Chapter IV is about the "Value of Time". Related to what Msr Lejeune says here about the American saying, "Time is money", I found this "Know the Value of Your Time" that lets you enter your earnings, your hours of work time, your expenses, and then tells you how many hours of work it takes you to "earn" an hour of leisure. Of course, since I'm not paid for my work except in little bits and pieces here and there, my time either falls into the "priceless" or "worthless" category.
Msr Lejeune would echo all the saints by saying that EVERYONE's time is priceless. It has nothing to do with cash value. Rather, he says that time is the coin by which we purchase heaven. How do we use it? Do we "kill time"? (gruesome way to treat something so precious). Do we squander it or fritter it away?
His examples of wasting time seem somewhat quaint:
- Indulging in day dreams
- Filliing our minds with the rubbish of newspapers
- Reading dangerous novels for no good reason
If I had to come up with modern equivalents it would probably be silly fascination with celebrities, following the latest "hot story" about some colorful crime or scandal, or excessive devouring of junky TV.
Those don't really hit home for me -- what would be my substitutes? I'm afraid it would be excessive lesson planning, consuming a book in a sitting rather than pacing it out properly, and web=surfing. I can get on the internet or in a book or into a notebook and for me it's not too much different than what happens to some people in a casino. Better watch that.
More general cautions that he mentions:
- "passing time" not just as refreshment from work but just for the sake of getting through the day. A friend once told me about the AA warning --- HALT -- be especially vigilant when you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Those are the times when an attachment to something can really attach and not let go. Pastimes can sometimes attach themselves in these conditions, even if they are harmless things in themselves.
- By doing something that you want to do rather than what you ought to be doing. That is, something fine in itself but out of place in the moment. Say, you decide to do the laundry rather than sit at your devotions as you had planned to. You can't be accused of idleness but still you are losing your time.
I'll quote his suggested resolutions:
I shall never remain idle, nor lose one single instant of my time (oops, I flunk that one every single day -- is there any hope?)
I shall draw up for myself a rule of life, adapted to my state, comprising only a few articles, and capable of being applied to the diverse circumstances of my life. I shall ask myself every evening if I have observed this rule in all the essentials (more on this in the next chapter)
I shall be faithful to the following rule which, so to speak, multiplies time, and permits even the busiest person to find time for everything. The rule is this: I shall never put off what I can do now.