I really have to work at living completely in the present moment. I don’t have as much difficulty with the backward look, with living in the rear view mirror. Most of my problem focuses on anxieties about the “what if’s” of the future. I role play at crossing fantasy bridges that I may not actually cross.
Our parish book club is reading a book of meditations given to the Papal Household at Lent while Pope John Paul II was with us. It was written by the late Vietnamese Archbishop Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan. During his thirteen year imprisonment, God taught him that simply living the present moment intensely and filling it up with love is the surest way to holiness. That public deeds or many sacrifices are not the way that saints and great witnesses became holy.
He quoted from Saint Faustina,
“If I look at the future, I am full of fear,
but why go forward into the future?
Only the present moment is dear to me,
because perhaps the future will not lodge in my soul.
The past is not within my power
to change, correct, or add something.
Neither the wise nor the prophets were able to do this.
I trust therefore to God that which regards my past.
O present moment, you belong to me completely.
I desire to use you as much as it is within my power…
Therefore, trusting in your mercy,
I go forward in life as a child,
and every day I offer to you my heart
enflamed with love for your greater glory.
Our humanity seems captured within the familiar framework of time. That’s all we have experienced and know how to experience. Why should it be so difficult to live in the now? That is exactly where we encounter God who is in The Eternal Now. I still have a lot to learn.