As I sit at my desk putting this blog together, and waiting for the sun to warm things up a little so that Helen and I can get out and play a little golf, I reflect on comments that Fr John Friel made this morning at Mass about living in the moment. His comments have inspired this blog.
It is no doubt part of our human nature to fantasize about the future, allowing our imagination to create scenarios about future events in our life. While this is normal and not unhealthy in itself [in fact, it is necessary from a planning point of view as we need to be aware of the road ahead of us] it can leave us open to preoccupation with things that may create an unhealthy balance in our life particularly if our daydreams cause us to focus on things and the accumulation of things or possible future events that draw us into a future plan that leaves us separated from the plan God has created for us. We likely think of time as a continuum moving from the distant past, into the present and then on in to the future, much like a deep flowing river. What if we were to think of time commencing in the present and moving into the past leaving the future in God’s hands once we have completed our prudent planning?
This may have been what Jesus was suggesting in today’s gospel reading [Mark 6: 7-13]. Jesus instructed the 12 to go out in 2’s to “heal” those with whom they came in contact. He instructed them “to take nothing but a walking stick; no food, no sack, no money in their belts”. In essence, He was instructing them to focus on their mission and not allow the scenario of future imperatives to rob them of the urgency of the moment.
When we allow our own personal forecast of the future to crowd in on current tasks, we risk missing the hand in need of help, the relationship in need of nurturing, and the proper handling of the present task which is robbed of our full attention. We also leave ourselves open to the schemes and distractions of the enemy who, aware of our tasks in the moment, has devised elaborate or not so elaborate schemes to rob us of our effectiveness.
Living in the “moment” requires letting God be God. When we live in the peace and joy that our relationship with Jesus brings us, we begin to focus on Him more and more realizing that the daily events of our life are to be shared with Him as they occur in the moment. Relationships are all about loving in the here and now knowing that the groundwork we construct effectively now will serve us well going forward.
If you are like me, you can sometimes obsess over issues. That obsession may often project into the future and if the obsession is negative, and with me it often is, much emotional energy is wasted chasing phantoms. I keep telling myself that I need to simply turn the issue over to God and get on with the business of being His hands, feet, voice and heart in the moment leaving “phantom” issues for Him to take care of.
As we move into lent, may we all consciously elect to take up our staff, leave our worries at the curb trusting that God will protect us, and move out to meet the objectives given to us in the moment allowing our daily experiences to slip into the past to form part of our memory cache.