Can you imagine a life without regret? What a gift that would be. Most of us, however, as fallen human beings, are in the same boat: we have regrets, and if there was something we could do about them, we would.
Fr. Nelson Medina, a Dominican priest from Spain, compiled a list of the most common regrets he heard from the men and women he ministered to in their last days. His list was not an attempt to inspire fear, depression, or despondency, of course—it is clear that he wants us to be able to learn from these regrets, so that we might avoid making them our own. The men and women who shared them have given us a chance to lessen our regrets.
Some of the regrets he recorded might seem unexpected (“claiming credit for my triumphs but blaming my failures on circumstances”) and others seem more predictable (“failing to say so many words of praise, recognition, and encouragement to those who deserved them or needed them”).
Here’s something from that list of regrets that is all too common—and one that we can start resisting here and now: the wasting of time.
Time is a gift that we have been given. We misuse it—especially today, with social media commandeering every free moment—but we have the gift of free will, too. We don’t have to be slaves to time-wasting.
This is a positive reality: we can take control of our time, by exerting our free will and asking for God’s grace to help us. We can start today. We can start fresh every time we fail. The saints tell us not to despair, but to pick ourselves up every time we stumble.
And what about the time we’ve wasted in the past? The time we can’t get back? We offer it to Our Blessed Lord! We surrender it to Him, so that He can redeem it, and rescue our hearts from discouragement.
Teresa of Avila, that beloved Carmelite saint, composed a beautiful prayer which we can say every day, or every night before we go to sleep.
Prayer to Redeem Lost Time by St. Teresa of Avila
O my God! Source of all mercy! I acknowledge Your sovereign power. While recalling the wasted years that are past, I believe that You, Lord, can in an instant turn this loss to gain. Miserable as I am, yet I firmly believe that You can do all things. Please restore to me the time lost, giving me Your grace, both now and in the future, that I may appear before You in “wedding garments.” Amen.
This prayer, and many other unique and inspiring prayers like it, can be found in Prayers and Heavenly Promises, a prayer book that a co-worker shared with me. It is worthy of being on every Catholic’s nightstand.
Let’s hold fast to the prayer written by St. Teresa of Avila, and the hope it contains. Let’s trust in the all-powerful mercy of God.
What other prayers have changed your perspective on life?
Have you been able to surrender fears and regrets to Jesus Christ?
Share with us in the comments below!