Each time I have read of someone’s encounter with Saint Pope John Paul II, there is a thread that weaves through each of them. They speak of his uncanny ability to connect with them as if they were the only person in the room, as if time and space stood still. The person would feel seen and heard and loved, as if nothing else mattered to him but engaging with that person in that moment. He didn’t seem distracted by his agenda, by the next person in line he was to greet, by thoughts of what he might be having for dinner that night. There was a peace—an absolute presence to the moment—that permeated the entire encounter.
Saint Pope John Paul II lived as a “child of the light” as spoken of in today’s Second Reading. He was not anxious about the next thing, but “alert and sober” to the present moment. (1 Thessalonians 5:5-6)
This is the mark of a saint in the making.
Sisters, I know I have a long way to go in this. I can often fall into a spiral of worrying about my family’s future, instead of enjoying the life we have today. I get anxious about what’s on the agenda next month, instead of reveling in the beautiful moments lived today.
My peace is lost. I suddenly feel like I’m stumbling in the dark, rather than walking in the radiance of the light.
There’s a time for planning, a time for looking to the future, but when we are living our lives with a constant glance in that direction (or the opposite—worrying about past mistakes, instead of seeking forgiveness and moving on), we cannot stay open to the light of grace occurring in the present moment.
As Fr. Jacques Phillipe reminds us in his book, Interior Freedom, “Lacking answers about the future, we should prepare to receive them by living today to the full.” Let us live as “children of the day,” then, placing our hope and trust in Him for all things to work for the good (Romans 8:28), and awake to the beauty that is unfolding before our very eyes today.
Don’t worry; live today in the light of the present moment.
Laurel Muff is a creator and appreciator of beautiful things. She resides with her husband and daughters in Northern California. You can find more about her here.