As we approach the holidays, do you find yourself spending more and more of your time focused on some time in the future? A time when your family can safely be together, when kids can be back in school, and when our “new normal” will be a thing of the past? While it is good to plan and hope for the future, it’s also important to not wish away the life you are being given right now.
Father Jacques Philippe, a Catholic spiritual writer, once wrote, “All we have is the present moment. Here is the only place where we can make free acts. Only in the present moment are we truly in contact with reality.”
Father John Gordon, a regular Morning Air® contributor, recently stopped by to discuss the gift of the present moment, and how encountering Our Lord in the here and now can help get us through difficult situations.
“I know people who say, ‘I can’t wait for 2020 to be over,'” he shared. “And I say, ‘Why? What’s happening New Years Day 2021? Is everything going to change?’ I think there’s a sense that people are tired, people are anxious, and people can be discouraged. And all those things can find their antidote in the realization that the Risen Lord is present in this situation. His plan is for right now, not just in the future. He’s already rescuing us, answering our prayer.”
While acknowledging that we shouldn’t forget the past and we should have concern for the future, Fr. Gordon pointed out that one of the ways we can stay focused on the present moment is found in our relationship with the Lord.
“Our relationship with the Lord is a good example of how I relate to the present,” he said. “In my relationship with the Lord am I just thinking about the past with memories, or am I just hoping about the future with fear or anxiety? Or am I in a relationship with Him in which I recognize Him present to me here and now?”
“While it’s good to have the memories and the plans, we need to recognize that right now is where I am. Right now is where God is. And right now is where I need to live my life fully,” Fr. Gordon advised.
When you’re going through a difficult time, it does make sense to think toward the future, a time when your current suffering will be a thing of the past. But Fr. Gordon pointed out that the way we build a better future is by embracing the present moment. We can spend our time wishing away our difficulties, or we can allow our difficulties to help us grow into a better, holier person. The present moment isn’t something to be afraid of, but a gift we have been given.
“Have you ever had a conversation with somebody, and it’s a crowded room or there’s some other activity going on, and you realize they’re not really looking at you but they’re looking over their shoulder to see who else is in the room?” Fr. Gordon asked. “That’s what it’s like to live in the future. We’re not really paying attention to what’s happening right in front of us, we’re looking over the shoulder of the present to see who else is coming into the room. And that doesn’t lead to a very fruitful life.”
Listen to the full conversation below: