EPHESIANS 4:22-24: “To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
The Rock Foundation as to why we are here on earth, the purpose and end of our existence, is that we are called to praise God, reverence God, love God, serve God, and by means of that to save our immortal soul so as to be happy with God in heaven for all eternity! God has put all of creation at our disposal to achieve that end. But like our first parents, Adam and Eve, we have free will; we can choose either to use or abuse God’s creation. In this meditation, for our enlightenment and edification, let us look more closely at how we are called to use and not abuse all of God’s creation and creative gifts so as to attain heaven!
ALL IS GOOD. Indeed, all that God created is Good! The problem stems from the fact that we do not always use the wonderful gifts of God properly; in other words, we sometimes abuse these gifts. In this very prevalent abuse of God’s gifts is the origin of all the problems and evil in life.
ABUSING: HOW??? We can abuse God’s gifts in many manners and fashions. As Aristotle points out: through excess or defect. An obvious example is that of food. Do you eat to live or live to eat? Excess? Yes, to eat too much is to abuse by excess and can result in damaging one’s health. Defect? On the contrary, not eating sufficient, the other extreme, can also damage one’s health. Eating the wrong foods compromises one’s health as well.
WRONG TIME AND PLACE. We can abuse God’s gifts by carrying out certain works or actions in the wrong time and place. Playing baseball is a great sport, but not if it is being played in the middle of Church during Sunday Mass.
WRONG INTENTION. Man sees the appearance, the mere exterior, but God sees and reads the heart. Therefore, not only do we have to perform good actions, using the goods of creation properly, but also our intentions and motivations should be pure and pleasing to God. One can carry out a good action in order to be praised and admired, but this is wrong because it is vanity and pride. Saint Ignatius’ motto says it all: AMDG—Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (to the greater glory of God). That is to say, we should do all of our actions for the honor and glory of God and the salvation of souls.
With this introduction and explanation, let us meditate upon a Biblical passage to help us arrive at and achieve the grace of a proper use of all of God’s creation so as to give Him the greatest honor and glory, and as a result, save our soul and advance the salvation of a rich harvest of souls! As Saint Paul reminds us: “Whether you eat or drink, do all for the honor and glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31)
ECCLESIASTES 3:1-8—A TIME FOR EVERYTHING!
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to plant and a time to uproot,
A time to kill and a time to heal,
A time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
A time to search and a time to give up,
A time to keep and a time to throw away,
A time to tear and a time to mend,
A time to be silent and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate,
A time for war and a time for peace.
1. APPOINTED TIME FOR EVERYTHING. In every action that we are called to carry out there is an appointed time. Look at your life—the months, the weeks, the days, the hours, the minutes—and examine your use of time!
2. TIME USED WELL OR WASTED? With respect to the time that God has given you, do you use your time to the very maximum to praise Him, to serve Him, to work for the salvation of your soul and the souls of others? Or are you at times lazy, indulgent, slothful, and disordered?
3. LIFE IS SHORT. You only have one life to live and as soon as you die, Judgment follows. Life is very, very short in comparison to eternity.
4. ETERNITY. Reflect on the shortness of your life compared to eternity. Saint Augustine says: “Our life in comparison with eternity is a mere blink of the eye.” Saint James says that our life is like smoke—blown by the wind and then gone! (Jas 4:14)
5. THE PSALMIST AND ETERNITY. The Psalmist offers us these short but very sobering words: “Our life on earth is like the flower of the field that rises in the morning and withers and dies as the sun goes down.” (Ps 103: 15-16) Let us meditate upon these words and Biblical passage to motivate us to order our lives and use all that God has given us to attain the salvation of our soul. Let us beg the Lord to help us to use and not abuse creation.
6. TIME, TREASURES, AND TALENTS. Another angle or perspective by which we can attain the grace of properly using creation is through alliteration— the famous 3 “T”s—proper use of our Time, Treasures, and Talents. Let us pray over this and examine our lives!
7. TIME. Go through your day. Honestly examine and humbly admit the time that you are wasting in perhaps frivolous, superficial, and useless pursuits, or possibly even in sinful activities. Call to mind the first preaching of Jesus: “Be converted for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” (Mk. 1:15)
8. TREASURES. Has God endowed you with certain treasures that you could be utilizing better? Are you hoarding? Is there some of the Dicken’s character Scrooge in you? Remember, Saint John Paul II challenges all of us to live the Law of GIFT!!! We are called to give to others all that we are and share with others all that we have. In other words, we are called to be truly a gift to humanity by our generosity. Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta put it in these words: “Give until it hurts!”
9. TALENTS. Read and Meditate on Mt. 25:14-30—Parable of the Talents. The last man, in this category of three servants endowed with talents from the Master, decided to make a hole and bury the one talent he had received, thereby receiving a sharp chastisement from the Master. In your meditation on the proper use of the goods of creation, you are challenged to analyze and examine your own personal life with great sincerity and be aware of the talents that God has so generously bestowed upon you. Following are two questions that you can bring to God, Giver of all good gifts, and pray over.
10. EXAMINATION OF MY PERSONAL TALENTS…
1) MY TALENTS! Am I aware of the many talents that God in His great love has given to me? Beg the Lord for greater knowledge and insight to discover and recognize your gifts and talents.
2) LAZINESS! Is it a sad truth that you are keenly aware of the many talents that God has given to you, but due to laziness, indolence, procrastination, putting off, or maybe even fear, these talents have never come to fruition? Now is the time to change! As Saint Paul reminds us: “Now is the day of salvation! The night is over and the day is upon us! Therefore, cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” (Rom 13:11-12)
3) PRAY!!! Pray fervently and beg for the generosity to order the disordered, to use all the gifts you have received for the honor and glory of God and the salvation of a rich harvest of souls! For therein lies your salvation! “Remember this, whoever turns a sinner from the error of their ways will save them from death, and cover a multitude of their own sins.” (Jas 5:20)