How do we experience time?

How do we experience time? Each day passes. Many of us go through our routines but never think about the mystery of time. Consider St. Augustine’s explanation of time. How do we understand time?

If nobody asks me about it, I know. If I want to explain it to somebody who asks me about it, I do not know.  – St. Augustine

Time is a mystery. Keeping time is a human invention. My dog sits near my desk. He does not seem to be aware of time that has passed or to worry about what is to come. 

In the Beatitudes, Jesus addresses worry. But, in some ways, he is really talking about worries about the future. Matthew 5.34, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. – Matthew 5.34

We need not worry about the future because worrying will do nothing to help us prepare for it. We can experience time as a gift. According to Paul Tillich, time holds our destiny. We will move forward in time whether we prepare for it or worry about it, or not. 

Getting stuck in the present moment can make us miss the future. See my post on Athanasius. Those who favor temporal things cannot stand up to future difficulties.

Tillich also suggests that time holds the power to receive eternity. We can look ahead and imagine an eternal future. This future connects us with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus, God-incarnate, connects us with eternity. But, eternity is not in the present. It is in the future. 

We can experience time as a gift and each day with gratitude.

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