I find nearly everything I’ve read from Metropolitan Anthony Bloom to be very encouraging, in the sense of giving me courage to do the things that I somewhat fear, but that I know are necessary for life. Time is a very practical subject to talk about, this most real quality of our created lives. And as he shows here, eternity is as well.
…the aim and content of our life…is to be where we are now, whereas ordinarily, and nearly all the time, we live as if we were trying to catch a bus.
We have an erroneous notion of time. The amazing thing in life, said a seventeenth century Russian philosopher, is that all the necessary things are simple and all the complicated things are useless. In fact, if we could only remember that time does not run away, that at a slow pace or at a gallop it rushes towards us, we should be much less fearful of losing it. Do you think that by going towards the hour of your death as fast as possible you can prevent it from coming, or catch it? Do you think that if you go on placidly, tranquilly listening to me, the hour of your deliverance will not come? In both cases it is time which is coming towards you, you have no need to run after it.
It is coming…and you will not escape it any more than it will escape you. Therefore we can establish ourselves quite peacefully where we are, knowing that if the time ahead has a meaning that is necessary for us, it is inevitably coming towards us at a sure and regular pace, sometimes more quickly than we could run to meet it.
On the other hand, if we establish ourselves peacefully in the present, we are living in a world of realities, whereas if we hurry towards the future, we are moving towards a world of unreality…. eternity and time are incommensurable with one another. Eternity is not an indefinite length of time; eternity is not the presence of time without end. The difference between time and eternity is that time is a category of the created: it appears at the moment when something which did not exist before begins to be and to become, and it exists as long as the becoming continues.
Eternity does not answer the question ‘What?’ It answers the question ‘Who?’ Eternity is God, God who is always contemporaneous with each moment of time; He is always there, completely stable, unchanged and unchangeable because He already has in Himself, before the first thing was, all the richness necessary to meet all things and all situations. He does not need to change in order to be contemporaneous.
It is useless to look for God within a time. He is in the time in which we are….
–Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, from “Holiness and Prayer” in God and Man.
“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” CS Lewis