By FR. ROLANDO V. DELA ROSA, O.P.
I often hear people say in utter desperation: “I have no time.” Of course, that’s not true. All of us are blessed with 24 hours every day. But we say that phrase again and again to rationalize the fact that since we waste so much time on things that we want to do, we have little or no time left to do what we MUST do.
Let me share with you this story of Satan asking his demons for the best way to keep human beings away from God. Many suggestions are given, but Satan remains unconvinced, until one cunning demon shouts: “Let’s make them feel that they have no time. Let’s tempt them with countless schemes to occupy their minds, seductive pleasures to inflate their desires, and bewitching sensations to make them crave for more.”
Satan is delighted with the idea. He proudly announces: “Yes! Let’s tempt them to yearn for success, money, and praise, so they will work themselves to death. Push them to spend, borrow, sell, own, lease, and indulge in endless overthinking and multitasking.
“Prevent them from spending time with their loved ones. Persuade wives to go to work for long hours and husbands to stay in the office 12 hours a day, seven days a week. Brainwash them into thinking that giving their children money is a good substitute for quality time. As their families begin to fragment, homes will disintegrate. Soon they will be spending their time in bars, discos, casinos; or waste their hard-earned money on drugs and other forms of escape and forgetfulness.
“Over-stimulate their minds to prevent them from thinking clearly. Muddle their priorities. Entice them to keep their TV, DVD players, iPad, iPod, or PC’s open even when they are at home or in the car. Keep their cell phones useful and continually upgraded so they will feel worthless or useless without them. Overwhelm their eyes and ears with news and movies. Keep the giant billboards bright and attractive so advertisers can invade the minds of those who are driving or traveling. Stuff their mailboxes with junk mail, mail-order catalogues, sweepstakes, lotto numbers, and every kind of promotional products, services, and gadgets.
“Put skinny, beautiful models on TV and magazines so women will spend all their time trimming their fat, lifting their noses, faces, and breasts, leaving them no time to uplift their spirits. Make men believe that muscles make a real man, that a macho must keep a mistress, and that success requires them to be dishonest and cunning. Soon, they will end up exhausted, wasted human beings, living immoral or amoral lives, trying to create themselves in the likeness of celebrities.
“Commercialize Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day so they will be caught in endless traffic and long lines in the supermarket as they frantically buy gifts rather than spend time with their family. Make them worry about politics, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, earthquakes, and other calamities they have no control of, instead of using their time solving problems that are within their power to resolve. Indulge them in gossip and small talks, so they will have no time for self-examination and prayer.”
Satan is happy. He has found the right formula to keep human beings in his power. He commands his demons to swoop down on people, tempting them to get busier and more harried, harassed, rushed, and stressed out.
Come to think of it, if today you tend to mutter in disgust: “I have no time!” then you must be one of those entrapped in Satan’s ploy.