The Grace of the Present Moment

The Grace of the Present Moment

These days I receive a daily message on my phone telling me: Every day that is born belongs to God and his plans are far greater than any we made before we went to sleep. 

This powerful message has encouraged me greatly because it has brought into my mind and heart the grace of the present moment. How many graces does God give us each and every moment of our lives! If we just believe! Me the first one! 

The Bible is so bold and vociferous about the grace God gives at the present moment. A few examples would suffice to help us appreciate this fact.

Jesus at the Nazareth synagogueToday this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing (Luke 4:21).

The people who witnessed the miracle of the man who was paralyzed on a bed and saw Jesus healing him, said full of awe and amazement as they glorified God: We have seen strange things today (Luke 5:26).

Another instance when the importance of today emerges so powerfully is the meeting with Zacchaeus, which eloquently shows what true innocence and purity is in Jesus’ eyes. As Jesus was passing and saw Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector and rich (Luke 19:2) into a sycamore tree (Luke 19:4), he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today” (Luke 19:5). Upon repenting of his sins, Jesus absolved him and declared the sanctifying grace which now resided in Zacchaeus’ heart when he said: Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:9-10).

Perhaps the coronation of the grace which God gives at the present moment is when, to the converted criminal who was crucified with him, Jesus said: Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise (Luke 23:43).

St Faustina was ever more conscious of this very important reality that God acts NOW, by his saving grace, that she could not keep her great joy for herself upon realizing this wonderful show of God’s merciful love for us, poor sinners, including her of course. With great humility and trust, as she totally abandoned herself to God’s merciful and saving will, she wrote this prayer in the very second entry of her Diary: 

O My God

When I look into the future, I am frightened,

But why plunge into the future?

Only the present moment is precious to me,

As the future may never enter my soul at all.

It is no longer in my power,

To change, correct, or add to the past;

For neither sages nor prophets could do that.

And so, what the past has embraced, I must entrust to God.

O present moment, you belong to me,

whole and entire. I desire to use you as best I can.

And although I am weak and small, You grant me the grace of Your omnipotence.

And so, trusting in Your mercy, I walk through life like a little child,

Offering You each day this heart

Burning with love for your greater glory (Diary, 2).

Throughout her loving experience with Jesus, St Faustina was all the more determined to live each and every moment of her life under the omnipotence of God’s loving will. The following entry, which is found much later in her Diary, wonderfully shows Faustina’s resolve to place her life, as lived in each and every single moment, with all its ups and downs, to God’s mercy. In entry 1183 of her Diary she writes: O Jesus, I want to live in the present moment, to live as if this were the last day of my life. I want to use every moment scrupulously for the greater glory of God, to use every circumstance for the benefit of my soul. I want to look upon everything, from the point of view that nothing happens without the will of God (Diary, 1183).

In St Faustina’s life experience, I see coming true what we find written in Psalm 131, which is also a Song which pilgrims used to recite as they ascended the hills towards Jerusalem: O Lord, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a child quieted at its mother’s breast;like a child that is quieted is my soul. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and for evermore (Ps 131: 1-3). Faustina’s outstanding humility was the key for her to abandon herself in God’s will at the present moment. 

In his general audience of Wednesday 25 January 2023, Pope Francis walked faithfully on the Bible and Faustina’s example when he said: 

But with Christ the grace that makes life new always arrives and amazes. Christ is the Jubilee of every day, every hour, drawing you near, to caress you, to forgive you. And the proclamation of Jesus must always bring the amazement of grace. This amazement… “No, I can’t believe it! I have been forgiven.” But this is how great our God is. Because it is not that we who do great things, but rather the grace of the Lord who, even through us, accomplishes unexpected things. And these are the surprises of God. God is the master of surprises. He always surprises us, is always waiting, waits for us. We arrive, and He has been expecting us. Always. The Gospel comes with a sense of wonder and newness that has a name: Jesus.

Let us pray:

Dear God, we spend so much time reliving yesterday or anticipating tomorrow that we lose sight of the only time that is really ours, the present moment. You give today, one moment at a time. That’s all we have, all we will ever have. Give us faith which knows that each moment contains exactly what is best for us. Give the hope which trusts that You love us enough to forget our past failings and future trials. Give the love which makes each moment an anticipation of eternity with You. We ask this in the name of Jesus Who is the same yesterday, today and forever. Amen.

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Written by
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap