I recently came across a blog post which mentioned a new movie called I Like To See The Sun Rise. The movie is about the life of Saint John Paul II, and the title comes from the response John Paul gave when asked “Holy Father, why do you get up so early each day?” After all these years of reading John Paul’s writings and also stories written about him, I was surprised that this is a quote I’d never heard before.
It resonates so much with me because I too love to see the sun come up each day. I was at a meeting earlier this week and each participant was asked “how do you find God in all things?” For me, dawn is one of the most profound ways I find God, and it’s rooted in St. Ignatius’s Daily Examen prayer. The last point in this five-point prayer is a call to look toward the day to come. So often we get stuck in the messes of yesterday, trapped in what could have, should have, ought to have been. Friends, yesterday is gone. Of course, we need to seek and give forgiveness as needed, but Ignatius also challenges in the beginning of the Examen to always be grateful for the gifts given to us. In our culture today, it seems as though many are so focused on the negative that we loose sight of the positive. That’s no way to live as a Christian.
As I’m typing these words, I can see the sun coming up through my window. It’s going to be a good day. Like St. John Paul II, my day actually began a few hours ago. Like him, I’m an early riser and I enjoy some uninterrupted prayer time, sipping my coffee and thinking not only of yesterday and praying for those in need, but also thinking about the day to come, and how I might be a better person throughout the day, seeking God in all things and rejoicing that I have eyes to see and ears to hear. As St. Theresa of Calcutta used to say, we don’t have to do great things. Just do little things with great love. I don’t know about you, but if we could all live out that quote, we could change the world, one sunrise at a time.