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God Has Put the Timeless into our Hearts – A Meditation on a Saying from Ecclesiastes

September 25, 2014

092514In the Book of Ecclesiastes from today’s Mass, something is said that is quite powerful if we meditate upon it.

I have considered the task that God has appointed for the sons of men to be busied about. He has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts, without man’s ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done (Eccles 3:10-11).

Somewhere in our hearts is something that the world cannot, and did not give us. It is something that is nowhere evident in the world, and yet, though not perceiving it, we still know it. This passage from Ecclesiastes calls it “the timeless.” We also often refer to it as eternity, or even infinity.

But where did this come from? The world is finite. Time on earth is serial. Things have a beginning, a middle, and an end. We do not experience anything here of the timeless. Rather, everything is governed by the steady, unrelenting ticking of the clock. Things begin and end. Every verb we speak is time-based, rooted at some point in time but never able to break free of it. Everything is rooted in chronological time. But somewhere in our hearts we can grasp the timeless. It is hard to put into words for we know it at a very deep level. But, we do know it.

The experience of “forever” does not exist in this world, but it is there in our mind and heart. There is no way to engage in time travel here in this world. Yet instinctively we know that somehow we can. Science fiction and fantasy often feature going back to the past or forward into the future. The world could not possibly teach us this for we are locked into the present and have never actually traveled in time. But somehow we know we can do it.

Eternity comes from the Greek word “aeon,” which means the fullness of time. It is not just a long time, it is all time: past, present, and future all at once. Look at the dot in the center of your watch and notice how 10am may be in the past, 6pm in the future, and 2pm now, but at the center dot they are all really the same. This is aeon; this is eternity, the fullness of time; this is a picture of timelessness.

Where did we get it? The world cannot give it, for the world does not have it. The world is finite, limited; it is time-bound, not timeless. Where did we get it?

Maybe it’s from God.

This song speaks of another aspect of time that the Greeks called “kairos” which is that experience of the fittingness of certain things to certain times. Chronos is the Greek for “clock time” but kairos grasps that other mysterious dimension of time that somehow we know when “the time is right.”

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Comments (6)

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  1. bobster says:

    I’ve always thought of
    chronos as time and
    kairos as timeliness

  2. C Beltz says:

    You have given the perfect argument to refute the lie that Heaven does not exist. How can we know things (even and especially those things we deny) with such veracity if there is no basis on earth for their existence. It is both illogical and impossible to know something that does not exist. If it does not exist, then there is nothing to argue over.

    The logical conclusion is then that Heaven MUST exist.

    Same hold true for the lie that there is no Devil.

  3. Deb says:

    The phrase, “fullness of time” has lifted my heart ever since I read it in the book, “The Wellspring of Worship.” I have had no idea why, but I read it regularly in the Liturgy of the Hours and the Bible and it still makes my heart sing. I never really grasped what it meant. Now all the references make sense and it still makes my heart sing. Thank you!

  4. Peter Wolczuk says:

    I think that a mis-interpretation of Einstein’s General Theory is getting in the way of going further with this excellent knowledge source. (Thank you, by the way, for running this by often enough to spot it)
    Einstein had it right but no one seems to get it. I have almost enough to prove that it’s not curvature into time that causes gravity.
    First of all, ti’s apparent from my reseach data that Albert was right about energy and matter being the smame but, the mis-interpretation has misled people from seeing forces as a result of “cause and effect” of the material viewpoint and the force viewpoint of energy. Two same things appearing different because one has two perspectives – like a tracker seeing a footprint if he looks at them toward the sun and sees shadows inside sorta.
    It isn’t curvature of space (into time) that results in gravity but, rather a surface tension in the fabric of space (created by and beyond the curvature of space) which is rotated 90 degrees away from the three spatial dimensions and, therefore into time.
    This surface tension keeps decreasing as it gets further from the source until ti drops below a thresh hold level and loses tension – only at these outer limits.
    All the data keeps redirecting me to Ecclesiastes 3:11 and reminds me of the curved space model I desinged, when I was eight, to show my Mother how gravity worked. Mi model at the time used surface tension instead of curvature, although curvature caused the surface tension. She just patted me on the head and said how it was very nice. Don’t think she believed me.
    That was when I began to see how Christianity and the natural structure of what we can see were so compatible and inter twined and wanted to take physics and keep going to church to learn Christianity better.
    Seems everyone convinced me to follow math, chemistry and biology instead as they confused my faith with mis-quotes from the bible.
    Grateful that He lead me back to both – including reading the bible through three times.

  5. MikefromED says:

    Just come across this, which concurs with one of your recent blogposts:
    “Over the last four decades, dating and romance have gradually vanished from college social life,”

  6. Tailler Huws says:

    I have imagined that “dot” which you explain – a point from which all else can be seen.