Focusing on the present this Lent Print
Everyday Faith
Written by Julianne Nornberg   
Thursday, Mar. 07, 2019 -- 12:00 AM

Everyday Faith column by Julianne Nornberg

"Mom, can I get a Minecraft Lego set for my birthday?"

My son's eyes were wide with hope and anticipation and all seriousness. But, smiling, I had to hide a laugh and shake my head.

His birthday was six months away.

As children, it is only natural to want to plan and dream and ask for things so far into the future. For them, the future holds no fears, no setbacks. It holds only the promise of good things to come.

Our dreams as adults

As children of God, we adults do the same thing with God Our Father. I love to plan my life out and envision what the future will hold. Like any child, I plan and ponder, schedule and dream, thinking about what my life will be like in five, 10, 20 years. Or even just what the summer will be like in a few months.

As a result, I'm pretty sure God laughs at me every day. Or at least He shakes His head with a knowing smile. Because only He knows what is to come, despite my best plans.

And as I dream my life away, pondering the future, I squander the gift of the precious moments of the present.

Live in the present

Perhaps this is why, admittedly, Lent has felt fruitless for me sometimes. Because I am so caught up in what is to come, I lose sight of what is and how best to serve God in the moment.

"Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established" (Proverbs 16:3).

This Lent, I am determined to purposefully live in the moment of each day, with the goal of drawing closer to God.

Here are some ideas as we begin this season of repentance:

*Discuss with your children three ways you and your family are going to fulfill the areas of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving this Lent. Fasting is not only giving up food on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, but fasting is also cutting out things or qualities that trip us up. Fasting from complaining is one example.

• Set aside at least 15 minutes each day for prayer. Meditate on the daily readings and offer your day to God. Also, go to daily Mass or spend time each week in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

• Pray the Rosary each day or at least each Sunday as a family. If you struggle to carve out time for this, do it in the car while transporting children.

• Set up a box in the kitchen for the purpose of collecting food for your local food pantry. Each time you open your own pantry to make supper, pick one item to put in the box.

• Go to Confession. To be a Catholic in good standing, each of us is required to go to Confession once a year. But going regularly is strongly encouraged and highly beneficial.

Instead of planning out every moment of the future, live in the present and focus on what you can take care of right now, which is working on strengthening your relationship with God.

This Lent, your job is to spend time with God and pray for His will for your life to be made known. Then pray for the grace and courage to follow His plans, not your own.


Julianne Nornberg, mother of four young children, is a member of St. John the Baptist Parish, Waunakee.