Am I being present? (A Reflection by parishioner Tim Brown)
Present - A good word to pray with this time of year as we go out in search of that perfect gift.
I had the opportunity to spend some time with my two-year-old son this weekend, and I realized something about how to give a perfect gift. After playing in the yard for a while, it hit me that it wasn’t any sort of material object my son desires, but rather, all he really wants from me is my undivided attention. He wants me to be present.
As long as I was willing to stay with him, my son threw this old tennis ball that he found up and down a hill chasing after it and calling, “Come on Daddy, Come on!” We both got lost in the moment and genuinely enjoyed each other's company on a beautiful day.
My guess is that he has an easier time than I do getting lost in the moment. I frequently allow the pressures of life to take me away from the moment, and I begin to dwell on all the things I haven’t gotten done or wished I would have done differently. When I’m not present I’m more likely to get upset about a mess that didn’t get cleaned up or pick on my wife about something that she did or didn’t do. Staying present is my ticket to avoiding these trappings.
When I’m present, I’m more fully connected to God. I’m able to follow his direction. I accept it, appreciate it, and reflect it back to others. Christ becomes present to us through the gift of the Eucharist. The simple forms of bread and wine are transformed into His body and blood. We take and eat them to remain in Him and Him in us. And the only way His presence can be discerned or detected is through faith. “On the authority of God who reveals to himself to us, by faith we believe what cannot be grasped by our human faculties.” (cf. Catechism, no 1381) I am able to experience His presence the most when I am able to remain in the moment.
The Eucharist is gift that helps me to remain present. My daily prayer routine helps me to connect with God on a regular basis so I keep my priorities in check. This time allows me to refocus on what's truly important when things seem to get out of whack. Seeing God in the simple things of life is one of the great gifts He offers me, and I can receive and give it multiple times a day if I just remain present.
During this Advent season, please join me in trying to be more present. It's the gift that will surely be everyone's favorite!
+In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.