“The spiritual life can only be real when it is lived in the midst of the pains and the joys of the here and now.” ~ Henri Nouwen
We long for the good things that are to come. We long for graduation from our schools, better jobs, better pay, peace and security. We long for a whole host of things. We long and we wait and we look ahead. The sad part of all of that is that we often fail to live in the “here and now” in the midst of our looking ahead.
This day, this hour, the very moment of reading this column, is what has been given to us. What are we going to do with this moment? How are we going to allow this moment to move us, to change us, to make us better? How can this moment give us the peace for which we long?
If we allow ourselves to be attentive to the moments of our lives, we will be able to realize all our hopes and dreams. If we are attentive to the here and now, we will study hard so that we can graduate. If we are attentive to the here and now, we will do what needs to be done to secure a job or to earn a raise. If we are attentive to the here and now, we will be able to achieve the peace and security we desire.
The future is nothing magical. It is nothing that comes with surprises. It is something that unfolds from this very moment and from all the moments of our lives.
Henri Nouwen was a Dutch Catholic priest, professor, writer and theologian. His interests were deeply rooted in psychology, pastoral ministry, spirituality, social justice and community. Renowned and respected internationally, Nouwen wrote 39 books on the spiritual life. He was aware of the intensity that some people brought to their search for a “good” life. He was also aware that their very search often pushed their goal past their grasp because they failed to take the steps to achieve that for which they longed.
Do you want to go to heaven at the end of your days here on earth? Do you want God to say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant”? Do you want to have peace and love and joy surround you? It is only possible if you begin working on that goal right here and right now.
If we want to be enveloped by God’s peace, hear His words of affirmation, and be invited into heaven, we must be the people Jesus calls us to be. We must love today. We must pray today. We must share our faith with others today. We must be peacemakers today. None of this can or should wait for tomorrow because none of us knows if a tomorrow is going to be given to us. Live as a child of God in the here and now and God will be pleased.
FAITH ACTION: Dedicate all that you will think, do, and say to the Lord today and live in the here and now as His faithful disciple.