By cooperating with God's action in time man achieves his destiny as a
child of God. By not cooperating he loses both himself and God. Although
he must freely cooperate, ultimately His hope rests with God, who as Lord
of time and history foresees and provides for all circumstances so that
His will is accomplished.
This is not true for all religions. The Eastern religions, for example,
have a cyclical view of life. It is a succession of cycles, most clearly
evident in the doctrine of re-incarnation. Man achieves perfection only
through a succession of lives, lived more and more perfectly, but
containing the danger of a more pitiful existence, as well. His hope rests
in a second chance, and a third, and a fourth ... , as many as it takes to
achieve Nirvana. Ultimately, his hope rests with himself.
This difference between a linear and cyclical view of time explains the
seriousness of history for the Christian. Each moment of time must be a fulfillment
of the will and plan of God. That which is "set apart" for God
is said to be consecrated. The Church, therefore, fulfills a duty to the
Divine Plan when it consecrates time, setting it apart for the Kingdom.
Already in the Old Testament this is shown by the Jewish Sabbath, which
celebrated the creative order by setting apart the last day of the week
for God. Likewise, in the new era the Christian Sabbath celebrates the
redemptive order by setting apart the day of the Resurrection as the
Lord's Day .