T. S. Eliot suggested that “the time of death is every moment” in his long masterpiece poem Four Quartets.
This New Years Day 2012, it’s an appropriate occasion to focus on how God sanctifies time via the Incarnation, wherein Christ becomes the center of history and, as Eliot called it, “the still point of the turning world”.
And Christ enters time in a way unconsciously suggested by Thomas Merton in his New Seeds of Contemplation. The rich man is to enter the Kingdom of Heaven as a camel through a needle’s eye. If we are poor in spirit, who is richer than the God the Son? In him, the grandeur–the infinity–of God squeezes into a single cell in the womb of Mary. Gabriel said to this Blessed Virgin that “nothing is impossible for God”. Jesus, in response to his disciples’ near despair, said exactly the same thing–verbatim!–about how for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven is harder than a camel passing through the eye of a needle. God the Son had already done this “impossible”, forfeiting his riches, “emptying himself, taking on the form of a slave, becoming obedient unto death, even death on a cross!” (as we know St. Paul writes).
Every moment is a chance for each of us to do the same on a less grand scale. Let this be the year to do it, one moment at a time, until we, by repetition, find the shedding of our meager “riches” (what really amounts to our selfish pride) becomes more and more habitual. And then we may find that we have, perhaps barely realizing it, traded our false idea of freedom for the real thing.