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Sr. Ruth Droege, OP, PhD


I recently purchased hearing aids.  The ones I was using were four years old, and it was time to invest in new ones. I was hearing okay with the old; because of the expense, I had put the purchase off. Once I began wearing the new, I became aware of what I had been missing – not only details of conversation and bird song but also the “tick-tock” of the clock as it marked the passing of time.

Time for us seems very real. We can be early or late for lunch, too late, and we miss a meal. It may come as a surprise, but some scientists do not recognize the reality of time. For them, all of the “real stuff” was present from the first moment of creation.  For them there has simply been the reshuffling of bits of matter, resulting in nothing new. They think that we who live in the microcosm of our world construct the illusion of time to help us survive. Time gives us the feeling that we can do something that is worthwhile – we can be on time.

These reshuffled bits of matter, according to the law of conservation of energy and entropy mean that nothing we do, nothing we create, will be lasting. Our world will ultimately run out of energy and die. The poet, Swinburne, gives us insight into this grim reality.

Then star nor sun shall waken,

Nor any change of light:

Nor sound of water shaken,

Nor any sound or sight:

Nor wintery leaves nor vernal,

Nor days or things diurnal;

Only the sleep eternal

In an eternal night.

For myself, and for a great many others, time is experienced as a reality and not as an illusion. We celebrate birthdays and the passage of time.  We are corrected if we are late for work.  To support the intuition that time is real we can turn to Teilhard De Chardin and to Sacred scripture, hearing what both have to tell us.

From the time of the “Big Bang”, from the Beginning”, Teilhard saw the cosmos as evolving into “new stuff”: gases, molecules, water, life, plants, animals, and human beings with reflective thought who know that they know, into the capacity humans have of making good choices or destructive ones. Teilhard felt that in the end good would prevail, that life would somehow continue beyond death.  He reasoned that humans would simply stop trying to use time fruitfully if this were not true.

Sacred Scripture tells us that Jesus Christ was born and by this birth entered time, that he died and rose again on the third day, and that God’s mercy and love triumphed over death. All of this is recaptured in the hymn, O Salutaris.

O saving Victim,

Who expandest the door of heaven,

Hostile armies press,

Give strength, bear aid.


To the One and Triune Lord,

May there be everlasting glory;

Who life without end

Gives us in the Homeland.

I hear again the ticking of the clock:  “tick – tock tick tock”. I listen to the Word of God. I pray not only to understand the Word but also to be open to the love of God which gifts all who dwell in the cosmos Life without end.

Preachers of  Truth • Love • Justice