Living In The Present

I served for ten consecutive years as pastor in my last assigned parish, which means that I delivered in excess of five hundred (500) Sunday morning homilies to my parishioners. That number does not account for those that I delivered on holydays, weddings, baptisms, funerals, etc.

In sermon preparation, I made a concerted effort to base the content of the homily on the appointed scripture readings; however, in retrospect, I must confess that many of my sermon themes broadly and generally connected the scriptural passages with issues that were current and forefront in my own life. In other words, I frequently preached to myself.

Soul Saturday 2While considering the topic of my next blog post, I was drawn to a brief spiritual exhortation by Father Aleksandr Elchaninov. The basic premise of his exhortation is the importance of living one’s life in the present moment. The theme seemed familiar to me, so I decided to review yesterday’s blog post “Trusting God’s Providence.” Low and behold, although not sharing an exact theme, yesterday’s post also emphasized living in the now “where God reveals Himself to us.” Although I have yet to discern why I am currently focused and drawn to the theme of “living in the now,” I trust that in retrospect I will discover the answer.

Carpatho-Rusyns maintain a tradition of praying for the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit by singing the hymn “O Heavenly King – Царью Небесный” immediately prior to the priest’s delivery of the homily.  So, before translating and transcribing Father Aleksandr’s exhortation below, I pray that the topic on “Living In The Present” provides spiritual edification to all who read it…

“Life is a precious and unique gift, yet we mindlessly and carelessly waste it, forgetting its brevity. We either focus with regret on the past, or anticipate the future, as if our real life will then begin. The present escapes us in these fruitless regrets and future fantasies… Our constant mistake is in failing to seriously embrace the present moment of our life, in that we live either in the past or in the future, awaiting some sort of exceptional moment when our life is completely meaningful. Rather it is like water seeping away between our fingers or a precious grain escaping from a poorly tied sack. If we accepted every moment of our life as an experience of God’s will for us, as a most decisive, important, unique moment of our life – such unimaginable hidden sources of joy, love, and strength would be manifested in the depth of our soul” – Priest Aleksandr Elchaninov (1881-1934).

“Жизнь — драгоценный и единственный дар, а мы бессмысленно и беспечно тратим его, забывая о ее кратковременности. Мы или с тоской смотрим в прошлое, или ждем будущего, когда будто бы должна начаться настоящая жизнь. Настоящее же уходит в этих бесплодных сожалениях и мечтах… Наша постоянная ошибка в том, что мы не принимаем всерьез данный протекающий час нашей жизни, что мы живем прошлым или будущим, что мы все ждем какого-то особенного часа, когда наша жизнь во всей значительности, и не замечаем, что она утекает, как вода между пальцами, как драгоценное зерно из плохо завязанного мешка. Если бы мы каждый час нашей жизни принимали бы как час воли Божией о нас, как решающий, важнейший, единственный час нашей жизни, — какие дотоле скрытые источники радости, любви, силы открылись бы на дне нашей души” – Священник Александр Ельчанинов (1881-1934).


One thought on “Living In The Present

  1. Baba often used to say that we must “live in the now” – Looks like Fr. Aleksandr only lived to be 53 – Although still quite young, he was gifted with much wisdom and insight – Love, GodFather

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