Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Living in the Present

Living in the present is one of the things I am learning.

This means not living in the past - which has not been too hard for me personally.

This also means not living in the future - including what one hopes the future will be.

This one is more challenging to me. When I was in school I would look forward to the next class and how great it would be. Later, I dreamed of how great it would be to be working. I realize that I can do this in my dreams of what books I will read. (Moreover, planning book buying without reading the books just bought; or what books one will get from the library while the library pile goes unread from last week's library run).

Orthodoxy continues to bring truth into my life in ways I could never of dreamt (another reason to live in the present instead of a fantasy dreamt future).

I have been reading that through God and the Church, a human can become who God created them to be. I see is in Fr. Stephen's post on prayer and humility. Losing one's self brings one to his or her truest self is a concept I first read in C.S. Lewis. The Orthodox church, with the writings and prayers of the Church Father's, deepen what C.S. Lewis speaks of.

The fragrant flower of humility. How wonderful it is to see glimpses of what is needed.

Yet, how little I know - when I was a Protestant I would set myself "spiritual goals" as if I could reach them on my own strength! Still now, I see the danger of thinking that I can acquire myself what I am learning about. And so I need God's tender, loving mercy.

May God grant us all the mercy to complete this Lent and bring us to His Holy Pasca!


E Helena E said...

I certainly hear you about the past, future, and the discarding of one pile of books for another (had to laugh at that one), and those "spiritual goals"...(no laughing matter there).
To live in the present in utter humility would be wonderful.

Michael Hermann said...

It is a challenge to live in the present, with humility. It has been a challenge I've experienced. I think obedience, and not asserting my own will / plan is related.

I hear you on all counts.

Thank you for the gentle reminder Elizabeth.

elizabeth said...

yes, it would be wonderful to live this way,

and yes it is a challenge.

Lord have mercy.

thanks for your comments E-H and M!

Michelle M. said...

I can definitely relate to this post. It can be so difficult for me not to worry and plan for the future (in an obsessive way- haa!). Thanks for sharing this.

Pres. Kathy said...

It is so hard not to worry about things. I remember that when I was in college I would worry about writing all my papers, then as a teacher I worried about getting all my grades in, then as a wife I worried about housework and now as a mother I worry about raising a good Orthodox Christian. If we really had our faith in God, then we wouldn't worry because we would know that He would take care of us.

Asheya said...

I too have a tendency to live in the future. It's such a challenge to just accept the now, to find the beauty and the grace in the moment.

Michael Hermann said...

I always live in the present. It can not be otherwise. However while living in the present, I worry or try to imagine the future. This creates anxiety, or excitement BUT it ruins the present. By doing so I miss being truly present, with God and at peace with God, myself, my neighbour and the world.

RW said...

Fr L just told me about a great book he thinks it is called the sacrament of the present momement... see if you can use your librarian skills and find out if it is still in print for us... it sounded fascinating.

this is something I struggle with too.

elizabeth said...

RW: I did so: I googled it - it is on amazon.com - sounds good - thanks for lettting me know about this book! I should read it sometime...

here's their description:

In this superb new translation of the celebrated spiritual classic of wisdom, hope, and inspiration, Jean-Pierre de Caussade offers guidance for daily living in communion with God. This exemplary devotional work summons readers to holiness, reveals ways to conquer self-love and pride, and points the way for experiencing each moment as a sacrament.

The author shows how God speaks to us through every moment of every day. He encourages a joyous, affirming, selfless abandonment to God. By entering into such active contemplation and facing ourselves honestly and openly, the author assures us, we can achieve the comfort and fulfillment of a life suffused with grace.

These timeless spiritual reflections probe the mystery of faith, illuminate the nature of authentic contemplation, and help us recognize and carry out God's purpose in our own lives. They stand as powerful testimony to de Caussade's conviction "that there is nothing easier, more ordinary, more available to all than saintliness."

About the Author
Jean-Pierre de Caussade was born in Toulouse, France, and was ordained a member of the Society of Jesus in 1708. In 1731, he was appointed spiritual director of the Jesuit retreat house in Nancy, where he undertook the spiritual direction of the Nuns of the Visitation. It is the notes of his addresses to the nuns that form this book.

Kitty Muggeridge, the wife of author and journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, is well-known as a translator.


Anonymous said...

I feel the same!.. It's such a huge struggle for me; short-term and long-term worries, expectations and anxieties... Anything from paying that credit card bill and sending that email to thinking about where I will be working and living two (!) years from now. I am so crazy about planning. As if I will not be taken care of by the Lord our God!!
Please pray for me, a sinner.

elizabeth said...

M - i fully understand this struggle!

Pres Kathy - i agree; i am the same; we are young in the faith and must grow; God have mercy on us and teach us!

A - i know - i can be the same way - i think we unwittingly miss a lot by not being present...

MH - yes - exactly; we often ruin the present by not being in it or aware of God in it...

T - i am the same. let us pray for each other.