“Let us make up for lost time. Let us give to God the time that remains to us.”
— St. Alphonsus Liguori
And all were astounded at the greatness of God. While everyone was amazed at all that he was doing, he said to his disciples, “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands.” But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was concealed from them, so that they could not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying. (Lk. 9:43-45 NRS)
The above passage is very troubling. It is troubling because of the explicit warning/command Jesus gives to his disciples and their failure to comprehend what he was telling them to grasp. This raises two very disturbing questions. First, why we they unable to understand and second, why were they afraid to ask him about this saying?
I believe the answer to both question is grounded in two certainties. These certainties are human pride and human gullibility. I believe they cannot understand because of the work of those forces in the word that would keep us ignorant of the truth that play on our desire to be in control of what happens. I believe they fear to ask because of a natural human fear to be seen as being ignorant. We would rather live what we see as a “little lie”, pretending that we understand, rather than reveal our ignorance.
When these factors come into play, we miss the instruction and guidance that comes from God. We are unable to discern what is going on around us and thus we waste the time we have been given on our own desires and the cleaver deceptions of the demonic.
In order to learn from the mistake of the disciples, we must not fall into this trap. Jesus was handed over to men. Jesus was being totally transparent with his disciples. Total transparency is a true act of love. The disciples should have been willing to be transparent with the Lord about their confusion and inability to comprehend. True confession leads to real freedom of the soul. The disciples should have prepared for what Jesus told them. This world in not friendly to humanity. It is fallen. It has entities dwelling upon it that are so spiritually sick, so filled with hatred toward humanity that they live to damage and destroy us in any way they can. Our only defense against such an evil presence is God. These dark deceptors work to steal our precious time given to us by God in order to hinder faith and sicken our souls. They will try to get us to confuse social desires for religion and human knowledge of what we think about God for true love and faith. Love, true love is about giving our time and presence to the One we desire.
Finally, we need to understand the perfect love drives out fear. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.” (1 Jn. 4:18 NRS) When we give our time to God, even if we give it out of duty, it will turn into delight. When we give our time unto God (which includes giving God our complete attention, transparent and committed) we can avoid this mistake of the disciples and the fear will leave while the understanding pours in.
To have such discernment is the way we can truly, without self deception, give God our time.