It’s the first question to start the Lenten Series by the Brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal Monastery in Cambridge, MA: What is your relationship to time?
I blog about “our relationship to God and others”, but I have never thought about the word “relationship” also meaning a type of “connection” between two things, such as the “mathematical relationship” between the diameter of a circle and its area.
As I contemplate my “connection” to time, I recall periods where my relationship was not a good one, where I spent my most precious resource on the wrong things. At other times, I felt like I was doing the right things, but perhaps too much of them, leaving me perpetually exhausted and irritable.
I realize now that my relationship to time has a direct effect on my relationship with God and others.
At a workshop at the Monastery in January on the “Holiness of Time”, Brother Geoffrey Tristram suggested that our first step is to understand the importance of time and identify how we spend it. He shared that even small changes can help us to re-order our relationship with time.
Brother Geoffrey provided an example: instead of grabbing our phones to check email or Facebook when we first awake, we should take our first five minutes and spend them in prayer for ourselves and others. This allows us to have a conversation with God before we are overwhelmed with the tasks and appointments that the world has given us for the day.
In January 2015, I became a member of the Fellowship of Saint John. One of the commitments that I made as a Fellow is to pray for the Brothers daily. Since mid-January, I have started my day not with email or Facebook, but instead praying The SSJE Brothers’ daily prayer:
“O God, you caused your blessed evangelist Saint John so eminently to receive the love of your Son Jesus Christ: Grant to us your servants that we may evermore abide in that love, and accomplish your holy will. Watch over the Society of Saint John the Evangelist for good. Give your elect angels charge concerning us, and make your Holy Spirit to rule our hearts, that our lives may be holy, our prayers acceptable, our wants supplied, our words directed, and our work prospered, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
It is one small step on the road to reclaiming time in my life.
Blessings, my friend,