By David Isidore
There is a playwright and musical director who chose to portray his work in an unorthodox manner. He chose serious and boring topics and found the most minute details, exploiting those aspects to convey a profoundly serious message. This writer is Lin-Manuel Miranda and his most famous work to date is Hamilton: An American Musical.
I would like to focus on one theme that Lin-Manuel placed throughout his work. In several parts of the musical, the playwright uses the phrases “running out of time”, “it’s only a matter of time”, and “what would you do if you had more time?”. These phrases struck me as unimportant at first, but as a history student and lover of the arts, I soon realised the bigger message. He uses the successes and failures of the Caribbean-born, American politician and hero, Alexander Hamilton, and critiques it against the backdrop of our time on Earth and our inevitable death.
This concept had me questioning my life’s successes and failures within the realm of ‘time’. As Christians, I think we too should evaluate how we use our time and for whom we use it.
Within the past year, we have been faced with the fears of a pandemic and the constant reminder of time’s limit. However, I would like us to look at the three moments in time—past, present, and future—and assess how we use it.
St Josemaría Escrivá viewed time as “a treasure” (Christ is Passing By, 54). He speaks about the beautiful task that all people have: that of completing the tasks entrusted to them and fulfilling the divine vocation God has given them.
This completion of tasks takes on a supernatural sense, in his illustration of the beautiful sacrifice we undergo to begin a project, task or assignment and the great courage and grace we receive to complete it.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “how is this relevant to my past?”. Well, the relevance comes from our Lord’s parable of the talents.
Christ shared the parable about three servants and their master, and ended the dialogue with the master condemning the one who did not invest his talent, calling him “lazy” (Mt 25:26).
I found this to be a harsh choice of words, because on the one hand, the servant gave a logically sound argument for not ‘risking’ the master’s money, but his nonchalant demeanour suggested one of indolence. His apparent ‘lazy’ disposition showed his true depth as a person.
We could look at this story and ask ourselves a similar question, ‘Have I been lazy in the completion of my tasks? Have I begun work and willingly became distracted? Have I misused this treasure of time using excuses or complaints?’.
By assessing our past, we can see how we have fallen in some areas and missed opportunities to unite our burden, tiredness, and frustration to that of Christ.
From this first assessment, we learn not to focus so much on our misuse of time, but on thanking God for the light to clearly see our faults and making amends to address it.
Furthermore, we must remember that every moment of our day is an opportunity to be a saint and to serve others. Sometimes, we could get caught up in our workload and forget Christ’s desire for us to be connected with Him. This is important to remember as we assess our present.
St Josemaría mentioned in his book Furrow, “The devil does not take vacations” (620 – 621). On realising this, we should always be on guard, not just for ourselves, but for all our brothers and sisters in Christ.
As God appointed Ezekiel as “a watchman for the House of Israel” (Ezek 3:17), through our Election, Baptism and Confirmation we are called to be watchmen for the Body of Christ.