In our year or so of the pandemic, the phrase carpe diem has taken on a fresher meaning than the carefree “seize the day” attitude it had come to represent. The words come from Horace, who died about 8 B.C., in a poem in his first book of Odes: Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero. Which translated reads, Pluck the day, trusting as little as possible in the next one. (There is no need to completely lose those four years of Latin I took in high school and college.) Over the last 300 years pluck became seize. Carpe diem is another way of reminding us not to miss out on life today by focusing too hard on the tomorrows yet to come. What is God up to today? Ready or not, our todays are filled with the divine moments that form, change and define our lives. But we do have to guard ourselves from the fatalistic Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die. Paul warned believers about this attitude in 1 Corinthians 10.
Our expanded view of carpe diem includes seize the opportunity. As those extraordinary moments are happening, go ahead and enjoy them. Relish in the opportunity at hand. What gift is God providing? What are you experiencing? Say “Yes” when it might be easier to say a habit-formed, “No.” Put aside the phone and look around. Smile, listen and see what is really taking place all around you. Look up into the night sky and be awed. Look into your heart and discover who you have become.
Today’s new understanding of carpe diem includes seize the ordinary. Most often our life is experienced in the ordinariness of everyday. Author Dallas Willard once said that “the ordinary is a place where the life of God flows.” Thus, if you are mowing the lawn, doing the dishes, cleaning your room, or just pumping gas into your car, God can be found even in the ordinary and mundane tasks of everyday life. Do not assume that God is only found in the extraordinary but be sensitive to the divine ordinariness of the day. Where is God in your routine and in your relationships? The Bible tells us to “give thanks in all things.” Gratitude always seizes the moment.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Seize the divine. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.Share this webpage: