Friday, 31 December 2010

The Present Moment - Henri J. M. Nouwen

A 'timely' passage from "Here and Now - Living in the Spirit," by Henri Nouwen.

It is hard to live in the present, the past and the future keep harrassing us. The past with guilt, the future with worries. So many things have happened in our lives about which we feel uneasy regretful, angry confused or at least ambivalent and all these feelings are often coloured by guilt.
Guilt that says . . .

you ought to have done something different than you did,

you ought to have said something other than what you said.

These 'oughts' keep us feeling guilty about the past and prevent us from being fully present to the moment. Worse however than our guilt are our worries. Our worries fill our lives with 'what ifs.'

what if I lose my job ?
what if my father dies ?
what if there is not enough money ?
what if the economy goes down ?
what if a war breaks out ?

These many 'ifs' can so fill our mind that we become blind to the flowers in the garden and the smiling children on the streets, or deaf to the grateful voice of a friend.

The real enemies of our life are the 'oughts' and the 'ifs'. They pull us backward into the unalterable past and forward into the unpredictable future, but, real life takes place in the here and the now.

God is a God of the present. God is always in the moment, be that moment hard or easy, joyful or painful.

When Jesus spoke about God he always spoke about God as being where and when we are. 'When you see me you see God, when you hear me you hear God'. God is not someone who was or who will be, but the one who is and who is, for me, in the present moment.

That's why Jesus came to wipe away the burden of the past and the worries of the future.

He wants us to discover God right where we are here and now.

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