I don’t know about you, but I constantly need to be reminded that the present is the only time that matters. It is common for pop-psychology writers to bring up phrases such as “the power of now” and “living in the present”. And these are concepts worth pondering.
But the real question is why? An ontological-type answer might be something along the lines of, “nothing else truly exists except the present.” And on my bad days, I would respond, “so what?”
Why does only the present moment matter, in a real, rubber-meets-the road kind of way?
“It is in the present that we encounter him, not yesterday nor tomorrow, but today.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 2659.
Now is the only time that God can work and that we can be with Him. Amazing. This is just like any other relationship. I can hope to be with my friend tomorrow, but I cannot, right now, be with my friend tomorrow. It is impossible.
As C.S. Lewis said, “The present is the only time in which any duty may be done or grace received.”
Satan loves to distract us with the past and the future. He doesn’t want us to be present and be open to what God wants to do with us RIGHT NOW.
How does this happen? First, we dwell on memories and/or look at them with unrealistic, rose-colored glasses. One year ago I was having the time of my life in the convent with my sisters. It was so amazing. And now, I am here and it stinks. Let me be clear: there is absolutely nothing wrong with acknowledging any feelings that you have about missing the convent, etc. What I am saying is that we can have an unrealistic view of the past, which makes the present seem awful in comparison. Satan loves to play on this. Your life wasn’t perfect before.
On the other end, there is fear of the future. Satan loves to paralyze us with worries about the unknown. We have all had that sinking feeling as we think, what next? I will never forget being in my cell the night before I left the convent I couldn’t sleep and I was trying to fight the fear involved in wondering, what will I do now? Others may have delayed that night for too long, even though they knew the convent wasn’t the place for them, because of this fear. When we are lost in dreaming or worrying about the future, we are not in the present.
In conclusion, “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.” (Mt 6:34)
Jesus says this because we are only receiving grace for right now, not for the problems that we are anticipating or recalling. The Three Persons of the Trinity want to love us right now, give us peace right now, and let us experience joy right now. So don’t be anywhere but here right now!
By Rosa Mystica.
Very well put, beautiful. Thank you Rosa.
Thank you for your kind words!
This is right on! I read this post about 9 months ago, but I had no idea how much Satan likes to use this temptation of living in the past or future. We really seem to romanticize the past and fantasize the future! Even almost a year after leaving the convent, I still find myself searching for an excuse to return to the place that God led me from. He led me to a new state of being; one that is much more difficult because you have no answers or security. My spiritual director constantly reminds me to ”remain in the tension” of discernment…that, wherever God has you, THAT is where He is, (be it in trial, sorrow, dryness, consolation, etc.), until He leads you out of it. When He is there, it is a beautiful place. Thank you for this reminder! (I can never hear it enough). 🙂