(in German accent?)
This is Father Mike. Hello? Hello. This is … (laughs) Hi, my name is Father Mike Schmitz. And this is Ascension Presents. All of us are called to—at some point—assess the past so we can look forward to the future. That’s what new years do, that’s what birthdays do. That’s what anniversaries do. That’s what seasons do. They give us a time to stop, to look at the past and and to stop and to look in the future. But I think when it comes to the past, a lot of us are tempted to do two things with the past. Either we’re tempted to ignore the past or tempted to live in the past. So many of us kinda bury our heads in the sand. We just keep living, we just keep moving forward. We just say, “Nope I can’t stop, I can’t look at the past,” because why? Because I’m scared of it. Or because I just don’t have any time to look at the past. Or for whatever reason, we tend to ignore the past. Or, we become gripped by the past, like our past then ends up defining us. Our past ends up kind of ruling our lives and rules our thoughts, it dominates us and so we live in the past and can’t move forward because if you’re living in the past or even if you’re ignoring the past there is no clear way forward; you have no future. In fact, if you’re ignoring or living in the past you’re not even living in the present well because to live in the present means, I’ve looked at the past and I’ve lived in the past but now I’ve learned from the past. And I think that’s what ultimately the Church and the Lord is calling us to do: Go back over the last year or over the last week over the last day, and to look at it and assess it. In fact, this is the wisdom of the Church when it comes to what Ignatius of Loyola, St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits called the consciousness examen, that throughout certain parts of the day, or typically at the end of the day you go back over your day and say, OK, God where were you today? Where’d you speak to me? And where was your grace? Basically, where did I say yes to you? And then you go back over again and look at it and assess it and say, now where were you speaking to me and I did not respond to your grace in a way that said yes and I, or I ignored your grace in a way that couldn’t move forward. And then where you need to repent, you repent. That’s what we need to do with our whole lives. Right? At the turn of the year or the turn of the season to stop and look at the past to assess it and then to say, okay, where do I need to repent? Where was God calling me forward or he was calling me not to do something and I didn’t move forward or I didn’t do that thing he was asking me to do? Because unless I learn from the past I will never be wise, because that’s what ultimately wisdom is, it’s truth times experience. It’s truth times “I’ve looked at the past, I’ve assessed it, and now I’ve learned from it, so I can move forward into the future.” But it also might be that you get trapped by it. Right? By looking at the past. That’s one of the reasons that people ignore the past it’s because they think, if I go back there, I’m gonna get stuck and I’m gonna live in the past. If that’s the desperate time, then it calls for desperate measures. And here’s the desperate measure. Here’s something that happened to me a little while ago. Last week. Last week I was doing this teaching for this big group of people in our diocese about the Eucharist and I was so excited for this and I was just … I mean it’s the best thing in the world Right? Jesus in the Eucharist Jesus, the best thing in the world and outside the world-He’s the best one. Anyways, you know what I’m saying So, it’s about the Eucharist and I was so excited for this and I think it kinda bombed I mean, I think it was OK, but that night and the next morning at adoration—I was in adoration in front of Jesus in the Eucharist—and I’m like, God I’m so sorry. Like Jesus, I’m so … I feel like such a moron. I’m so sorry that I failed you. And it’s interesting because in that moment, I’m looking in the past, right, and I was assessing it and I was repenting where I needed to repent and I was like, OK, you know what next time—I learned from it— I need to make it shorter, I need to do this, I need to highlight this. So I had looked at the past, I had assessed the past, I had repented where I needed to repent and I had learned where I needed to learn but I was stuck there. And Jesus is funny, Jesus in the prayer there was like, “OK, just shhh. Up here. Like, look at me.” I’m like, “Yeah, I know Jesus. I’m trying to look at you but I feel so badly. I can’t believe that I bombed this whole thing.” And he’s like, “Shh. It’s not about you. It’s about me.” And I’m like, “I know, everything is about you and I failed you. I was supposed to be there for you and I didn’t do it.” And he’s like, “Shh, shh, shh!” (laughs) And Jesus was, he was shushing me quite a bit in my prayer that day. And he’s like, “Shh! “Up here!” I’m like, “Yeah, I know ‘Up here’. Lord, I know that it’s all about you and I know that it’s not about me.” And he said, “Well, then, stop talking about yourself. Laugh at yourself, how ridiculously self-obsessed you are at this moment.” When you look over your past and you live there, you’re just obsessed with yourself. “Well, no I’m not. I’m taking my sins seriously.” No, no, no. Taking your sins seriously is repenting.
You’ve already done that. “Well, I’m trying to learn from it.” Learning from it is, “Well, here is what I’ve learned.
Now I am going to apply it right now so I can move forward.” I’m not laughing at my sin or my failure. I’m laughing at myself. so that I can love Jesus. I’m laughing at myself so I don’t live in the past. but I can live in Christ and look forward to the future. This, I think in so many ways, is what St. Paul is talking about in Philippians Chapter 3. Philippians Chapter 3, St. Paul says, I haven’t gotten there yet. There’s a destination – it’s Jesus. And I want him so badly. I have not reached maturity. But he said this, “Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind, but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my toward the pursuit of my goal the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.” Now St. Paul is not saying he forgot the past and said he didn’t learn from it, he’s saying I’m forgetting the past in the sense that, listen, I’ve repented of what I needed to repent of, I’ve learned what I need to learn, and I am moving forward. I’ve learned from the past.
I am NOT living in the past. And if I ever get pulled back there,
I’m going to laugh at myself because I need to live in Jesus today. From all of us here at Ascension Presents,
my name is Father Mike. God bless. And have a Happy New Year! Or a happy… summertime or happy… uh… Thanksgiving or whenever you’re watching this. Just have a happy “that thing”. Happy Day! Happy Wednesday.