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Time Is Relative

The long holiday weekend throws my psyche and body off-kilter. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like long weekends, but Tuesday becomes Monday, and Monday feels like Sunday.

Archbishop Listecki

Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee


The long holiday weekend throws my psyche and body off-kilter. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like long weekends, but Tuesday becomes Monday, and Monday feels like Sunday. It takes about five to six days to get back in line. You might believe that I have this chronological disorder due to the fact that my parents drilled punctuality in my mind. In my home, there was not a clock in the house, not even on wristwatches, that displayed the correct time.

Now, it wasn’t an hour off, not even a half an hour. The kitchen clock was 10 minutes fast, the bedroom was five, some of the wristwatches were three, but never the exact time. I think my family believed that we needed motivation, and exact time would not motivate us to get up and get going. Instead, exact time would allow us to linger, trying to squeeze that last minute before going off to school or work.

I am sure you heard the saying, “You’ll be late to your own funeral.” If you lived in my home, you’d be three minutes early. Time is a relative thing. A hundred years ago, a person who died in their mid-70s was considered having lived a long life. Yet today, mid-70s is considered too early. One of the tasks that a bishop does when visiting a parish for a confirmation or special event is to examine the parish books, one of which is the death registry. As I look at the ages, I am sometimes amazed to find a number of 90s that are recorded and, not too uncommon, a few 100s. There is no doubt that we are living longer. But, of course the question is, are we living better?

When I attend meetings at the Cousins Center, various groups will come in and present a 10-year plan of action. What comes as a personal surprise to me is that I won’t be the archbishop when this plan comes to fruition. Believe me, I’m not planning on checking out, but a bishop must submit his resignation to the pope when he reaches the age of 75. Then, he usually continues to serve until the pope announces his replacement. If my mother had set the clocks in the papal apartments, then I’d receive notice 15 minutes early.

In eternity before God, time ceases and, hopefully, we will languish in the presence of eternal goodness, reflecting on those special moments where we fulfilled His Son’s command to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Note: This blog originally appeared as the May 29, 2018 "Love One Another" email sent to Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. If you are interested in signing up for these email messages, please click here.

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