Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Living in the Now

"For He says 'In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.' Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation." 2 Corinthians 6: 2

So often I see young people (and even adults) who cannot live in and appreciate the present. I think there is a tremendous temptation to either live in the regrets (or successes) of the past, or to live in the fantasy world of a future not yet here. The danger of living either of these ways is that we miss the present situation and the grace that God is giving us for today.

So many people allow themselves to be held back from being their best because they cling to the memories of abuse, failure, sin, etc. They live in self-loathing or fear, always looking in the rear-view mirror. They are crushed into ineptitude or apathy because of the past. Is this from God? No. While we certainly don't want to forget about the past to the point of repeating it, God wants to give us a clean slate. Scripture tells us that His mercies are new everyday. This means that we can start over. And especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, our sins are not only wiped away, but are completely forgotten by God and we are made into a new creation.

On the flip side, many people live worried about the future or planning for a future that may never come. People also try to seek out "hidden" wisdom through horoscopes, palm readings, etc, but these are nothing more than occultic practices that cannot bring us peace and at the same time open our minds and hearts to demonic influences. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says "All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to 'unveil' the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading...all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone." (CCC #2116)

The point here is two-fold: First of all, God is a God of hope and so by placing our trust in Him for the future means that we look to the future not with fear, but with hope and expectation. Secondly, God knows our needs and He knows our desires. He also knows what our futures look like and it is His mercy that does not allow us to see everything that is coming. Ultimately through this knowledge and grace, we can stop worrying or planning for the future and live in the present.

Each day is a precious gift from our Lord. Each breath a subtle reminder that He is in control. All we can effect is our next thought, our next word, our next action. Through His grace may they all be in and through His love and His plan for our lives, living in the present, free from the shackles of the past and the worries of the future.

Dear Jesus, please give me the grace to live for You and trust in You today. Free me from the regrets of the past and the worries of the future, that I may be Your instrument in my world in the here and now. Amen.

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