Sunday, February 9, 2014

Time for what?

If you had 30 minutes… what would you do?

If you YouTube "30 minutes", you can find all sorts of things for '30 minutes', such as: learning to cook a meal, different exercise programs, full episode of a TV show, how to build a computer, how to paint a seascape, how to learn a new language, total relaxation exercises, Zen meditation timer, etc. However, 30 minutes is not enough when that’s all you've got for making a Thanksgiving meal, or watch full episode of West Wing or Call the Midwife.

30 minutes before entering novitiate... To me, it was a time to fill it up with something. I could fit in one additional activity in my day. I was just zooming in and zooming out from Mass, to and from school; I was constantly on the go.

So, really, what is 30-minutes good for to make the most out of it?

What matters isn't how much time we have, but how we use it.

How can we make most of our time?

Just a few days ago, we learned, that St. Dominic used to say to his brothers: "always think or read about something."

In the novitiate, we have several ‘things’ that last 30 minutes, such as contemplative meditation, as well as morning and evening praise.

Centering prayer or 30 minute contemplation: In the beginning, I kept looking at the clock…thinking about: “Are we there yet? Is it over?” Then slowly, I learned to make most of it. How? First of all, I learned not to get frustrated when I get interrupted with thoughts, but rather it is the intention that counts and the relationship with God. So, with that in my mind, I return to the sacred word, and let myself move beyond awareness. I learned to open my mind and heart. I just love this part of my day...

Theological reflection invites me to gain a deeper awareness by connecting daily life experiences with my spiritual life, and then challenges me do something about it. What I appreciate about it is that I get to be aware of things I would have missed without reflection.

On Fridays, we have reflection days. During Christmas break, one of my reflection days was on “time” using this reading from Ecclesiastes 3:1-11.

“There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every affair under the heavens.
A time to give birth, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
What profit have workers from their toil?
I have seen the business that God has given to mortals to be busied about.
God has made everything appropriate to its time, but has put the timeless into their hearts so they cannot find out, from beginning to end, the work which God has done.”

We can focus on the past and the future, but it is really the present moment that engages the mind, focusing on what we are doing. The challenge we are living today is paying attention to and being present in the moment.

In the novitiate, I am learning to be present to the opportunities, soak up and integrate everything novitiate has to offer: 
- being fully attentive to God in prayer,
- being attentive to God's presence and work in daily happenings,
- being more aware of who I am,
- being present to community,
- studying God's Word and the world, so that I can serve others
- being there for those I serve in ministry.

How do you stay open to the opportunities God offers you each day?

What is God inviting you to do?

* picture from:


  1. Thanks, Bea, for asking two important questions - "how do we use our time and how do we stay open to the many opportunities that God sends our way?" Each morning during my personal prayer time I try to make a conscious intention to be aware that whatever comes my way during the day is truly the "voice of God" calling me to respond with a happy, peace-filled and resounding YES. It is amazing how much this small conscious intention sets the tone for the day. And, then during my personal evening prayer I try to recall how well this actual intention was or was not realized! How precious is the gift of time - may we use it wisely. Blessings of peace-filled time to all of you at the CDN!
    Michelle Sherliza, OP - Dominican Sisters of Peace - Watertown, MA

    1. Ditto! I like how nicely it starts my day, and yes, it does set the tone for the day, it is a peaceful feeling. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  2. Great reflection, Bea!
    I am thinking that Heaven will be an eternal present - not a past nor a future.
    Won't that be nice?

    1. Thought-provoking, thank you. Heaven is a cool place, as well as the Kingdom of God is here already, we just need to be present to the present, and find God's presence in each moment. :-)

  3. Thank you , Bea, Keep up the joy of being present and taking this opportunity to meet God in a more personal way. Novitiate time is such a blessing and you all sure are making the most of it.

    1. Trying to... For sure, it is a very enriching and fruitful experience.

  4. Bea, After reading your blog more attentively I decided that I am going to use it as my prayer for the Leadership for Peace class which is tomorrow night (thursday evening) with the students. I think it will be very meaningful and thought provoking for the students who are always trying to crush everything in throughout their days and weeks. Thanks so much! (also for me - :) Margie

    1. Thank you, Margie, and thanks for helping others encountering God with these thoughts.
      Let me know in email how the Leadership for Peace class went.