On a Fall evening in 1963, I was sitting in the refectory (dining room) of the Passionist’s Novitiate in St. Paul Kansas (yes Kansas) listening to a fellow novice read an article from The Sign Magazine by Fr. Andrew Greeley entitled “Grace, the Sacrament of the Present Moment”. Today, 53 years later, I remember well what Fr. Greeley wrote, basically, if you are waiting for life to happen, forget it. It is happening here and now in the present moment. That thought changed my life’s direction then, and continues to inspire me today.
Benedictine Brother David Steindl-Rast repeats that same message in his June 2013 TED Talk, “Want to be happy? Be grateful above. He further gives us a simple formula for doing that, living gratefully. After explaining the relationship between being happy and grateful, brother tells us if we do three simple things we were taught as children, Stop! Look! Go! we will be happy not only in the good moments but the challenging ones as well.
For me, it is also important to Stop! Look! Go! in community with at least one other person, but better with a small intimate community. In a National Catholic Reporter April 12, 2016 interview of Sister Diane Guerin, Justice Coordinator-Mid-Atlantic Community of Sisters of Mercy by Sister Camille D’Arienzo, Sister Diane tells how she prays:
I most often pray in images generated through readings of Scripture, poetry, headlines, nature. I share these experiences and reflections with other sisters and those close to me. For over 40 years I’ve been part of a small group of sisters, priests, lay women and married couples who have shared life together. We meet socially but also pray deeply together. As we age, and some have moved on to their heavenly reward, we meet less frequently but there remains a strong bond among us.
So here I am still trying to live one moment at a time, sharing those moments with the people I love, praying. I am lucky to have a small group called the Community of Passionist Partners. I hope you have a similar group.