LIVING IN THE PRESENT
[continued from yesterday]
...Obviously in neither of these ways do we benefit ourselves or others, or promote our good or happiness; by both we only wreck ourselves in the present, so far as we are able.
Looking backward has many dangers. In the first place we easily magnify the things that are gone. We forget that in the past we were younger; and the younger we were, the greater do small things appear.
Who has not experienced that sense of disappointment which often comes to one who returns to a spot after a long lapse of years? In his childhood he has been in some room or building; he has retained the memory of his visit; in his manhood he visits the spot again, and is oppressed with a sense of its narrowness, its puny size.
So it is with much that is past. We retain the recollection, but we forget that we have grown; if time could go backwards, and put us again in the circumstances after which we hanker, how narrow they would seem! how great would be our disappointment!
If this is true of past delights how much more is it true of past miseries!
Of all delusions perhaps none is so great as the thought that our past has ruined our present, that the evils we have done, the mistakes we have committed, have made all further hope impossible....
From The School of Love and Other Essays
by The Most Reverend Alban Goodier, S.J.
Burns, Oates, & Washburn, Ltd. 1918