the present

I always feel a bit short-changed when a public holiday falls on a Monday as they mostly do. Today in New Zealand is the Queen’s birthday holiday – even though the actual date of her birthday is April, happy birthday Ma’am. My weekly day off is Monday and I don’t get a day in lieu. However I always get a satisfaction knowing that friends and parishioners are (hopefully) relaxing on the same day on which I’m taking it easy.

Some mornings when I turn to the Press crossword, a clue leaps out at me, not simply because I know the answer without thinking too much, but because it links to a thought I have been having or connects with an ideal. Perhaps it was yesterday’s great Pentecost feast that drew me to 14 across this morning: “It’s a gift to be in the here and now.”

It’s a nice link isn’t it: the same word that we use for gift: “present,” is the word for the moment that is right now. It was timely for me to be reminded of the connection this morning.

Very often the situation, the circumstances that we find ourselves in feel like anything but a gift. Who would ever give a gift that brings anxiety, worry or challenges that we are convinced are beyond our abilities?  I find the encouragement of great friend of God Luigi Giussani very encouraging:

“The circumstances through which God has us pass are an essential and not a secondary factor of the mission to which He calls us. If Christianity is the announcement of the fact that that Mystery has become flesh in a man, the circumstance in which one takes a position about this in front of the whole world is important for the very definition of witness” 

“Life is a dialogue.

“Life is not a tragedy. Tragedy is what makes everything amount to nothing. Yes, life is a drama. It is dramatic because it is the relationship between our I and the You of God, our I that must follow the steps which God indicates”  It is this Presence, this You that makes circumstances change, because without this You everything would be nothing, everything would be a step toward an ever darker tragedy. But precisely because this You exists, circumstances call us to him. It is he who calls us through them. It is he who calls us to destiny through everything that happens.”

I find this deeply encouraging: The circumstances that I find myself in are simply the present reality where God is dwelling with me, therefore there is nothing I need fear. The temptation is to live in the past or the future, but the fact is the only moment I have is this present moment, and the reality of the moment. These present moments are a gift since they are the only place where I can truly live. People who focus on the past or the future usually miss the gift of the present – pun intended!

Happy holiday!

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