Let Tomorrow Take Care of Itself
We are all more or less “worry warts.” Not content to focus on the good (or bad) things we face today. We tend to wring our hands over the good (or bad) things we will face tomorrow.
Common sense tells us that this is silly. Why waste worry over a tomorrow that isn’t? Jesus tells us the same thing. In today’s gospel he asks, “Which of you by worrying about it can add a moment to his lifespan… Enough, then, of worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow take care of itself. Today has troubles enough of its own.”
There is a story told about the young 16th century Jesuit saint, Aloysius Gonzaga, which fits into this picture. One day he and other junior Jesuits were playing some sort of football game during their recreation period. (Set times were mapped out by the Jesuit Superiors for daily prayer, study, manual labor and creation.) Suddenly, one of his fellow players said, “I was just thinking, the world might come to an end while we are playing this game. I wonder what I would do. What would you do, Aloysius?
Aloysius, not yet a saint but getting there, simply shrugged his shoulders and answered, “I’d keep right on with the game.”
The point was well taken. We can no longer serve God in the past, because it is gone. We can’t serve him in the future, because it hasn’t come. But we can serve Him in the present; and we serve Him now by doing what we’re supposed to be doing now. In Aloysius’ case, it was playing ball.
St. Teresa of Avila showed a like wisdom. One day at dinner she was heartily enjoying the roast partridge. Another nun, a little shocked, asked her if it wouldn’t be better to be praying than to be enjoying dinner. Teresa answered, “When I pray, I pray; when I partridge, I partridge!”
(Of course, the habit of living just in the present is something that it takes time to cultivate. As I write this sentence, I am beginning to worry whether my car will start tomorrow morning!)
-Father Robert F. McNamara
Q. 621: Can a Christian life be that simple: to trust in God’s daily providence?
A. 621: There are so many ways that God reveals himself to us! He leaves his fingerprints everywhere in creation for us to see. We struggle for words to describe God’s attributes: his beauty is awesomely displayed in a gorgeous sunset; his power is manifested in the rolling tides and the atmospheric changes; his infinite creativeness is revealed in the microscopic details of something as simple as a leaf from a tree; his desire that we become one in Him is reflected in such examples as the vine and its branches. As our Hispanic brothers and sisters say, we discover the magnificence of God and the abundance of His love in the smallest of his creative wonders.
Today’s gospel (Matthew 6:24-34) shows us in a very gentle way (which is nice for us thick-headed people) how to live. We can take a lesson from the birds and the grass and the lilies of the field. All they do is fulfill their call: they are fully what they are just by “being”! You and I are called in the same way to learn from their behavior: we too are simply called to “be,” to trust in God’s providence. When we have learned this lesson, we are in “right relationship” with God, and he will indeed provide for our needs.
The temptation, of course, is to trust in a different master, the master called wealth. You will recall that the three temptations of Jesus himself in the desert were focused on power, prestige and possessions. One word describes those temptations: mammon. Jesus puts before us a choice: choose mammon, or choose Jesus. One is the way of God; the other is the way of the evil one.
KNOW YOUR CATECHISM! If we are in right relationship with God, we become “righteous” and assured of the providence of God (CCC 1942). Are you willing to become like a little child, dependent on his parent for all his needs (CCC #305)?
You Shall Love Your neighbor
When life gets hard, with depression, wars, and natural disasters, we often hear the complaint, “Where is God? He has abandoned us.” The Israelites felt that way in their exile. But God said , through his prophet Isaiah, “I will never forget you.” In the Gospel Jesus told his disciples, “Stop worrying about what to eat, what to wear. God knows what you need. Let tomorrow take care of itself. Today has enough troubles of its own. ” Jesus is not telling us to be totally passive. He is telling us to do what we can do and leave the final result to God.
Lord, give us strength to bear our troubles with loving confidence in the Father. Many of the woes we experience in our lives are the result of our failure to love our neighbor and act as stewards of your creation in words and deeds. We thank you Lord for the care and love you have always shown us; forgive us when we fail to care for and love those around us.