What is it in the Light of Eternity?
Quid hoc ad aeternitatem is a Latin phrase of dubious origins – but usually attributed to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux who was said to mutter it in relation to his trials and tribulations. It translates to ‘what is it in the light of eternity?” Great question, right? What IS the point of anything in relation to eternity?
It reminds me of something Clarissa Pinkola Estes, the author of “Women Who Run with Wolves,” mentioned in a story about her youth. Clarissa had an accident when she was young that caused lifelong pain in one of her legs. When she would complain about it, her aunt would say, “Interesting if true, but so what?”
When we measure our daily predicaments and pains by their lasting value in the light of eternity, so much falls away. But only if we allow it. Because as author Brain Doyle points out in his book “A Shimmer of Something: Lean Stories of Spiritual Substance,” we do love our problems. “The smallness of them, the salt and roar of them.”
No matter how enlightened we become, how well off we are – there’s always something! The husband, the wife, the kids, the president, the weather, the bills. Interesting if true, but so what? So…what if, as Brian ponders, the things that keep us up at night are our greatest gifts?
Recommended reading on this topic:
On the True Nature of the Soul: Essays for the Truly Curious by Robert Colacurcio
A Shimmer of Something: Lean Stories of Spiritual Substance by Brian Doyle