Moments that last for Eternity

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Province of “Our Lady of Pilar”, Spain
September 5, 2023

“What is time?” St. Augustine once asked himself, without throwing himself into trying to decipher this enigma, he launched into an attempt but which, in the end, in his very characteristic style, he concluded by saying, “If no one asks me, I know; but if I had to explain it to someone I would not know how to do it.” And the fact is that, in reality, man has a special place within the universe created by God, within what is reality, man is at the center, “on the horizon of the corporal and the spiritual “1, “at the boundary between time and eternity “2.

In our personal lives, in our apostolic and pastoral experiences, in our spiritual experiences, in our relationships with souls, with God, we are all the time involved in a mixture of intense moments, feelings of helplessness, responsibilities, heavy burdens, joys that leave us euphoric, sorrows that take away our desires, acts that require a tiny moment to cause a very significant weight on the consequences it brings with it. We live this reality at all times, sin is the most significant and striking example of this truth, temporary acts that weigh in eternity. But it is not the only one. Many of you, members of our small Religious Family have already had the grace of making your perpetual vows, a grace that has been granted to myself and the seminarian, Douglas Siqueira, on August 6, feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, a feast proper to our charism.

During the moving celebration presided over by our Provincial Superior, Fr. José Gabriel Vicchi, and with the presence of several of our missionaries from different partsof the Province, we had the grace of giving ourselves completely to the Whole, without becoming parts of it (St. Teresa of Jesus), in a definitive and perpetual way. The anxiety that always follows these great moments, gives place to the emotion, the strong beating of the heart in the moments before the beginning of the Holy Mass, rise of level and the mixture of joy, emotion, realization, etc., etc., etc. make that the words almost do not come out, that the tears fight to let themselves go down the cheeks, it is a very important surrender, one is giving oneself completely forever, again there we realize this dimension that we have spoke, acted, in an instance lasts for eternity.

The emotion is indeed enormous. When one kneels and then prostrates oneself in order to implore, together with the assembly, the help of the Celestial Court; when one rises having already received the necessary help to light the fire and burn the ships; when we begin to pronounce the beautiful words of our formula: For love…; when we pass to the altar of the Eucharistic Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ to there, sign with inks and seal with a life the surrender we have just made; when we kneel again, already being nothing, nothing, nothing, in order by means of the prayer of consecration, to continue being a nothing, but now consecrated to God, totally and perpetually, to reproduce at every moment the life of Christ Himself in us….

All these moments, which follow one another like instants, pass too fast for us to realize their greatness, are instants that in fractions of seconds are temporarily over, but that introduce us into a sphere, into a reality where time is absolutely nothing. We immerse ourselves in eternity in a totally supernatural way through these instants. Instants that, many times, because of the mixture of emotions that we carry in our chest, become faster and even more difficult to appreciate them as they really are.

When one gives oneself from the whole to the All, the union between the Creator and the creature, between the Infinite and the finite, between the All and the nothing, one perceives the most consoling truth that Our Lord Jesus Christ came to reveal to us, which St. Paul summarizes in simple words: “We, on the other hand, are citizens of heaven”, that is, we live in this confine between time and eternity, but we are from there. The surrender we make is a step where we remove one foot from time and rest it in eternity, while the other follows the path towards its goal. In short, they are these instants that last for eternity…

Sem. Harley Duarte Carneiro, IVE

–Notes–

[1] S. Th., I, q. 77, a. 2; C. G., II, 82.

[2] In I De Causis, lect. II, s. 15.

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