Enjoy the present

Daily Reading for August 13 • Jeremy Taylor, Bishop of Down, Conner and Dromore, 1667

Enjoy the present, whatever it is, and do not be anxious about the future. For if you take your foot from the present and thrust it forward into tomorrow’s events, you are in a restless condition. It is like refusing to quench your present thirst by fearing that you will lack drink the next day. If you would secure a contented spirit, you must measure your desires by your condition, not vice versa. Be governed by your needs, not your fancy.

Let us prepare our minds for changes, always expecting them, so that we are not surprised when they come, for nothing is so great an enemy to a contented spirit as the amazement and confusion of unreadiness. The rich man who had promised himself ease and plenty for many years was sadly surprised the first night, but the apostles, who knocked at the gate of death every day, went to their martyrdom in peace and composure.

Let us often remind ourselves how desirable health is to a sick man, or liberty to a prisoner. Remember that God has given you a blessing which is infinitely more than your present debt or poverty or loss. You are protected from a thousand calamities, every one of which, if it came upon you, would make you insensible to your present sorrow. Therefore let your joy for your freedom from them be as great as is your sadness when you feel any of them. Unless we are extremely foolish, thankless or senseless, a great joy is more apt to cure sorrow and discontent than a great trouble is. What wise man would not prefer a small fortune with peace to a great one with contention and war?

From Holy Living by Jeremy Taylor, edited and modernized by Hal M. Helms (Orleans, Mass.: Paraclete Press, 1988).

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