The Church often explains the liturgical year (and the liturgy of the hours) as “time made holy.”
A person who pays attention to the liturgical year will encounter a cycle of experiences: the hope and expectancy of Advent, the amazement and joy of Emmanuel, God-With-Us, at Christmas (and for all of us! at Epiphany), the memory of our failings and the fallen human condition in Lent, the deep Mystery of the Triduum and joy at a salvation we could not achieve for ourselves in the Easter Season; then Pentecost brings the Holy Spirit to lead us into a time of following Jesus in his many teachings on how to live our life in this world.
That cycle becomes a spiral; each time we move through it, we are changed. We come around to the next liturgical year different than when we began.
Since the 1925 encyclical Quas Primas, the liturgical year has a celebration at its end – a celebration of Christ’s kingdom beyond all time, in which worship and liturgy are eternal. This celebration of Christ the King offers us the possibility to think about time.
Time as God’s gift
Time must be a gift from God (although we often wish He made just a little more of it). If God exists outside of time, beyond time, where time doesn’t matter (“a thousand years are like a day…”) – and if we believe that all of creation is God’s handiwork – we find that God gave us mortals something He doesn’t need himself: time, the linear occurrence of one thing after another. With this gift of time, we have the potential to grow and change, to know Him better. While we rail against time – our lives are too short, we don’t have enough time in the day, everyone wants my time – there is something even in these experiences that is a gift from God.
As we celebrate Christ the King and prepare for the new Year of Grace 2011, perhaps we can take some time this week to welcome God’s gift of time, and to ask for the grace to receive both the linear beginning-to-end of life and the spiral of the liturgical year as pure gift – and to be open to whatever God intends to bring through it.
- Christ the King… and Lord of the Rings (whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com)