Do you often find yourself living in the past? If so, it’s not always a bad thing it can be good to reminisce on things from time to time. When it becomes a problem is when we remind ourselves over and over of our failures and flaws. This tends to haunt us and creates a notion that we are not good enough this is when guilt overwhelms us. Feeling guilty can really hand tie us in our spiritual growth. One of the many beauties of Catholicism is the Sacrament of confession. Often, after confession we neglect the words of the priest, “I have absolved you from your sins go in peace.” This robs us of our true peace in Christ, and we continue to worry about the past and the future.
What is Living in the Present Moment
It is difficult to move forward with our lives if we live in the past. For several months I was fortunate to host a radio program for Radio Maria called, “The Power of the Present Moment”. I based the majority of the information gathered for the show on the writings of Mother Angelica, foundress of EWTN. Also, Brother Lawrence who had many letters regarding living in the presence of God. I want to share a bit of what Brother Lawrence had written, he said:
The account I can give you is: Having found in many books different methods of going to God and diverse practices of the spiritual life, I thought this would serve rather to puzzle me than facilitate what I sought after, which was nothing but how to become wholly God’s. This made me resolve to give the all for the All. After having given myself wholly to God, to make all the satisfaction I could for my sins, I renounced, for the love of Him, everything that was not He, and I began to live as if there was none but He and I in the world.
Reflect in the Present
This wonderful reflection should be an example to all of us. We must live each moment in the presence of God. When we begin to do this our difficulties of our past will wither away into nothingness. With this in mind Brother Lawrence continues to say, “Sometimes I considered myself before Him as a poor criminal at the feet of his judge. At other times I beheld Him in my heart as my Father, as my God. I worshipped Him the oftenest I could, keeping my mind in His holy presence and recalling it as often as I found it wandered from Him. I made this my business, not only at the appointed times of prayer but all the time; every hour, every minute, even in the height of my work, I drove from my mind everything that interrupted my thoughts of God.
Mother Angelica who had a great love for Jesus and the church Said, “We worry about what’s coming and at other times you’re worried about what happened already, and you’re reliving the past. You have to stay here in the present moment.’” She would share this often from her EWTN studio in Birmingham, AL.
Mother also wrote that, every moment of life is new to you, and God gives you Actual Grace in that moment. It is different from Sanctifying Grace…God grants us the Actual Grace of this moment, not the grace of tonight or tomorrow, just the grace for this moment….God does not give me the grace today to endure the pain of tomorrow. But if I am living in the imagined pain of tomorrow with the grace I have now, I will always feel at a loss.
We Must Live in the Present Moment
If we evaluate our own lives, we can probably see the many moments lost by not living in the present moment. In our busy society people are in the hustle and bustle of life and live in anxiety and worry. God is in control! When you lay your head down at night clear your thoughts with prayer and give the day to God. We must not look back but venture forward and receive the many graces of each moment. As you walk through a store, you can see the suffering and worry in the eyes of people. I have to try and control my anxiety and its difficult, but I give it to God.
In order to overcome our guilt and anxiety we must live each moment with God at our side. It’s a constant awareness and conversation with Him that helps us to appreciate our blessings. It helps us to appreciate the cross also. God is love.
In Sacred Scriptures it says that “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.“ (Matthew 6:34 RSV)
I want to encourage you to live each day in the present moment with God and you will definitely feel a change that will bring you joy. Live with the graces given to us each day. The past is gone and tomorrow will take care of itself.