Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Being present to the present

I am re-reading the book Testimony of Hope written by the late Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan.  (Pauline Books and Media, Daughters of St. Paul 2000)  For 13 years he was a prisoner in various Vietnam Concentration Camps, 9 of which were in solitary confinement.  His cause for canonization has been introduced.  What a courageous, gentle, loving, holy, holy priest!

This book is the complete text of the Spiritual Exercises he gave to Pope John Paul II and the Roman Curia for the Jubilee year 2000.  The meditations, the fruit of his time alone in prison are  simple yet profound.  At present I am reading his reflection about living in the present moment which is something I have been trying to do for a long time.   
The Cardinal writes: “It is in the present moment that our adventure of hope begins.  This is the only time we have in our hands. The past is already gone, and we do not know if there will be a future.  The present moment is our great wealth (p. 51).”  He concludes this reflection with a prayer of Saint Faustina Kowalska:
“If I look at the future I am full of fear, but why go forward into the future?  Only the present moment is dear to me, because perhaps the future will not lodge in my soul.  The past is not within my power to change, correct or add something.  Neither the wise nor the prophets were able to do this.  I trust therefore to God that which regards my past.  O present moment, you belong to me completely; I desire to use you as much as it is within my power… Therefore, trusting in your mercy, I go forward in life as a child and every day I offer to you my heart enflamed with love for your greater glory.”
As we ready our hearts for the Year of Faith which begins in October, (see  http://www.usccb.org)  perhaps this would be a good book to read during that time.( http://www.card-fxthuan.org/his-works/books.php)   In the meantime, let us take a look at our own focus and see where we are living – in the past, in the future or in this present moment.  I don't always have an easy time being present to the present but with God's grace I am making some progress. 

1 comment:

Laura said...

Dear Sister,

Fear grips me very often in different forms and it is exhausting to be sure. I will try to remember to daily and nightly pray to Our Lord to remove my fears and allow me to feel and live the freedom that living without fear must be like. Pray for me, please.