When looking forward to the new millennium, the saintly pontiff gave us a profound meditation that can give us new life.
When St. John Paul II closed out the year 2000, he wrote in his apostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte a challenge that can orient us in the right direction. He began the letter writing, “a new stage of the Church’s journey begins, our hearts ring out with the words of Jesus when one day, after speaking to the crowds from Simon’s boat, he invited the Apostle to ‘put out into the deep’ for a catch: ‘Duc in altum’ (Lk 5:4). Peter and his first companions trusted Christ’s words, and cast the nets. ‘When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish’ (Lk 5:6).”
Then he wrote a profound sentence that is a perfect summary of the Christian life that can be turned into a motto we should strive to incorporate into our daily activities.
Duc in altum! These words ring out for us today, and they invite us to remember the past with gratitude, to live the present with enthusiasm and to look forward to the future with confidence.
With this simple sentence, St. John Paul II provides a key to living a fully integrated Christian life.
Often we forget to remember the past with gratitude, especially when there is suffering. When we are thankful for how God has acted in our lives, we are able to see his hand in it all. This allows us to see God’s presence even in the suffering, reassuring us that he has a plan for us.
Furthermore, it’s tempting to get caught dwelling the past, which can prevent us from fully embracing the present moment. This is another key to Christian living, as we can only change the present. The past is already gone and the future is not here. It is only in the present moment that we can change and live with joy our Christian faith. Everything else is out of our control, but we can change what we do in the present moment.
Last of all, the future can often cause fear, but with Christ at our side, nothing should dissuade us. Knowing that Jesus is with us, all the uncertainties of the future can be met with confidence, trusting that God is with us through it all.
If you are stuck in the past or worried about the future, meditate on those three moments of time and consider how you approach them. Taking John Paul II’s advice, we can reignite the fire of our faith and no longer remain idle, but seize the day with enthusiasm, trusting that God has a plan and is with us no matter what.
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