I want to talk to you about time, that passes so swiftly. I am not going to repeat to you the well-known phrase about one year more being one year less ... Nor am I going to suggest that you ask around what others think of the passage of time. If you were to do so, you would probably hear something like, "Oh divine treasure of youth that slips away, never more to return ... ," though I admit you may come across other views with a deeper and more supernatural content.
Nor is it my purpose to dwell nostalgically on the brevity of human life. For us Christians the fleetingness of our journey through life should instead be a spur to help us make better use of our time. It should never be a motive for fearing Our Lord, and much less for looking upon death as a disastrous and final end. It had been said in countless ways, some more poetical than others that, by the grace and mercy of God, each year that ends is a step that takes us nearer to Heaven, our final home.
When I reflect on this, how well I understand St. Paul's exclamation when he writes to the Corinthians, "tempus breve est (1 Cor 7:29)." How short indeed is the time of our passing through this world! For the true Christian these words ring deep down in his heart as a reproach to his lack of generosity, and as a constant invitation to be loyal. Brief indeed is our time for loving, for giving, for making atonement. It would be very wrong, therefore, for us to waste it, or to cast this treasure irresponsibly overboard. We mustn't squander this period of the world's history which God has entrusted to each one of us. (Friends of God, 39)
We should never have time on our hands, not even a second — and I am not exaggerating. There is work to be done. The world is a big place and there are millions of souls who have not yet heard the doctrine of Christ in all its clarity. I am addressing each one of you individually. If you have time on your hands, think again a little. It's quite likely that you have become lukewarm; that, supernaturally speaking, you have become a cripple. You are not moving, you are at a standstill. You are barren, you are not doing all the good you should be doing to the people around you, in your environment, in your work and in your family. (Friends of God, 42)
You might tell me, "Why should I make an effort?" It is not I who answer you, but St. Paul: "Christ's love is urging us (2 Cor 5:14)." A whole lifetime would be little, if it was spent expanding the frontiers of your charity. From the very beginnings of Opus Dei I have repeated tirelessly that cry of Our Lord: "By this shall men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:35)." I did this to encourage generous souls to put it into practice in their own lives. This is precisely how we shall be recognised as Christians, if we make charity the starting point of everything we do. (Friends of God, 43)