See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Monday, August 08, 2011

The Present Moment.



The presence of God.
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Yesterday I caught myself saying, "I can't believe how fast the summer has gone by!"  I explained that I had spent so much time and effort getting things ready for new windows to be installed in my house that it seemed as if I missed the entire month of July.  Later I reminded myself that my prep work had been my summer - only I missed it because I had been anticipating last week's installation - I was worried that it wouldn't go well, or that another big expense might have arisen if the workmen found rot in the walls, or something like that.  Nothing of the sort happened, and much of my prep work was over-kill. 
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Worry about what could have happened, I neglected to experience what was happening in the present moment.  Likewise, this week I'm anticipating a doctor's visit and tests.  Gratefully I am able to not worry about it, and to set aside any concerns as they arise, and focus upon the present - sufficient for the day is the evil thereof - as the scripture says.  Yet the temptation to step outside the present moment seems to be always there.
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I used to pray a lot of novenas, asking for special favors, or to prepare for a particular feast day.  Novenas are good and part of Catholic tradition, however I don't 'make' as many as I used to, and when I do, I don't really ask for much except spiritual graces for myself or others.  Over the years I understood that sometimes my intentions were perhaps restricting God to conform to my will, rather than me surrendering myself to his will. 
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Ironically, I think the monthly novena - nine days of prayer to honor the infancy and holy childhood of Jesus, taught me something in that regard.  That first and foremost we must live in the present moment and that we must pray according to the will of God - at least I understood that is what I needed to do.  I've grown to understand and accept that the will of God is to be found in the present moment.  Thus, for me at least, a novena is not so much anticipating the end of it, nor even the special day one is preparing for, nor is it the particular grace one anticipates, rather its efficacy is in the process as it were - that is, the present moment of the mystery we anticipate.  At times, novenas seemed to me to be a way of marking time, as one marks off days on a calendar, looking forward to the end, and often, some kind of reward.
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I suppose in a sense, that is the Christian life, since as we are told by, I think it is St. Peter, to "look forward to the Day of the Lord and try to hasten it."  While elsewhere scripture also tells us that we are pilgrims and strangers in this life and that we are to look forward to the world to come, our homeland.  So in light of these admonitions how does one do that and remain grounded in the present moment?
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I don't know.
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I just know that it is important to live in the present moment - that is where life happens - it is where we experience God's presence, it is where we find ourselves enfolded in his holy will, his divine providence.

8 comments:

  1. Living in the present moment is a challenge for me...I'm not where I need to be...but better at it than I used to be. : )I appreciate your saying,that
    'sometimes your intentions were restricting God to conform to your will, rather than you surrendering yourself to His.'
    There's a lot there for meditation today.

    Blessings, Terri

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  2. "That first and foremost we must live in the present moment and that we must pray according to the will of God - at least I understood that is what I needed to do. I've grown to understand and accept that the will of God is to be found in the present moment."

    This is my aim too, really to embrace the fact that is and always has been and always will be, right now!!

    Regarding prayer and novenas, I do tell God my desires and also ask for acceptance of life on life's terms, according to His will, which I also pray for others. It's a day at a time journey, but it's changing, not least due to some of your blogged words 'Telly Saveallofus' I mean Terry Nelson!

    What? I have said the rosary for you too though, for healing as I know God is a healing God and I do believe in miracles, so there!

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  3. I know now how unusual my ubbringing was...My father was always telling me "sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof"..."who among you by being anxious can add one cubit to his stature"? I was pretty perplexed by these things when I was say, oh, I don't know, ten, lol. What is a cubit, Daddy? I hadn't a clue as to what he was taling about. Only decades later would I understand how fortunate I was to have such a father who understood such things...

    Jean Pierre de Caussade spoke of almost nothing but the "sacred duty of the present moment". I love Abandonment to Divine Providence and its simplicity.

    On the subject of St. Therese, viz the image above, she is mighty big business for the professional Catholics these days, isn't she,lol? I wondered if she knew how she would one day drive book sales?

    Terry: I also am without health insurance, or a job, at the moment so I know how these health "events" can wreak havoc. It has forced me to rely more completely upon him. He does nothing without purpose, right? I am praying for you. When I was diagnosed w/ macular degeneration about seven years ago, my first thought was: "what if I can't read?" (Reading has been such a big part of my life). No doubt, as a painter, concerns about your vision must generate a special kind of anxiety. He is present in every loss and always leading us on to some newer vison....

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  4. Terry - remember when I emailed you about that things I translated, worried about some things?

    Well, it turns out that because of the translation work I've been doing, I'll be able to pay for some out of pocket serious dental work (root canal for an incapacitatingly painful cavity), since I don't have insurance either (and I work for the state!)

    Funny how things work - sometimes a gift is given and you don;t know what it will be for. I had no idea my teeth were going to do this. And sometimes there's someone else who needs it too.

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  5. No insurance.

    No money.

    No food.

    No home.

    No friends or family.

    No clothes.

    No shoes.

    God has left our neighbors naked that He may test us.

    We will have a lot of explaining to do when we get before our Divine Master and see Lazarus standing there toothless.

    Even the pagans speak of God.

    We, like the pagans, have no idea who or what God really is.

    Ite Ad Thomam.

    http://iteadthomam.blogspot.com

    *

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  6. Thanks for the good comments - Caroline and Shadow!

    Merc - I'm thinking something like that will pop up as well.

    Maria - I understand.

    Pablo - yes.

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  7. Anonymous5:31 PM

    Really. A whole summer preparing for window installation. About a month ago I was visiting my father and he was having new windows installed while I was there. The morning of, we pushed back the furniture that needed to be moved, I grabbed my laptop and went out to run errands, get coffee and get some work done at a coffee shop. Returned just before 5 and they were packing up and leaving. We vacuumed and pushed the furniture back in place and that was that.

    So after all that work, how are the new windows? Can the kitties sit in them and watch the world go by?

    Clark

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  8. Clark - your dad and you are better workers than I am. yep - the cat can sit in them now.

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