HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Many people will be pleased to welcome 2021. The past twelve months have not been what any of us expected this time a year ago, and a lot of folk will be glad to see the back of 2020. Many will enter 2021 with a sense of hope that it will be different. Others who can’t manage quite that much positivity are at least thinking “Well, it really can’t be as bad as last year.” Some, but far fewer, will look back and think that for them it was actually a good year in spite of everything.
Those who seemed to cope best with the changing restrictions, uncertainty about the future, lockdowns and stress were the ones who managed to take each day as it comes. They didn’t spend too much time and worry looking to the future or get too hooked on reminiscing about a better past.
Jean-Pierre de Caussade, a Jesuit in the 18th-century, coined the phrase “the sacrament of the present moment”. He wrote this: “If we have abandoned ourselves to God, there is only one rule for us: the duty of the present moment.” In an explanation accompanying his translation of de Caussade’s work, John Beevers writes this “over and over again, we must live from minute to minute. The past is past, the future is yet to be. There is nothing we can do about either, but we can deal with what is happening moment by moment”.
Behind this is the idea that every day, every moment, is a gift from God. We won’t get it again. We have the choice as to whether we welcome the moment as a time for receiving the grace of God or not. Every minute of our lives is precious. How we choose to use them is up to us.
I wonder whether this might be a good way of trying to live in 2021. For many of us it probably will be easier than 2020, but none of us knows what the future holds.
With best wishes for a fulfilling year
*John Beevers, trans., Abandonment to Divine Providence: Classic Wisdom from the Past on Living Fully in the Present by Jean-Pierre de Caussade (Doubleday: 1975)