January 6, 2016 - “To all things there is a time, and a season for every matter”

January 6, 2016

“To all things there is a time, and a season for every matter” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

“There are two criteria for judging virtue in everything that we try to do in this life, symmetricalness and the right season. And this is what is taught now by saying “everything has its time (chronos) and everything has its season (kairos)”. We should regard time (chronos) as meter, because everything that takes place is enhanced together with time. These are the criteria of virtue….

Who does not know that even virtue is a measurement that is measured by the mean of those things that are thought to be next to it? Virtue cannot take place if it falls short of the required meter or if it exceeds it….

But we will deal with the right season (kairos) in the same fashion. Virtue cannot be regarded neither when one rushes before the right season nor when one delays. What profit does the farmer have if he harvests his wheat before it matures and his crops before they ripen or if he delays in labors of the harvest so much that the seeds fall from the stalks?....

But why did we make this proleptic examination? Because virtue is not without meter or without season; virtue is preferably that which takes its perfection from the two. If we choose one of these and ignore the other, it will be unavailing because that which will be missing is that which we have ignored….

In season (kairos) there is symmetricalness and in symmetricalness  there is season. This is very useful. We put meter in place of time because time is the meter by which everything is measured. Everything that takes place, takes place within time; as long as the birth of everything is prolonged, the space of time is also extended; the less to the brief, the longer to the further….     

He who sets time,  separates with his reason all the irregularities in applying a meter according to [time (chronos) and season (kairos]. By doing this, he repudiates excessive time and denies the lack of it….”    

St. Gregory of Nyssa
n Ecclesiastes 
Sixth Homily