Magazine articles - June 2019

Dear Friends

Do you live in the present? That might sound like a foolish question; we are all alive at this moment of time. Where, however, is your heart and your mind? How much are you absorbed and conscious of what you are doing right now?Your mind might be drifting off from reading to the next thing to be done, with some impatience and anxiety, expectation, excitement or dread. e.g.We can spend monthsliving for a holiday, and when it comes, it’s gone in a flash and by then we’re already planning for Christmas! The present moment, even a holiday, is not being lived and savoured.

We can also dwell on the past: regrets and mistakes, ills done to us, things that have gone wrong can preoccupy us. We can live with an "if only": if only I had worked harder at school; if only I hadn't taken out so much debt. Meanwhilethe present goes by unnoticed and life is not truly being lived, nor appreciation felt for what is good today.

Or we complain about today, and dwell in our ‘good old days’ when life remembered asbeing so much better. Or we are looking into the future! When surely things will be better.

All of this has an adverse effect on our relationships, our work, our enjoyment, our relationship with God.

But what about today, living when and where we are? Just how thankful are we for now? Do we gladly receive all the good things that God gives each moment, from the air we breathe, the home in which we dwell, the wonder and beauty of creation.

Living in the present moment frees us to listen and honour everyone whom we meet. If we are ever thinking about the jobs to be done, or a past event in our live, we can’t be listening to the person who is speaking to us now. Nor in our workplace can we be concentrating on the job in hand, and in our leisure, the story we read or watch. And as we pray, how easy it is to let our minds wander to past or future. Now: there is nowhere else where we can truly live. It is the place where we meet God; indeed some writers have called it the 'sacrament of the present moment'.The past is no more, and tomorrow, it might never come…

Finally, part of living in the present is to make adequate plans for tomorrow. If we don’t seriously do that now, we are going to destroy our planet. Nor does it mean that we shouldn't remember. Remembering is a crucial part of being alive today; think of the Eucharist. To reflect on what has happened in the past and try to learn from it, be thankful for blessings received, try to see where God has been active, to help us live our lives more pleasing to God now. And work through our losses, our grieving, and an important part of which is remembering our departed loved one with thanksgiving, and a real awareness of our sorrow now.

With love and prayers

 James