Lent: Day Forty-One
Practicing Mindful Living
“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
John Dear invites us into a peaceful, nonviolent way of living with creation:
To grow in deeper, loving awareness of our sisters and brothers, the beautiful creatures, and wonders of creation, we practice the art of mindfulness. That means we try not to live in the past or stew over the future.
We give ourselves to the present moment of peace and return to the gentleness of our breath as a way to return to the present moment, the eternal now.
The Buddhists teach mindful living, mindful eating, mindful walking, mindful working. Every moment becomes an opportunity to step into the present moment of peace.
Pope Francis writes of being present as the most precious gift:
“We are speaking of an attitude of the heart,” he writes, “one which approaches life with serene attentiveness, which is capable of being fully present to someone without thinking of what comes next, which accepts each moment as a gift from God to be lived to the full.
Jesus taught us this attitude when he invited us to contemplate the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, or when seeing the rich young man and knowing his restlessness, ‘he looked at him with love’ (Mk 10:21). He was completely present to everyone and to everything, and in this way, he showed us the way to overcome that unhealthy anxiety which makes us superficial, aggressive and compulsive consumers.”
Richard Rohr puts peace to practice: “Putting on the mind of the nonviolent Christ and practicing his nonviolence, we learn to contemplate the lilies of the field and the birds of the air. When he rose from the dead, he gave his friends the gift of resurrection peace, breathed on them, and said receive the Holy Spirit. He sent them on a global mission of peace and nonviolence.
We try to follow Jesus by welcoming that gift of resurrection peace, breathing in his Holy Spirit, and walking in his footsteps in his kingdom of nonviolence. In that mindfulness, everyone shines like the sun. We recognize every human being as a sister and brother, every creature as a gift from God, and Mother Earth as a treasure to be honored and cared for.
We too learn to walk mindfully on earth in the present moment of peace. Along the way, we discover that we have already entered eternal life. Eternity has begun. We are here, on earth, in the peaceful presence of the Creator.”
And then there is me, Ian Macdonald:
“When I live fully present and aware about the world around me, I begin to see the things that matter to me with more clarity and understanding. My heart and my eyes become one, along with my hands and my breath, and every part, big and small, that makes me uniquely who I am. In the present moment, I am fully and truly who I am. And I am fully who God meant to be.
The tension arises when my mind is off in one place, while my heart is in another. I cannot walk down two paths with God at the same time. I must pick one and walk faithfully in oneness with God. Our hearts and eyes, and fingers and breath must beat and see and touch and breathe as one.
Jesus holds me in the present because this is the place where real danger lurks and true love is found. While dwelling on my past might help me understand the difference between these two, it is in my oneness with God that I learn they are really one in the same.
“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” ~ Buddha
Dear, John. They Will Inherit the Earth: Peace and Nonviolence in a Time of Climate Change (Orbis Books: 2018), 123-124.
Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, 226.
Rohr, Richard. https://cac.org/natural-world-week-1-summary-2018-03-10/
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An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)