For The Time, BEING Senior Thoughts on the Eternal Now

Spiritual Reflections on the Solemnity of Christ the King by Fr Roderick Salazar SVD

“For the time being” is a phrase that means “for now”
or “for the present – until something else happens”.

For The Time Being is a long poem by W.H. Auden written
during the dark days of World War II, in 1941 and 1942.
It was meant to be a Christmas Oratorio but it did not come
to be as intended. Still, it remains a powerful thought about
the meaning of Christmas. As a reviewer once so aptly said
about it, “For Auden, Christmas is … an annual reminder that
God has acted and is acting ‘to redeem from insignificance’
the monotonous sludge of our everyday routines..”

This Auden poem I hope to dwell on at length later.
For now, “for the time being” , I just note his work.
(Christmas, after all, is just a month away.)

“For the Time, BEING ” (the comma is deliberate) is a thought
that comes after seeing a video that Carol sent me. I guess she
sent it to others, too. In my turn, I have passed it forward.

Five senior ladies take turn sharing their views on life:

“If I were a young woman now, I am not sure how I’d cope…”

“With all the things that you have – the opportunities, the
technology, I’d like to think it would be a world of PLEASURE..”

“But I fear instead it would only be a world of PRESSURE”
“Pressure to be the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the
perfect friend..” “Pressure to be successful, a boss, a leader..”

“If I had my time again, I wouldn’t create a ‘TO DO’ list.
I’d create a “TO DON’T DO” list.”

“I’d give myself the time to indulge in the things that I now
understand to be the most important..”

“What I wouldn’t give… to extend those goodnight kisses…
instead of moaning about how to get up early in the morning..

“What I wouldn’t do to give some extra second of cuddling my
babies before they became too big to hold..

“What I wouldn’t give for five more minutes on the dance floor
while my legs were still strong enough to carry me..”

“And this isn’t about stopping our fight for equality..”

“Mine was the generation who burnt their bras…
“But we were never in danger of burning out…”

“No, this is simply about being you – as a human being.

There’s the most important word – BEING.

“BEING lost in the moment ..

BEING at peace with the world..

BEING kinder to myself, being kinder to others..

BEING able to let go and being proud to do so..”

“Believe me, if I were a young woman now..
I’d spend more time BEING — NOT — doing.”

Lady friends who saw the video say they appreciate it, and
agree with what the video ladies were sharing. Men friends, too.

Others acknowledge they do have regrets, while still others say
they have none at all. Some express the Paul Anka lyrics given
to Frank Sinatra to sing in MY WAY: “regrets I’ve had a few
but then again too few to mention. I did what I had
to do and saw it through without exemption…”

Life happened as it did, for better or for worse, with all
the joys and the sorrows, the pain and the tears, the smiles,
between the “could have” and the “would have been”.

What might have been was never meant to be.

Some frankly admit that yes, in younger years, especially in the
province far from the metropolis, BEING myself came naturally.
But coming to the big city changed my life. My profession –
even my profession of vows in the “religious life” — made me
spend most of my life DOING, rather than BEING. Sigh.

But what is done is done. Things not done remain undone.
So now, while I still have time – older now, of course, but hopefully
wiser, too – I can and I shall go back to becoming a human BEING.

For the time in my life remaining, BEING is my goal.

No better model for this than our Blessed Virgin Mary.

Today is the memorial of her presentation to God in the temple.
There really is no scriptural reference to this event. What we have
is the presentation of Our Lord Jesus in the Temple in Jerusalem
while he was but a few days old. Two old people, Simeon and Anna,
are part of this episode (Luke 2,22-38). Given this story, early Christians tell of how the parents of Mary presented her to God in the temple when she was just three years old. What the Feast now presents is Mary, being Mother of Jesus, as the Temple of God.

The balance between BEING and DOING is seen in two
prominent words or phrases recorded as being said by Mary.

“Let it BE done” and “DO whatever He tells you.”

The first is her answer to the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation.
The second is her remark to the waiters at the Wedding in Cana.

LET IT BE ushered in the becoming man of the Divine Word.
Otherwise Eternal Spirit, He entered time as human – BEING.

DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU prompted the start of the
proclamation that the Kingdom of God had arrived – in Him.
Jesus Christ, the best wine for the wedding feast, had come.

Fitting thoughts to celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King.

BEING human, He showed what human DOING is supposed to be.
DOING human acts, He showed what each human BEING can be.

LOVE your neighbor, not just as you love yourself, BUT
AS I love you: to the point of death, even to death on the cross.

DO GOOD not just to those who do good to you
but even to those who don’t.

BE NEIGHBOR not just to the one next to you
but to ANY ONE in need. ANY WHERE. ANY TIME.

You want to be FIRST, be willing to be LAST.

You want to LIVE, know how to DIE.

DIE to yourself. LIVE in Me.

Whatever you do to the LEAST of your sisters and brothers,
you do to ME. Whatever. Big or small. What ever.

I am KING. I am LORD. But I washed your feet. In love.
What I have done for you, DO to others.

By the love you show to the least, the world will know
you are Mine. Not by the prayers you say or the songs
you sing or the processions you follow but by your LOVE.

For the time, BEING you being Me on earth,
your reward shall be BEING with Me for all eternity.

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