In this week’s blog Fr Paddy reminds us that there will never be another today and so an important step in order for our lives to be present to this day and this moment is to take time.

Fr Paddy Byrne has a weekly column in the Nationalist Papers.

This column appeared in the edition published 10th March 2010

This week the community of Kildavin, Co. Carlow and well beyond felt a great sense of sadness and loss, because of John Roberts, sudden death, after a brief illness. John was a remarkable, kind and true gentle man. His life was filled and fuelled by a positive spirit that endeared him to so many, especially his dear wife Margaret and all his family. My friendship with John only began in the final weeks of his life. His terminal cancer was relentless in its speed and force. I discovered in John a new glimpse of Jesus. His faith and love was so very tangible, his hope and gentle smile mirrored the face of our God. The love that surrounded John in his final days was a taste of the love God has for us all when we suffer and have to endure the vicissitudes of life that visit all our stories.

Johns sudden illness and death leaves a huge void in the hearts of all who knew and loved him. I am reminded once again of how precious time really is. We dont really appreciate time until the storm clouds of death and separation come to visit.

Time is a real gift. We have no other moment like this day and for this reason we have a big challenge to experience the now in a new and felt way. Many people will get through this day without experiencing something unique in its content. There is a big danger, when our lives get routine, that we forget how really precious each new day is. We all find it so difficult to live in the present moment. Our minds are so often cluttered with the thoughts and anxieties of the past or future that we find ourselves existing and not really living.

We may well be prisoners of time. From the time we rise in the morning to the moment we close our eyes at night, we may well find ourselves responding to the demands of time throughout the day. From the school bell, to repaying the next mortgage, many of us are seriously stressed and at times overwhelmed, because of the amount of events we try to engage with in terms of our time.

When the big crosses of life visit, we get a sudden appreciation of the things we may once have taken for granted. Life is indeed so very precious and indeed vulnerable. It is in our losses that we can appreciate and benefit from what was once quality time. These are often the simple and memorable pleasures of life that we can all avail of every day, a cup of tea with a loved one, walking by the river bank, smelling the flowers blossoming in our spring garden.

There will never be another today. An important step in order for our lives to be present to this day, this moment, is to take time. The Poet prays

“For the newness that was in every stale thing”.

In the bits and pieces of our daily lives may we value the quality of presence that is given in abundance.