Thursday, May 16, 2013

The sacrament of the present moment

From Richard’s Daily Meditations

Isn’t it strange that a religion that began with a call to change or letting go has become a religion that has been so impervious and resistant to change? Many Catholics think that what it means to be a Christian is to be in love with the 13th century, or the 16th century if you are Protestant, thinking that “this is when Christians were really Christians and God was really God.” There is no evidence that this is true but it allows us to create “religion as nostalgia” instead of religion as actual transformation. Some Catholics hanker for “a true Latin Mass” not realizing that Jesus never spoke Latin—the language of his oppressors! Anything to avoid living right now where God is fully present!

What healthy religion is saying is that the real life is both now and later. You have to taste the Real first of all now. The constant pattern, however, is that most Christians either move both backwards (religion as nostalgia) or into the distant future (religion as carrot on the stick) and consistently avoid where everything really happens and matters—the present moment. Catholics once beautifully called this “the sacrament of the present moment.” The full now is always a taste of something really real. It therefore entices us to imagine the eternal and live in an eternal now. We are just practicing for heaven. How we do anything is finally how we do everything.

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