“While I live, while I have my being, in time and eternity, let me sing praises to my God.”

– St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

(Elizabeth Bayley Seton, Collected Writings, Volume 1, 265)
 

These words of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton were destined for the Easter season! She likely paraphrased Psalm 104:33, “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I still have my being.” As it happens, Psalm 104 (which poetically lauds God and creation) is the responsorial psalm proclaimed at the Easter Vigil, and again on Pentecost. Liturgically, it is prayed at the commencement and conclusion of the Easter season – like bookends.    

Elizabeth would often personalize scripture and familiar prayers by including her own reflections and notations, e.g., the Stations of the Cross, Anima Christi, and in this instance Psalm 104. The essence of these time-honored prayers was not lost, only enhanced. Recognizing something of herself in them, she found that the prayers held tremendous meaning and touched into her lived experience and spirit.

Elizabeth’s classic line “in time and eternity” reminds us of her deeply felt longing for that eternal reunion with her loved ones in the heart of God. As we celebrate life in the Risen Christ, we know how her story ends; her inherent yearning was not in vain. Pondering her words further, we wonder if “time and eternity” could be Elizabeth’s personal interpretation of “now and forever”*? 

“Time and eternity” has sensitized me, not only to Elizabeth’s steadfast desire for heaven, but also to the frequent use of “now and forever” in many prayers. Sing praise to God in time and eternity, sing praise now and forever – either way, it is the ideal catchphrase for resurrection people. Can you even imagine eons of resounding alleluias?

– Catherine Salani (SC collaborator, educator, artist)

* “To Him be glory both now and forever” is a doxology (“glory words” in Greek).  It includes three components:  glory, God (Christ or Trinity), and unending time, i.e., now and forever.  They are prayed at Mass, found in the Lord’s Prayer, and scripture among other prayers.

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