NEW YEAR 2015
God gives us time
Time means for God the interval of waiting between him knocking at our door and the moment when we will open it wide to him. (“Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone will open to me I will enter in and dine with him” (Rev. 3:20). Time in this sense also implies the freedom of man and the great respect which God has for his creatures; God does not enter man's heart by force. Union with God in love can only be realized in our free response to the offer of this love; that is why God gives us time; and because of the respect which God has for man, this time is lived both by God and man… For there can be no question that when we do not hear the voice of God, or choose not to respond to it, we are simply waiting; we wait for all kinds of things, and as a result we live totally immersed in time. But when what we are waiting for is an event of great personal importance to us, then we become more conscious of the passage of time. And this waiting for some great event always has something joyful in it which occupies the soul and drives away its boredom. The most intense expectation or waiting, the greatest desire of all, is for the unreserved love of another person….
Time is like the distance between the two ends of a bridge. There is something ambiguous, uncertain about it. It is a state of movient in the direction either of death or fullness of life….
Time is only real and creative when a person is advancing, in his journey through time, towards the union of his own life with that of others and with the infinite life of God. Only in passing through time as a real journey do we reach eternity - not by trying to escape from time - because we pass through this real interval only insofar as we unite ourselves in love with the suprie Person of God….
Time which is only an interval between a person and the things he wants to snatch, or between himself and other persons considered as things to be dominated and exploited, is not properly time at all; it is simply a going forward in the desert of oneself towards total death. As long as we riain shut up in ourselves, God draws away from us, because we draw away from other people and cannot enter into personal communion with them….
Time will come to an end only when we have either made a complete and immediate response to the call of God, or when we have finally and definitively shut ourselves up in our own solitude where there is no call and no possibility of response any more. A constant refusal to respond to the offer of love fixes the creature spiritually in the total impossibility of communication. Here there is no more waiting, no more hope, no more expectation. It is doubtful whether in that state it means anything to speak about time at all, still less about the fullness of eternity….
Since in this condition there is no longer anything new, all we can properly speak about is an image of eternity turned completely inside out, the extrie opposite of true eternity: time made meaningless-useless by total iptiness and absence of all movient, of any direction or goal. The endless monotony of iptiness and the fullness of communion represent the two radically different forms of eternity. The first is the eternity of death and the second the eternity of life.
Fr. Dietrios Staniloae
From the booklet “Eternity and Time”