In my world if I want something to happen, it must be put on the calendar. I am either a calendar fanatic, enthusiast, or addict – not so sure which is better. If it is not on my calendar, it is not going to happen. This mindset grew out of three highly active children and only two parents. For me it is also about moving along my journey and having calendar events as milestones or markers for that journey. I turn to the calendar for everything.
I have two previous blogs where I touch on my fascination with calendars. In Correcting Drift, I cite how we need Leap Day to stay the correct course with nature, thank you Pope Gregory (and Cleopatra). In Lack of Margin, I note my adding time to the events on my calendar to reduce stress. The Catholic Church is big on putting things on the calendar. We have ordinary time, Lent, Advent, Holy Days of Obligation, Solemnities, and Feast Days for Patron Saints. St. Robert’s is September 17th.
We recently celebrated 1-4-3 day, the 143rd Day of the year and I take note of every Pi Day (March 14th). Surprisingly, I have never truly gotten into “May the 4th be with you”, even though I am a Star Wars fan. I also have two songs on my calendar that I listen to each year on a specific day – “September” by Earth Wind & Fire (9/21) and “Now. Hear. This” by Rocket Club for the ‘best damn 27th of June.’ I also have an event on the calendar for January 23, 2045, just less than 25 years from now. That date will be 012345, so why not have a party – consider yourself invited if you read this blog post.
As a coach, I was always working with a calendar. Sports is more than the game on the field or the court. Dozens of activities are required in preparation for a season filled with games. As a volunteer football coach, I needed to know when everyone of those activities would occur so they could be weighed against work and family priorities. In fact my decision to stop coaching was due to two calendar issues – first the demands of work did not allow the time to meet enough commitments with the team and second, I decided that every fall weekend starting on Saturday and not Friday, limited potential family pursuits.
One of my biggest challenges from this pandemic is that I had to take things off the calendar and for a long time did not add anything new on it. The calendar is bleak and empty, somewhat depressing. Lately, I have begun to place more events on it. I even scheduled a camping trip in September primarily to put something new on the calendar.
To plan properly we need to know what our commitments are and what is our available time. If we are thinking about going out to dinner, attending an event, having family visit us, getaway weekends, even squeezing in an oil change – it needs to be checked against the calendar. I put reminders on the calendar for tasks such as changing the water filter or even calling my Mom (I know that isn’t the best of looks). If it’s important, it’s on the calendar. If it’s not on the calendar, we will just have to see if we have time. The older I get the more likely I will forget to do something if it isn’t on the calendar.
The calendar doesn’t do the work. It doesn’t initiate any activity. It is just a tool to prioritize and organize the many demands placed on our time and energy. Calendars give some measure of recognition to events and activities in the future; commitments we have either agreed to be at or desire to attend. It can also be a tool to remind us to invest our time into ourselves as well as our relationships.
I appreciate The Gospel according to Luke, as well as The Acts of the Apostles because they give us an historical narrative – unique among the evangelists. Luke was not an eyewitness to the events of Jesus’s life. He was a Gentile, a physician, a Christian convert, and a frequent companion of Paul. His writings put things in context and presented an accurate and orderly account of those events which he had heard about from his sources. Luke relates the story of Jesus and the church to events in contemporary Palestinian and Roman- for, as Paul says in Acts 26:26, “this was not done in a corner.” Luke properly frames that salvation history is a part of human history.
The prominence given to the early church has important consequences for Luke’s interpretation of the teachings of Jesus. By presenting the time of the church as a distinct phase of salvation history, Luke accordingly shifts the early Christian emphasis away from the expectation of an imminent second coming of Jesus (Parousia) to the day-to-day concerns of the Christian community in the world. He does this in the gospel by regularly emphasizing the words “daily” or “each day” (Luke 9:23; 11:3; 16:19; 19:47) in the sayings of Jesus. Although Luke believes the Parousia to be a reality that will come unexpectedly (Luke 12:38, 45–46), he is more concerned with presenting the words and deeds of Jesus as guides for the conduct of Christian disciples in the interim period between the Ascension and the Parousia; and with presenting Jesus himself as the model of Christian life and piety.
I spend plenty of time and energy on tools and practices that help me meet my commitments and even deepen my relationships at work, with volunteer activities, as well as family and friends. It would be disingenuous to not do the same with God. My faith is important and not something to just “see if I have time.” To grow my faith and deepen my relationship with Jesus, I must create space for Mass, prayer, and Sacraments on my calendar. My salvation journey needs to be my human journey.
Although it might not be the best of looks, let us ask ourselves: where is God on our calendar?