Today’s scripture readings are all about “preparation.” Paul’s letter to the Ephesians urges us to “Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil” and “Put on the armor of God that you may be able to resist on the evil day.” In Psalm 144 the writer urges us on with the words “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war.” In the Gospel, Jesus sets his face resolutely toward Jerusalem, where he will accomplish his purpose. Preparation is the key to victory.
People have told me about preparation all my life. From the Boy Scouts to sports coaches, formation directors, career counselors, financial planners and now “life coaches” I have been reminded about the importance of preparing for the future. I have been encouraged to “think ahead” and plan for the moment to come. Yet now I am beginning to hear different voices about how I should live in the present moment.
The mindfulness folks seem to be saying that if I don’t fully engage in the present moment, I am missing the essence of my life. “God is in the present moment within you.” If you live in the past or the future, you may miss the true presence of God in your life and opportunities for growth in the Spirit. If I am caught up preparing for the future battle, I may miss the grace of the present moment. So what about preparation and putting on my armor to get ready for battle?
Maybe “awareness” is a way to handle this “time puzzle”. Keeping my awareness of grace in the present while knowing this present moment grace may be my “armor for the future” could be my answer. Certainly gives me something to reflect on during this beautiful, fall Kentucky afternoon. The signs of God are everywhere around me right now. They indeed are my armor, my strength and my grace. They are the angels who will carry me into God’s arms in the future.
Terry McDevitt, Ph.D. is a member of the Passionist Family in Louisville, Kentucky.