Thought for the Day – 11 January – 5th day after Epiphany
Living the Present Moment and the Joy of Confession:
The Wisdom of Venerable Fulton J Sheen (1895-1979)
“All our anxieties relate to time. A human being is the only time-conscious creature. Humans alone can bring the past to mind, so that it weighs on the present moment, with its accumulated heritage and they can also bring the future into the present, so as to imagine its occurrences as happening now. No animal ever says: “I have suffered this pain for six years and it will last until I die.” But, because a human being can unite the past to the present by memory and the future to the present by imagination, it is often necessary to distract him in his sufferings — to break up the continuity of misery. All unhappiness (when there is no immediate cause for sorrow) comes from excessive concentration on the past or from extreme preoccupation with the future. The major problems of psychiatry revolve around an analysis of the despair, pessimism, melancholy and complexes that are the inheritances of what has been or with the fears, anxieties, worries, that are the imaginings of what will be.
…A conscience burdened with the guilt of past sins is fearful of divine judgement. But God in His mercy, has given us two remedies for such an unhappiness. One is the Sacrament of Penance, which blots out the past by remission of our sins and lightens the future by our hope for divine mercy, through continued repentance and amendment of our lives. Nothing in human experience, is as efficacious in curing the memory and imagination, as confession – it cleanses us of guilt and if we follow the admonitions of Our Lord, we shall put completely out of mind our confessed sins: “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Lk 9:62). Confession also heals the imagination, eliminating its anxiety for the future – for now, with Paul, the soul cries out: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).
The second remedy, for the ills, that come to us from thinking about time, is what might be called the sanctification of the moment — or the Now. Our Lord laid down the rule for us in these words: “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Mt 6:34).
This means, that each day, has its own trials, we are not to borrow troubles from tomorrow, because that day too will have its cross. We are to leave the past to divine mercy and to trust the future, whatever its trials, to God’s loving providence. Each minute of life has its peculiar duty — regardless of the appearance that minute may take. The Now-moment is the moment of salvation. Each complaint against it is a defeat, each act of resignation to it is a victory.”