I’ve started listening to more podcasts lately, particularly regarding music, singing and especially about the spiritual life and our Catholic faith. The beauty of podcasts is that you can still go about your day – but not while at work or driving! – while listening to interesting conversations – with no advertisements! As you hear life-nourishing content, you gradually absorb new ideas, thoughts, and perspectives – I would highly recommend it.
In one of the Catholic podcasts I was listening to, the speaker was saying that God is not a God of yesterday or of tomorrow, but of today, so we can choose to be with Him right now, in this very moment. This struck me because even though that is true, I never really stopped to think about focusing on God ‘in the now’. I have often reflected about God throughout history, His miracles of the past, and stories in the Bible from another time. Then I would skip to the God of tomorrow, and wonder what He wants from me next or what His future plans will be. But to stop and think about the God of today? The God of right now? Well, I kind of forgot about that.
Of course we are conscious of God sustaining our lives, and of being thankful for the daily blessings we have, but personally I have rarely thought about God with me at very this minute. We humans are good at dwelling on the past, and worrying about the future. We often do not just live in the present moment right in front of us. Our ‘monkey minds’ are often scattered and fretting about what happened yesterday, or last week, or about what could happen tomorrow, or next month, or next year.
In another Catholic podcast, hosted by a religious Sister, I heard a story about a man who, on his deathbed, was visited by a priest who was about to sit in an empty armchair nearby. The man told him not to sit there because it was Jesus’ seat. He explained that he had not believed in God fifty years earlier in his younger years, but a priest had suggested that he could leave an empty armchair in his room and imagine Jesus sitting there for a chat. He tried that and over the ensuing years the man came to believe. The Sister suggested we could also do the same and just be with Jesus in the moment. Pull up a chair and have a coffee with the Lord, or if you drive and the seat next to you is empty, invite Jesus to sit there with you.
So, let’s try it.
Can you please stop reading this for a minute?
Turn to your nearest empty seat and invite Jesus to sit there.
Or if you are standing, close your eyes and ask Jesus to come and stand right next to you.
How did that feel? Did you sense any change or do you feel different somehow?
Father Jean Pierre de Caussade was a French Jesuit priest and writer. He wrote one of my favourite books called Abandonment to Divine Providence (or The Sacrament of the Present Moment). If you struggle with finding God in the ordinariness of the present moment or with surrendering everything to His constant presence, this is a book you need to read.
Modern life is not a friend of stopping in the moment. Honestly connecting with the people around us is hard enough at the best of times, let alone with a God we cannot see. But we can do it by pulling up that chair and taking a fraction of our time to ask Jesus to sit with us right now. We can then be silent with Him or tell Him about our day, our hopes, dreams, concerns, or anything which is pressing on our hearts and minds. If we will be spending our eternity doing this with Him face-to-face, why not start now?