“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” (Matt 6:25)
Many Westerners, throughout most of their life, have clung to the belief that being worthwhile actually means being busy—endlessly productive in work, relationships, exercise, hobbies and future outlook. Lent is a great time to grow in faith, slow down, and ‘fast’ from life’s pressures, because you never know if this Lent is the last one of your life.
The devil’s business is to keep us away from the present by making us focus on the future. We clearly see that in the Scriptures when the serpent placed the notion of the future in Eve’s mind. “God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5). She felt the future could be better than the present. Instead of savoring every moment, the mother of all living denied the Divine Wisdom and broke God’s commandment. This knowledge immediately created anxiety in her heart.
Asking the Virgin Mary to “pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death,” means these are the two crucial moments of our life.
According to Israel Institute of Biblical Studies “the word “today” appears 59 times in Deuteronomy – far more than in any other biblical book. In some cases, Moses uses “today” to mean “in our time,” but mostly, “today” is used to mean “right now.”
Every time we are distracted by future concerns or fret about past events, we should remind ourselves that God is ceaselessly with us right here, right now. Numerous Saints and Blesseds invite us to this, as well as those whom we believe the Church will someday recognize as worthy of emulation.
“Leave the past to God’s mercy, the future to his Divine Providence and embrace the present willingly and lovingly.”- St. Francis de Sales
“God does not ask of us the perfection of tomorrow, nor even of tonight, but only of the present moment.” – St. Madeleine Sophie Barat
“If I did not simply live from one moment to another, it would be impossible for me to be patient, but I only look at the present, I forget the past, and I take good care not to forestall the future.” ― St. Thérèse de Lisieux
“O present moment, you belong to me, whole and entire. I desire to use you as best as I can. And although I am weak and small, you grant me the grace of your omnipotence.” – St. Faustina Kowalska
“We must be faithful to the present moment or we will frustrate the plan of God for our lives.” – Bl. Solanus Casey
“My past life I give to your mercy, O Lord. Whatever may happen tomorrow, I hand into your providence. Today, let me live in your love.” – St. Padre Pio
“As to the past, let us entrust it to God’s mercy, the future to divine Providence. Our task is to live holy the present moment.” – St. Gianna Molla
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” – St. Mother Teresa
“Yesterday doesn’t belong to you. Tomorrow is uncertain … Only today is yours.” St. Pope John Paul II
“Do not let your mind go beyond today and do not indulge your imagination. Preoccupation with tomorrow opens to a field of intense activity of the devil. The present belongs to me. I form it according to your trust and love for my will.” – Alicja Lenczewska(†2012)
In revering the present moment, and cooperating with His grace here and now, we are formed for eternal life; and these people of God indeed pass on some useful advice.
The Venerable Servant of God Fulton J. Sheen (†1979) tells us “Each minute of life has its peculiar duty—regardless of the appearance that minute may take. The Now-moment is the moment of salvation. Each complaint against it is a defeat; each act of resignation to it is a victory. The moment is always an indication to us of God’s will. […] The phrase which sanctifies any moment is “Thy Will be done.”
St. Padre Pio (†1968) provides a similar view, assuring us that we can find God’s will in the present moment, no matter how we have got ourselves here.
“Have no fear as regards your spirit because it is absolutely not true that you have taken the wrong path. The path you tread is the one that will lead you to heaven.”
Through the Neapolitan Servant of God, Fr. Dolindo Routolo (†1970), Jesus indicates how to rid oneself of detrimental agitation. Generally, the more we surrender ourselves to God, the more our anxiety will vanish.
“Abandonment in Me does not mean being frustrated, becoming anxious and desperate. Offer Me your anxious prayer, that I may follow you, and let your anxiety be a prayer. Abandonment means to shut the eyes of your soul in peace, moving your thoughts away from your troubles, and instead of thinking about your worries and pain, let Me take over your troubles. Simply say: Jesus, You take over. To be worried, restless, and to think of the consequences of an event is the opposite of reliance, it is contrary to it”.
Words uttered by St. Teresa of Avila (†1582), the great Carmelite reformer, Doctor of the Church, perfectly fit in this Lenten reflection on the importance of the present moment and simplicity of heart. “God gives more in a moment than in a long period of time, for His actions are not measured by time at all. Know that even when you are in the kitchen, Our Lord is moving among the pots and pans”.
When waking up, for the love for God, we can sanctify every day by entrusting to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and/or to the Immaculate Heart of Mary all our plans and intentions. Living wholly in the present moment can radically alter our perspective of an hour, even a minute. Thus, during the day, it is important to offer up to Jesus every activity before beginning it, even the most trivial ones, like brushing one’s teeth or making the bed.
If we keep on doing this, we will have nothing left for us, but everything will be in Jesus who is encouraging us to see Him at every moment. In other words, imperfect human acts undergo a veritable deification. This is of course a challenging and lengthy process that gradually leads to a burial of the will in the will of God, and the beginning of a new life in Jesus.
I dedicated an in-depth article to this topic – Alicja Lenczewska’s Encounters with Jesus, and Their Remedy for Sin.
Too often the media captures our attention and inundates us with thousands of hazardous impressions, all of which subtly shape us in ways we hardly realize. One might say that 99% of the news we are daily exposed to, is harmful to our souls and seems superfluous. Meanwhile, God wants to free us from the shackles of fear. If the news is producing rotten fruit of anxiety, it’s time to turn it off.
Above all, we should take care of the salvation of our immortal soul, not of our ephemeral planet, because what lasts on earth is only for a brief moment, while on the other side, there will be either eternal joy or eternal suffering. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” (Revelation 21:1)
I pray that all our readers can discover the treasure of the present moment that brings true joy and peace.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” (Matthew 6:34 )
How often environmental journalists and advocates have made a number apocalyptic predictions about the influence of climate change – “collapse of civilization may have already begun,” “Billions will die” or “Around 2030 we will be in a position to set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control that will lead to the end of our civilization.”
Is the Holy Spirit acting in them? There is no doubt that it is a spirit but not necessarily the Holy One. Dealing with temporal-oriented issues, they outline vague visions for the future with intent to overturn the traditional order of the world. These catastrophic statements have profound impact on the life of whole nations.
In September 2022, the Albanese Government legislated its emissions reduction targets of 43% by 2030 and net zero by 2050. Notabene, Anthony Albanese is the eighth Catholic prime minister of Australia.
Catholics are not obliged to believe in anthropogenic climate change or global warming. They should be rather cautious in advocating as-yet unproven scientific theories underpinned mainly by mainstream experts. Instead, they should keep their feet firmly on the ground and try to learn to live in the present moment.
Indeed, this is a conflict for the salvation of human souls rather than for their physical bodies; therefore, more doubts may arise over the moral and social aspects of eco-consciousness.
The Good is indivisible. Hence, for a Christian to support big companies with the highest climate commitment which at the same time openly endorse the Culture of Death, is somewhat reminiscent of purchasing products by neutral countries during World War II from Third Reich factories, which produced, the Focke-Wulf parts or manufactured Zyklon B used in crematoriums.