Fr. Britto's Blog

Embrace the Moment

A few years ago on a busy morning I was driving to Queen of All Saints Basilica during rush hour when I noticed something. We were coming to some construction and the two lanes were merging into one. I am usually a calm person who does not get upset very easily. However, the way some people drive really gets to me. While many of us were in the left lane patiently waiting, some drivers thought they were smarter than all of us. They tried to get ahead of everyone by cutting in. I would have loved to block their progress. Thank God, I didn’t. As I was trying to calm myself down, I wondered why people were in such a hurry.

That incident made me think of some other similar ones. A few years earlier I was meeting a friend for breakfast at a pancake house (Boy, I love pancakes!). As we walked in, I saw a family of about eight sitting at a table. While most of the family members were engaged in a spirited conversation, their teenage daughter was texting someone on her phone. I wondered why we would ignore the people in our presence to connect with someone far away.

Sometime ago I was talking to a dad whose only child is going away to college. He was justifiably getting emotional. He realized that his life was changing. He was making every attempt to squeeze in one more activity, to create one more memory, with his son. I wonder whether the dad was regretting missed opportunities with his child. We all wish we had more time with someone when we are about to say good-bye.

These three episodes point out for me the same lesson: We are filled with regrets when we refuse to embrace the moment. We live a market culture that is bent on promising new experiences all the time. They try very hard to seduce us into thinking that the adventures to come will be much better than the ones at hand. In succumbing to their seduction we lose out on the experiences that are right under our noses. Senior citizens who have recently discovered smart phones and are adamant about taking pictures at baptisms and weddings remind me of the same temptation. They are more concerned about recording an event for the future while they miss out on the present experience.

As we begin another school year, I invite all of us to embrace the moment. Even though we know it in our hearts, we don’t admit that time relentlessly marches on. The past is gone and the future is not promised. What we have is just the present. Instead of waiting for a better day or someone other than the one right here, can we give our full attention and effort to the task at hand, to the person standing in our presence? Before we realize it, our children will have grown and our teenagers will have marched off to college. Let us cherish every moment with them. Let us live in the present. Let us not be blind to the experiences that God presents us today.

I came across a simple, beautiful prayer sometime ago and it speaks to my suggestion to embrace the moment. Maybe we can recite it every morning and ask the Lord to help us live in the present, taking one day at a time.

Dear Lord, I know that I am kinder when I slow down.

When I am less rushed,

I can find time for people who need a kind word or a helping hand.

When my nerves are calm, I can listen better to someone who needs a friend.

When I am attentive to the moment, I can give my heart to the tasks at hand.

Teach me, Lord, that wisdom comes to those who embrace the moment.

Let me understand that it is not the swift who win the race,

that doing good requires more than being active.

Calm my frayed nerves. Soothe my frenzied mind. Slow me down.

Make me realize that I may not be able to finish today all that I must accomplish.

I may not even do them as well as I wish I could.

Help me seize the day, embrace the moment,

be attentive to the person in front of me.

May I resist the temptation to live in some distant future!

Today is all I have. Today is Your gift to me.

Let me love my family, my friends, and everyone around me.

Let me make the best of the time You give me.

May I come to the end of my day totally content

because I spent it for You and for others.

We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Before you go to sleep tonight, hug your children, kiss your spouse, say a kind word to your friend. Make the best of the time that He gives you. Embrace the moment!

May the God of time and eternity bless our days and make them fruitful!

Who is Fr. Britto?

Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.

After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...

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St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068


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Sunday

7:30 a.m. - Upper Church
9 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
10:30 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
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8:30 a.m. - Upper Church

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