Living in the present moment…

A Message from the Director:One unseasonably warm Autumn day last week, the honey bees appeared in great numbers on the plumes rising above the pompous grass.  

They found a treasure trove of pollen in the late summer blooms, and celebrated maybe their last hurrah before settling in for the winter.

In the photo, the bee readies itself to dive into the plume and gather some more pollen. From the heavy pollen sacks on its hind legs, the bee’s had a good day.

The photo captures a moment, one laden with beauty and significance. In addition to the present promise of more pollen, there is also a future promise:  the little miracle that transforms these microscopic bits of pollen into droplets of golden sweet honey, ultimately providing food for a new generation in the hive. To complete the moment, the sun filters through the trees in the background. With a trick of refraction, the tiny openings between leaves splits the sun into a hundred little globes, each taking the shape of the brilliant orb a million miles away.

We think of our life as a steady march through time, from one activity to another. The ancient Greeks, however, had two words for time: chronos and kairos. Chronos is time as we generally know it, chrono-logical time. It is the time that usually orders our day, set by the position of the sun or the digital signal on our cellphones. Kairos is a moment filled with meaning. These moments transcend time.  As the photo reveals, they are laden with beauty or significance. Some Kairos moments completely alter the expected trajectory of our lives. September 11, 2001 was one of those moments for our nation. The year 2020 will be another for the entire world, and most likely become synonymous with all the pain and confusion the pandemic brought about.

The message from the bee in the photo to us: strive to make every moment a ‘kairos’ moment. Rather than look ahead to what’s ‘next’ or behind to what ‘was’, open your hearts to what’s ‘now’. This is especially important today.  We long to return to the past where things were ‘normal’.  We fret about the things to come.  The bee in the photo was living in the moment – hovering six feet above the ground surrounded by the warming rays of the sun and filled with the promise of new life embedded in the feathery plumes.

When you think about life everlasting, the steady march of time really has no meaning. What matters are the priceless conversions we make along the way, the little steps toward holiness and the cracked-open doors to receive little share of God’s grace. Eternity cannot be calibrated and quantified, but must be experienced. Everlasting life begins right now.  

In the midst of this crazy world of ours, what can you do to cultivate an attitude of ‘what’s now’ instead of ‘what was’ or ‘what’s next’?

Your servant in Christ,

Deacon Scott D. Gilfillan
Director, Catholic Conference Center