While on the rabbit trail that began with Greg Boyd's recommendation... for those interested in a christ centered way to Practice the Presence...I came upon a neat little book (on google books...LOVE google books) called Mother Angelica's Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality
Very cool...and proof that we don't always need to go to "new age" teachers to find the pearls of wisdom about living in the now...putting the ego to death and consciousness. Jesus did not limit "eternal life" or living in the kingdom to some time off in the future. His message was about living the abundant life NOW. Folks like Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass, Marrianne Williamson (whose teachings have all shed light) do not have a monopoly on how to live in the present moment or commune with the divine. There are many mystics who come from very traditional (Christian) disciplines who do just that. Mother Angelica might be considered one of them.
I'll write more about her in a few upcoming posts...but for today I am posting an excerpt from the book mentioned above.
There is a chapter in the book called Living in the Present Moment
Most people live in their past, in sin, guilt, remorse, resentment. They see every tiny detail related to those past events. They are actually living in that moment and it's wrong. Because the moment you have now, this Present Moment, is all you have. You don't have the next moment, and the past is gone forever. But we keep bringing it back...someone offended me, "someone said something" and we keep reliving it in our minds over and over and over. You are then living in a moment that is gone, a fantasy.
Every moment of life is new to you, and God gives you Actual Grace in that moment. It is different from Sanctifying Grace. If you are baptized and keeping the Commandments and loving your neighbor, then you are in a state of Sanctifying Grace. (Catholic nun, remember? Eat the hay...spit out the sticks) But God grants us the Actual Grace of this moment, not the grace of tonight or tomorrow, just the grace for this moment. So we mustn't project tomorrow into this moment, because God will not give us that grace now: He waits until it is needed.
I mean, I can say to myself that I would be a martyr for the faith if someone threatened my life and demanded that I renounce my Lord. I would hope I would have the courage to accept death, but you don't know what you would do because the trial is not here. 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.
You handle this moment, then the next, and then you forget about it and move on to the next moment. If you have to think of something in the future because it is part of the Present Moment, then you have to do that. But to bear everything that happened today and everything that will happen tomorrow all at one time is too much for anyone.
Our Lord taught: the past is dead, the future unborn, all that's mine is right now.
Or as another short, snappy little quote I found declares....
“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future.” Fulton Ousler