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Journey with Colin: A doorway to the Marist Project

Nazareth 8

Clearing the decks

Journey with Colin: Nazareth 8 - Clearing the decks

Making use of the time

O God, you who find time for us, allow us to find time for you. You who hold in your hand what has been, what is and what will be, allow us to hold in our hands our dissipated time.

Let us hold the past without being held by it, to live in our memory without nostalgia, to remain faithful without rigidity, to uphold the signs without mummifying them as relics.

Remove now, from our past, the burden of what is useless, that weighs us down without giving us life,
that irritates the present without feeding it,
that becomes a museum rather than a dwelling.

For you, you are a God who has spoken with such exactness and such liveliness in the past that you turn the witnesses of those times into key contemporaries for us. You are a God, not of eternal myths, but of such individual histories that their memory is an anchor for our rudderless ships, a map for our uncertain journeys. You are the God whose memory is neither burden nor insult, but provides love and direction.

Allow us to hold to the present without being absorbed by it, to live within decisions and not postponements, to grasp the favourable opportunity, without clinging onto the missed opportunity, to discern the signs, without erecting them into oracles or privileges. Remove now from our present the fever that shakes and indolence that misses out. Remove from us the torments of the elsewheres and the other ways. Give us the taste of the here and now.

O For you, you are a God who speaks in the present so naturally and in such an enabling way that your word creates in us a time that is natural and enabling. You are not a God of supernatural illumination, but of a listened to presence, in such wise that our freedom arises at your invitation and that we can make the most of time and not be worn down by it.

Allow us to hold the future, without coveting its illusion nor fearing its arrival, to be vigilant without supervising, to want without having to, to wish without forcing it, to prepare ourselves for the signs without becoming inflamed by expectations. Take now from our future the useless worrying, that steals time in being anxious, that abolishes time by calculation, that destroys surprise by control and repetition...

For you are a God who will speak to the end of time with your judgment, that dispenses us from judging others and from judging ourselves, with a completion that forbids us to conclude and recapitulate too soon, with a renewal that prevents us from glorifying or distressing ourselves.

You are the God who puts time at the disposal of our memory, of our choice and of our hope. Amen.

Pastor André Dumas
One hundred possible prayers
Albin Michel, 2000

Fr. Jean-Claude Colin"One thing for which Father Colin was to be admired: he never paid any attention to himself. Whenever the common good required that he give his advice, whenever it was a matter of making an observation to the Society (of Mary) which he found to be appropriate, he did not consider himself, and went ahead and did what was required for the good of all. (...) He would not take any offence, as if this observation were accusing him of forgetting something, but when it was correct and reasonable, he did not in the least seek to justify himself in his lack of attention.”

Mayet, A Founder Acts 361, 1-5

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"As for you,
do not seek
what you have
to eat and drink;
do not be anxious.

All of that is
sought by unbelievers. But your Father
knows what you need.

Seek, rather,
his Kingdom,
and all the rest
will be given to you
as well."

Luc 12:29-31


for personal reflection
or group sharing

• Look at the photo
- What does it inspire in you?
- What links do you make with the theme of clearing the decks?
- What concrete attitudes do they invite us to put into effect?

• Clearing the decks in order lighten ones life and freeing ones spirit: some suggestions, entirely practical:
1. Look at each room in your house. Classify those objects that do you good, those that are useful, and those that have no (further) interest.

Begin with the small corners, like a drawer, a shelf, the top of a bureau... and with the neutral spaces: broom cupboards, trinket boxes, kitchen cupboards.

Give yourself a time limit: 5 or 10 minutes each day, 1 hour a week.

2. Regularly do a clear out, as we accumulate things very quickly, in order to slowly change your way of looking at different objects.

3. Check yourself before you buy something: Do I really need it? Will it help me to simplify my life? Will I use sufficiently often? In consuming it, am staying consistent with my convictions?

4.  Some objects take up space because of the memories they carry. Before getting rid of them, take a picture of them and put them together into a special album.

5.  You do not have to buy a book to be able to read it, the same goes for videos, CDs, tools... get information on the addresses of media centres, book and games libraries. You can also rent or borrow from your surroundings, ladders, cars, drills...

6.  Do you have any other suggestions to offer?

According to France Lebreton,
La Croix, March 2012