The Salesian “Now”

This week's reflection is written by
Rev. Paul H. Colloton, OSFS/OPA

I was recently hospitalized for an abdominal issue. Thanks be to God, I am on the mend. My experience led me to reflect on St. Francis de Sales’ words: “Do not look forward to what might happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day.” My translation is: “Live each “now” to the best of your ability and trust in God.”

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My experience started with visiting an “After Care” facility. Then, I was sent to the hospital for further tests. Then, I was admitted as a patient. None of these was on my “To Do” list for that day. However, as the day progressed it was clear that they needed to become my “To Do” list that day. So I left our Men’s Basketball Game at halftime to check things out. Each of those “now” moments changed my perception and called for a different response. And throughout every “now” of that day, I knew that I was not alone. God was and continues to be with me. God’s presence wasn’t always what I’d hoped, like removing my pain immediately or finding a “cure” that did not require hospitalization, but God was definitely with me, which gave me a centeredness and a peace that helped me know God’s care each step of the way. How?

In friends who were concerned and helped me decide to visit “After Care,” God was present. In medical staff who were clear, thorough, and caring, God was present. In other patients with whom I entered a community of care, God was present. In generous co-workers who brought what I needed from home and who continued to text and call to see how I was doing, God was present. In our University President who took time to stop and visit me, God was present. In our Provincial, Fr. Lew’s, loving concern, God was present. In prayer, the prayer of the Church and my personal prayer, God was present. At every step along the way, the same everlasting God who cared for me that moment, took care of me during each tomorrow that followed. God was present at every “now.” I could trust that would continue.

On Wednesday we begin the wonderful season of Lent, the Springtime of the Church. Just as Spring is a time for new growth, so, too, Lent is a time to let go of whatever keeps us from living Jesus to embrace the new growth that comes from changing our lives to deepen our relationship with Jesus and live Jesus more clearly. That’s why we do penance. That’s why we turn away from sin to reorient our lives and live the Gospel clearly, each and every day.

How do you describe your “now” as you read this reflection? Can you stay in that “now,” without looking forward or backward, so that you can find God with you, even in unexpected ways? Take time, now, and look for God’s presence in your life. Listen for God’s voice within and around you. And then, dialogue with God and find that centeredness in God that gives you peace. No matter your current life situation, you can find peace and trust and live Jesus in that moment and everyone that follows. Remember: “Live each “now” to the best of your ability and trust in God.”