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Jan 10, 2020 57 0 Fr DAVID CARTWRIGHT
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Wasting Time With God

We make a serious mistake by seeking the gifts rather than the giver of the gifts. We do not simply “use” God for what we can receive. If this was the case, then we would just give up on prayer and give up on God, which is what many people do. They yearn for that instant gratification that the world offers in so many ways. This is a very childish way to see prayer. We often look for God—when we want something and think we can turn on God—as easily as we get water from a tap.

We refuse to wait for fast food. We get frustrated in traffic. If the internet is too slow we start yelling at the screen! Let me be bold. Do not be afraid to “waste time with God” because it is not wasting time. Rather, it is the best possible use of our time. What better use of God’s gift of time could there be than to use it in praise of the Creator of time?

Think of the times when we received gifts of new clothes from our parents. Did we not make sure they saw us wearing them to show our appreciation? Do we not use things of this world for the purpose for which they were created? We use water to sustain our life and our world. We use the sunlight to receive warmth, grow things and store energy. We ought to use the gift of time to return God’s love, to develop the gifts He has given us and to use them to serve Him and our neighbours. Just because we do not see instant results we should not give up.

Think of the example of Saint Teresa of Calcutta. We know that for much of her life her prayer was dry and unrewarding. If she had given up, how much poorer would the world be? There is merit in persevering and looking beyond the rewards of this life and the quick fixes and the “buzz” we often expect. This explains why so many people turn to unhealthy behavior and get stuck in patterns of sin. When we receive stimulation from something (or someone) we can become addicted to the response. It develops an addiction in us and thereby we seek it more and more.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, have the courage to look beyond the gratifications of this world and the lies it offers you. Recall that wonderful and challenging quote from Pope Benedict XVI: “The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort, you were made for greatness.”

Achieving this greatness means “wasting time” with God, letting Him take the first place in your life. Giving Him permission to be Lord and master of everything and not seeking to replace Him by the things of this world or the fleeting effects and comforts it offers to you.

In my ministry as a vocations director, I work with many young people in discernment. One of the first things I ask them is to learn to appreciate silence and simply spending time with the Lord. They tell me that it is hard to start with; we all know that.

Start small—give the Lord 10 minutes a day, a few times a week, then begin to increase the time. We cannot climb Mount Everest with one step. It takes many small steps. Start wasting time with God in small steps and then take bigger ones. I know a man who did this a few years ago. His five minutes with God turned to 10 minutes a day. Then after a few months 10 minutes turned to 30 minutes. Before he knew it, he was peacefully spending one hour a day in prayer. He is now a happy and peaceful priest, teaching others to pray, from his own experience.

The next time you feel bored or are tempted to pull out your phone—stop!

Think about why you are doing that. For what are you searching? What is the gap in your life you are trying to fill? What is the issue you are trying to run away from?

I recently saw an advertisement for a restaurant, which challenged families to put their mobile phones in a box at the table so they could spend the time talking and listening to each other. If they succeeded in doing this for the entire meal they would receive a free ice cream. Friends, spending time with Jesus is much more rewarding than ice cream. It reveals who is most important.

Instead of searching on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat—search for God. Use the gift of the time He has given you, at this moment, to turn to Him. He will fulfil you more than anything or anyone ever could. Remember that you were made for greatness and that greatness can be achieved by “wasting time with God!”

Fr DAVID CARTWRIGHT

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