“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is, and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8
Our God is present to all times; unlike us, He does not live in time as we do. Time is one of his creatures, his creations, and so of course He is not subject to time as we are. Scripture tells us that “a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as a day” (2 Peter 3:8), and that God knows “the end from the beginning”. When God reveals his personal Name to Moses, speaking from the burning bush (the burning requires no fuel, as it’s self-created; also, it burns, but does not destroy…!), He tells Moses that His Name is “I AM”, the eternal now, who knows no beginning and no ending. He is The Mystery to be received by faith alone.
There’s a wonderful term that I have come to love since becoming a Catholic. It’s not a term that I never heard as a Protestant, but it’s become more and more meaningful to me over time. The word is “Recollection”. What does that mean? It means to “gather back together”. What needs to be “gathered back”? Mostly my thoughts, which can often go back into the past, nursing regret or trying to re-make history in my imagination (“what would he/she have said or did if I had only said/done this or that…”). Or those thoughts can propel me into the future, worrying about things which might or might not actually come to be. My thoughts cause me to be distracted, scattered.
What I must do (practice, practice, practice!) is gather my mind, my thoughts back to “the now”, for it is here, in the present, where I actually am. It’s here, in the present, and only here, where I will encounter God’s Presence, his Spirit. I can never encounter him in an imaginary past or a fantasy future. For Him, all times are present, without the constraints of time.
The world talks of “mindfulness”; it’s not a bad term. But I prefer to think about recollection, “gathering myself back” to the present moment, for it is surely an encounter with God that I need. He is only and ever right here, beckoning me to join him, and I don’t want to keep him waiting!