Time and the Lenten Season

Time touches us. we are not timeless beings. We live in a time and experience a past, a present and a future. Time is not apriori. It is passing for us and we are touched by it. We are beings in time. Our relation to time is fundamental. The way we experience time often determines the way we live our life. This means the way we experience time may result in the transformation of our life. This Lenten season maybe we will do well if we transform our life by looking at the way experience time. To achieve this end, let us examine how we synthesize time. Martin Heidegger names it temporalizing or historizing. Maybe as time touches us, we will open our lives to the grace of our Lord and be touched and transformed.

Isaac Newton seems to think that time is the unmoved container in which the movement of matter takes place. This notion of time is required for thinking of everything as a representation as Plato does. The real is not so much accessible but what we access is its copy or representation. This means time is experienced as empty and apriori. In this way of thinking, time is required to keep it away from making it a subjective experience. Thus, we can think of representing time as well as everything happening within it as past, present and future. Thus, this abstraction of time as past, present and future enables us to think of an event as belonging to the past, present or future.

In contrast to this, we also have a subjective encounter with time before the event, during the event and after the event. This time cannot be represented and cannot be objectivated. It generates us and is generated by us. It can be lived by the individual person as difference and repetition. Gilles Deleuze teaches us this notion of time in his book, difference and repetition. Thus, for instance, Oedipus encounters that past event where he had killed his own father as repetition with a difference. This is a self-recognition of the past (anagnorisis). The present is also experienced as difference and repetition as Oedipus is enabled to own his new status as a killer of his father. The future is also repeated as a difference where Oedipus blinds himself for having killed and married his own mother. We can see how the past, present and future are synthesized as difference and repetition in the case of Oedipus. This means the threefold experience of time manifests three kinds of becomings in an individual (Oedipus).

This brings us to the saying yes to life, affirming the wonder of life. Friedrich Nietzsche taught us this affirmation of life. We affirm life when it returns to us with a difference. It opens us to the transformative power of what Nietzsche calls eternal return. This leads to self-transformation. Time, therefore, does not have mere passing value. We live in time and time lives in us. The individual experiences a kind of conversion or novelty. It is a return with a difference. It makes us live our life to the fullest. It makes us open to the past, future and present. Letting be becomes our ethical way of living. Letting be is not the ethics that wishes to match some given normative laws or principles. It is living at the religious level as taught by Soren Kierkegaard. It’s living our life in the hands of God. This is deeply mystical. It is living in the presence of God. While we need principles but what we really need is a Principal who is our God.

This experience of subjective time is required to live with the suffering of Christ within us and around us during the season of lent. When we synthesise the past, future and present as a recognition, we can trace, experience and live the Christic dimension in our lives and are enabled to transform ourselves. Therefore, how we think and experience time is fundamentally important to experience transformation. Our Being in time is important to understand our being with God. The flow of time that does not touches us will not transform us. When the flow of time becomes a lived time we are enabled to encounter the other/ the suffering Christ and are enabled to discern a past and a future to build a living graced present. This means we are enabled to repeat the passion, death and resurrection of Christ within us with our God-given uniqueness. This means we can repeat/ return to/ live the life of Christ with a difference.

May LENT happen to us this TIME.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao