alas), which tells us, in the bustle and frenzy of Christmas preparations, that Christ is Lord of all eternity, and sooner or later, we will be joining Him there. That God exists outside of time, and therefore, at least on a certain level, so must we.

Time is on our side, because God created it; it is there to serve us, and in turn we must use it to serve Him. We shouldn’t seek to conquer it, slow it down, speed it up, pass it, waste it, much less kill it. In every moment, God is eternally present to us. Whether our lives consist of empty loneliness or harried activity, we must, mind and soul, be eternally present to him, because we know neither the day nor the hour when he will call us physically to Himself.

We don’t need New Year’s resolutions or the strength to carry them out, because inevitably they ask more of us than we seem to have (hence, the abandonment of such resolutions by the third week of January). What we need is to remember that God is in charge, and everything will unfold according to His plan. Mainly we need to repent of our stubbornness in cooperating with Him, and have a firm purpose of amendment to do a better job of knowing, loving and serving Him—not in the next decade, or year, or upcoming week, but during the next sixty minutes of our life. He’ll take care of the rest. 

 Happy New Year. 

Copyright 2012, The Record, Perth, Western Australia


  1. Grrrrrrr I can't access it without a Google account.

  2. I am also not able to access this, and I have a Google account. I'm getting redirected to a page where they're asking me to set up a Gmail account in order to get the piece. Anyone else having better luck?

  3. Oh, sorry about that! This can probably be blamed on my complete lack of computer skills or something. I'll just post the text.

  4. Lovely, Mrs. P. Thank you for posting the text.

  5. Worth the wait. Beautiful.
    Happy New Year.