Sunday, November 16, 2008

heartbeats: an appointed time for everything

The month of June is a month dedicated to the environment. This is intended to promote awareness of the perilous situation of our environment today, its effect in our lives and what we can do to improve it. Reflecting on these environmental issues, I came upon a beautiful passage in the bible which to my mind could help us develop an attitude of concern and respect for the resources entrusted to our care. This will include, as we shall see later, not just our environment, but also our bodies, our work, and even the woman’s cycle which is at the heart of responsible parenthood or the natural family planning method (NFP). The passage that I am referring to is taken from the book of Ecclesiates (3. 1-8) which begins by saying: “There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. . . . a time to plant and a time to uproot the plant . . . a time to embrace and a time to be far away from embraces . . . a time to be silent and a time to speak.”

I refer to this particular passage because I feel that most of the problems in our world today are created in part by our mad scramble to outdo nature and even to outdo ourselves without respect for time and the earth’s cycle. We do so in order to possess more, to become more technologically advanced, so that we could become more progressive and supposedly happy. For centuries we have tried to do this. But how are we right now? Our forest are bare bringing about floods. Our fields are becoming infertile and dependent on chemical fertilizers. We have diseases which are non-existent a generation before. And many other problems brought about by this so called progress and advancement. I believe that all this came about because of our utter disregard for time and the natural cycle of things.

Our situation today affirms this passage of Ecclesiastes. It affirms that there is wisdom in the bible’s bidding that “day is for work and night is for rest.” There is wisdom in the bible’s prescription of a Sabbath’s rest. Man needs to rest from the tensions and concerns of daily living in order that he could live healthily and happily. We could not outwit our bodies for long.

This passage affirms too, that there is wisdom in God’s command for a sabbatical year for the land of Israel. That the land and the fields should be permitted to rest so that it could regain once more its fertility and usefulness. 

There is wisdom when we respect the earth’s cycle of planting and uprooting, of tearing and healing, for the earth’s resources are not that plentiful as to be understood as an endless supply. They have to be constantly replenished. 

Finally, there is wisdom in respecting the woman’s cycle. There is a time to make love with the fruit of the womb which is the outcome of love, purposely pursued. However there is also a time to express the same love creatively through abstinence, control and discipline which are the basis of mutual respect, which in turn is the foundation of lasting friendship. True love, like true progress, is not just doing what I feel like doing at the moment. True love also requires respect and veneration of the cycle that is constitutive of her womanhood.

All these assertions are interrelated for they are founded in a very deep respect for time and for the cycle of the earth and everything on it. For this discipline and respect is very important. Outwitting nature may have its own advantages. But these are shortsighted one’s. In the end nature will run its course. It will come with a vengeance and it will have the last laugh.

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