The New Year is almost here. Have you done everything you planned to this year? Are your goals set for next year? Have you compared your state-of-me with your peers, coworkers, friends, to make sure you’re making the same strides that they are?In the midst of our reminiscing of the past and our dreaming in the future, is God, calling for relationship with us in the present. Savoring the present is something I’d like to work on in the new year.
Why is this important? Because God gives us every second as a gift, but we can’t take any of these seconds for granted. The future that we plan for may never come. And the memories of past events, while we can relive them in our mind, or try to imagine them going another way, are done. There’s another reason too – because we don’t know when our last opportunity to pray will come.
Recently someone in my life was tragically killed. It’s hard to accept that a child or someone in an accident would be taken so suddenly, or be in so much pain. It’s harder to accept when we realize how easily that life could have been ours. But we have faith that God has a purpose for us, even if we don’t know his mission.
Simeon in today’s Gospel reading knew that he would see the Christ before his death. We don’t (always) have the benefit of knowing what to-dos we’ll finish or what milestones we’ll reach before we die. But we DO have the good news of salvation through Christ! And we life our lives praying that God’s will be done, and that we strive to do our best to glorify Him until that day.
Knowing that you don’t know when you are going to die, what do you want to know that you’ve done for yourself on the path to holiness and sainthood? For me, I want to know that I have thanked God for His blessings and prayed for my family and for others, and that I have expressed sorrow for my sins. Make sure that your goals to holiness are built into your daily life. They will build your relationship with God in the present, and remind you that regardless of what has happened in the past or what will happen in the future, that God is with you in the present, in the now, and that even as you call to Him, He gifts your with His attention and love.
How do we savor the present? One way is to set “trigger prayers”. Praying when you wake up, when you eat, and when you hear an ambulance may be familiar. What about praying before you drive the car, or when you begin your day at work or school? A prayer before I start cooking would definitely not hurt! Praying throughout the day helps remind us that God is with me even in the mundane details of my life. How do you keep God present in the present?
I’m writing this post a few days before it will be posted because I will be out of town. There’s a chance that an accident could happen where this will be the last thing I write! But as I type, I pray to God that His will be done in me, and that I accept all that He has for me. I pray that on my last day, rather than thinking about the past I had or the future that won’t be, that I will talk with Jesus, my most intimate friend and tell Him, like the psalmists and saints and singers, is “Blessed be Your Name!”
Halo Tip # 1: So I’m trying to savor each day, and that’s started with recognizing each day as gift. A quick morning prayer is an easy way to do this – before your feet touch the ground, thank God for the new day and ask Him to guide you. An additional prayer that I picked up (I can’t remember if someone told me this or if I read it) is a little request to God that He leads me to do His will in such a way that the Devil gets scared when I get going!
Halo Tip # 2: Does your cell phone have a reminder or alarm setting? Set a time of day (or several times) for prayer and have your phone remind you. You may even be able to set the ringer as the Chaplet, St. Michael prayer, rosary, or another ring tone.
Halo Tip # 3: The past and future aren’t bad to remember and dream about! Maybe you can focus some prayer while you look through a photo album – thank God for the good times and the blessing of His creation which we can enjoy on vacation!
Note: Reflections in this blog are my own and do not represent the positions of my employer.