You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your strength. (Deut 6:5)
IN living in the present moment, we love the Lord with our soul—that is, the faculties of our mind. By obeying the duty of the moment, we love the Lord with our strength or body by attending to the obligations of our state in life. By entering into the prayer of the moment, we begin to love God with all our hearts.
TRANSFORMING THE MOMENT
Since the death and resurrection of Jesus, those who are baptized into the “body of Christ” are made spiritual priests (as opposed to the ministerial priesthood which is a specific vocation). As such, each of us can participate in the saving action of Christ by offering our work, prayers, and sufferings for the souls of others. Redemptive suffering is a foundation of Christian love:
A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:12)
St. Paul said,
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. (Col 2:24)
Suddenly, doing the mundane, ordinary duty of the moment becomes a spiritual offering, a living sacrifice which can save others. And you thought you were just sweeping the floor?
IT’S A STATE OF BEAN
When I stayed at Madonna House in Ontario, Canada several years ago, one of the tasks assigned to me was sorting dried beans. I poured out the jars before me, and began to separate the good beans from the bad. I began to realize the opportunity for prayer in this rather monotonous duty of the moment. I said, “Lord, every bean that goes into the good pile, I offer as a prayer for the soul of someone in need of salvation.”
As I began to experience in my soul that “rejoicing” which St. Paul spoke of, I started to compromise: “Well, you know, this bean doesn’t look that bad.” Another soul saved!
Someday by God’s grace when I arrive in Heaven, I am certain I will meet two groups of people: one, who will thank me for setting aside a bean for their souls; and the other to blame me for a mediocre bean soup.
THE LAST DROP
Yesterday at Mass when I received the Cup, there was one drop left of Christ’s blood. As I returned to my pew, I realized that that was all that was necessary to save my soul: one drop of my Savior’s blood. One drop could, in fact, save the world. Oh how precious that one drop became to me!
Jesus is asking us to offer the last drop of our travails before the “time of grace” expires. There is an urgency in this word. Many are those who have written me saying they sense the “time is short”, and feel a strong calling to intercede for others. Jesus has given us the opportunity to turn each moment into a prayer. This also is what He meant by the command to “pray without ceasing”: to offer our work and sufferings for the love of God and neighbour, and yes, our enemies too.
To the last drop.