Take the time


It struck me this morning that, as of today, I have been back on campus for a month.

One month. The summer seems like a hazy dream that belongs to yesterday, but at the same time, school just started, didn’t it? I’m torn between convincing myself that we just got here, and regretting not having accomplished more in the past month.

I think that in many ways it is easy to get caught up in the Franciscan atmosphere and forget that, whether we like it or not, time is indeed passing. We immerse ourselves in the latest wonderful talk series, household commitments, classes, homework, and an attempt at a social life. We run from thing to thing as if our lives depend on it.

When we do have time off, how do we spend it? Too often it’s on Netflix, Facebook or other social media. Then we groan to each other that we’re so incredibly busy.

Stop. Just stop for one minute and look around you.

Have you seen the few red leaves on the huge tree by Finnegan Fieldhouse? Have you closed your eyes and simply felt the warmth of the last summer sun? Have you speculated on what shapes the clouds are forming in the gorgeous blue sky? Did you see the beautiful moon last night?

I don’t blame you if you haven’t. I believe I can speak for most of us in saying that life can get crazy. Your leisurely lunch hour turns into finishing homework over a sandwich from Egan To- Go. Your daily holy hour turns into a half hour because you had to meet with a professor.

These things happen, and sometimes we can’t help them. But why are we really here at Franciscan? Isn’t it to grow in holiness by living out our vocations as students and children of God?

Yes, you probably already knew that. We all know that in our minds. Yet do we live it?

If you pray a holy hour in the Port every day, good job. That’s beautiful. But where are your thoughts when you’re not in the chapel? Are they rushing from one thing to the next?

I think that we need to make more time to live. To truly live is to radiate the character of Christ in our words and our actions.

Here at Franciscan, it is generally thought that we have a very active, vibrant and Christ-like community. We all probably got that impression when we visited.

But who makes up that community, if not every one of us? If you don’t take the time to be the smile that someone might never see, then who will?

It’s easy to get caught up in all the things we’re doing. To assume that someone else will incarnate that kindness. But take the time to be that presence of Christ to someone.

It can be as easy as greeting the ladies who swipe your card in the cafeteria, or thanking your professor after class. Talk to the lonely student, sitting alone with his or her food. Get to class just five minutes earlier and get to know the people who sit around you. Do you even know their names?

Life passes by more quickly than we realize, and we can’t spend it just getting by from test to test. This semester will certainly be gone soon, and what have we made of it? Have we truly lived it to the fullest? Have we radiated the abundant life of Christ to those around us, or have we left that job for someone else because we’re too “busy” to notice the details?

If we can’t love God in the little things throughout the day – be it the leaves changing, a small act of kindness, or a meaningful conversation with a friend – then how can we love him?

Take the time to live and to love.