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From the Scripture Classic Series: For Everything There is a Season (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

For Everything There is a Season book cover

Meditations on the popular, intriguing, and expansive poem. Here's an excerpt:

When I was growing up, my mother watched the soap opera, "Days of Our Lives." At the start of each episode one of the better known actors, Macdonald Carey, intoned a solemn voice-over: "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives." There goes time: slipping through our fingers despite all attempts to hang onto a grain of it.

The thesis of Ecclesiastes may well be contained in a one-line voice-over written for daytime TV. This is Qoheleth's piercing cry: Time rushes by, and all it holds is vanity! Time is a breeze that murmurs gently through our rooms, rustling the curtains as it passes in one window and out another. We enjoy its caress even as it moves beyond us, and nothing we can do will hold it back.

This is a confounding situation for us mortals bound to time's non-negotiability. It's why we often hear this poem in Ecclesiastes as a soothing counterpoint to our anxiety. There's time enough for everything, we console ourselves. Regrettably, that's not what the passage says. The implication is that everything happens when its time arrives: hinting at an unseen calendar that we can only guess at. It doesn't describe an abundance of time, or promise its trustworthiness. Only that the control of time's flow isn't in our hands.

New! FEARLESS: Stories of the American Saints

By Alice Camille and Paul Boudreau. With original illustrations by Thomas Hann. (Franciscan Media)

Fearless: Stories of the American Saints

The star-spangled saints made in America aren't quite like the plaster saints familiar to us from Europe. Nurtured and shaped by this land and history, their story is part of the fabric of our nation. Includes the stories of Isaac Jogues, Kateri Tekakwitha, Junípero Serra, Elizabeth Seton, Philippine Duchesne, Theodore Guérin, John Neumann, Francis Seelos, Damien de Veuster, Marianne Cope, Frances Cabrini, and Katharine Drexel, all set in the rich context of American history.