A remarkable thing happens to us, and in us, when we learn to live in the present moment. We learn to live for him who died for us and was raised again for us and thus we live for the moment he has given to us and not for something else or for some other time we dream about.
When we live this way each day, each moment, becomes a kind of sacrament. Every moment contains something in it that we need to fulfill our deepest need. That need is to love God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves. When we live in the moment we become present to our presence in that moment and then to others. Our posture toward everything changes. We wake up wondering, “What will God show me and do in me today?” Or, “How will I really see him in the ordinariness of my day?”
Catherine of Siena described what I speak of this way: “To the true servant of God every place is the right place and every time is the right time.”
There is a modern way to say this—wherever you are be all there! For as long as I can remember I have wanted to serve the Lord. I have wanted my life to make a difference, to truly matter. I think every Christian thinks this way. But I have lived much of the time for what will happen when this and that happens. In my military prep school I asked: “How can I become a cadet office and graduate with honors?” In college I asked, “How can I prepare to become a pastor or missionary?” In the pastorate I asked, “How can I prepare my next sermon and become the most effective preacher and pastor I can be?” In my present ministry it has been, “How can I reach as many leaders as possible with the message God has given to me?” But these are the wrong questions.
If I live in the present I am living in the only place I can truly be. We cannot live out our plans for the future or dwell upon the memories of the past. Our calling is to set our sails today for the breezes that will blow through us in the present moment.
St. Therese of Liseux (left) understood this very thing when she wrote: “The path to holiness is fidelity in small things.” Living this way redefines the notion of a divine call. Mother Teresa understood the key to living in the moment when she said, “Do what’s in front of you.” Oswald Chambers was also right when he wrote: “Trust God and do the next thing!”
If you are living in Christ then stop focusing on tomorrow and do what is in front of you in the moment. After all, the only thing you have for sure is this moment. Live in it fully and you will know the presence of Christ.
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Thanks again for your reflections John. I’ve been struggling to “stay in the present” in my current profession and continually find myself thinking of future and greener pastures. You may be aware of Brother Charles Defoucald’s prayer of abandonment which has been a great reminder for me.
Greg Boyd’s new book is about this.
Now you’re blogging about St. Therese? 🙂
Had a blast interviewing you this morning. May God bless you and your ministry.
For most of us, the mundane makes up the greater part of our lives. As St. Therese (and the scripture) say, “the one who is faithful in little things will be faithful in much.” So, it is the little things of life that prove most crucial.
My challenge as a disciple and a representative of the kingdom, is to do those mundane things “kingdomly” and in essence be a window into the kingdom for those around me.
I long thought that disciple-making needed to involve a program, a seminar, a classroom, a lecture, etc. but am coming to see that when I serve and bring others into that service-opportunity, that is where discipleship and disciple-making happen.