Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bringing the Future into the Present

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now” Alan Lakein
Almost all the time management/productivity books say something like this, but I think Lakein was the first of the lot. It keeps coming into my mind along with something the Pope said recently in regard to the priestly vocation:

The meaning of celibacy - as an anticipation of the future - is precisely to open these doors, ... to show the reality of the future which we must live here in the present, and in this way bear witness to our faith. We truly believe that God exists, ... that we can found our lives on Christ and on the life to come"
In this regard, faith is precisely the act of living in the present as if the future had already come.

A post by an evangelical pastor contains this quote from Surprised by Hope in regard to the Eucharist (emphasis mine):

To make any headway in understanding the Eucharist, we must see it as the arrival of God's future in the present, not just the extension of God's past (or of Jesus's past) into our present. We do not simply remember a long-since dead Jesus; we celebrate the presence of the living Lord. And he lives, through the resurrection, precisely as the one who has gone on ahead into the new creation, the transformed new world, as the one who is himself its prototype. The Jesus who gives himself to us as food and drink is himself the beginning of God's new world. At communion we are like the children of Israel in the the wilderness, tasting fruit plucked from the promised land. It is the future coming to meet us in the present. (p. 274).
If you will bear with this train of associations, I call to mind now Colossians 3:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Once again, the essential continuity of past, present and future are evoked (and St Paul, of course, gives specifics of how to live now that you have died to your old ways, and been reborn and are bringing the future into the present). It gives me a new insight into my "Quotidian" theme -- the present moment is the focal point of past, present and future.

Now back to theory and practice of planning -- many of the productivity/time management books are very secular, of course. But remembering that planning is a human method of bringing the future into the present -- a "natural" way of enacting faith and hope, so to speak -- will perhaps help me to remember that this is a natural reflection of a supernatural truth.

After all, if planning was strictly temporal, it would be sort of useless -- animals do not need to plan; the biological imperative of survival, physical well-being and reproduction is sufficient for their participation in past, present and future. But human planning, even when conceived without mystery as a purely pragmatic thing, has echoes of bigger-than-temporal significance.

Planning, on some level, is taking the prescriptive as a future descriptive, as I said once before. It's trying to live the reality that one hopes for. Once again, it's bringing the future into the present moment. ... as Paul said, a process of casting off the old ways and taking on the new. The Christian faith requires a realism about temporality that is more sophisticated than what our biological, sequentially locked existence would propose. It proposes that the present moment is our gateway, ever continuing, to the future, to eternity.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to hear your thoughts on this!