here & now

Then he began to speak to them, ‘
This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.’
Luke 4

Some mornings when I turn to the 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 that I strive to live by. A few months ago it was the clue for 14 across that leapt out at me: “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.

Very often 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 human, 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.

When we live fully in the present we are more able to see that what God has promised us is being fulfilled in the present moment.

Jesus, give me the eyes to recognise your presence and action in the encounters and events and circumstances of my life today.

 

An Invitation:

  • Take a moment to call to mind all that makes up the present reality of your life today, the ups and downs, good and bad, welcome and problematic. Now make a decision that while God has not caused this reality, now that it is your present reality it is the only place where Jesus can work with you. Make a decision to look for and to recognise Jesus in every moment of this day.
  • As many of us continue these days as a retreat-in-daily-life, this simple morning and evening reflection might be helpful. Try it on waking in the morning before getting out of bed, or last thing at night after turning out the light.

 

  • Email john@fff.org.nz with your initials to join those taking these few days as a simple retreat-in-daily-life, and to invite others to keep you in prayer. Click the image to enlarge.

10 Responses to "here & now"
  1. Wow- it is almost too simple. I must stop worrying about the past & future & just concentrate on the present. Thanks Fr John

  2. Quote…….”The circumstances that I find myself in (including – ‘feel like anything but a gift’) are simply the present reality where God is dwelling with me, therefore there is nothing I need fear”

    A Jesuit said, “Nothing happens without the permission of the Holy Spirit”

    Rejoice! Our Gracious and Gentle, Omnipresent Refiner, is constantly in attendance.

  3. Henry Nouwen, in “Here and Now”, writes:
    True spiritual gratitude embraces all of our past, the good as well as the bad events, the joyful as well as the sorrowful moments. From the place where we stand, everything that took place brought us to this place, and we want to remember it all as part of God’s guidance. This does not mean that all that happened in the past was good, but it does mean that even the bad didn’t happen outside the loving presence of God.

  4. Eternity is now! And now is Eternity! If only we could grasp that fully we would be the happiest people alive!!

  5. “Without this ‘You’ everything would be nothing.” And inversely those circumstances of nothing (like being stuck at a level crossing while a 100 carriage coal train trundles by), or worse than nothing (like a 3 day headache) are everything. If it wasn’t for friends who testify to this way of living reality, this ‘You’ would not exist for me, or it would just be another method of getting through life’s bad moments. Thanks Gius. Thanks Fr John.

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