The Grace Moment

LENTEN RETREAT
Day 27

dishes

 

WHEN God entered human history in the flesh through the person of Jesus, one could say that He baptized time itself. Suddenly, God—to whom all eternity is present—was walking through seconds, minutes, hours, and days. Jesus was revealing that time itself is an intersection between Heaven and earth. His communion with the Father, His solitude in prayer, and His whole ministry were all measured in time and eternity at once…. And then He turned to us and said…

Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. (John 12:26)

How can we, who remain on earth, be with Christ, who is seated in Heaven? The answer is to be where He is on earth: in the present moment. The moment past is gone; the one to come hasn’t arrived. The only moment that is, is the present moment. And thus, that too is where God is—that’s why it is the Grace Moment. So when Jesus said, “seek first the kingdom of God”, the only place to seek it is where it is, in God’s will in the present moment. As Jesus said,

…the kingdom of God is near. (Matt 3:2)

The spiritual pilgrim, then, is not one who runs ahead, but one who carefully and lovingly takes one little stepping stone at a time. While the world meanders down the wide and easy road, God’s will is expressed in whatever the next demand our state of life requires. Just as Jesus kissed His Cross, we should kiss these little moments of changing diapers, filing taxes, or sweeping the floor, because there is God’s will.

At the age of 12, Jesus sanctified the ordinary when He left the temple in Jerusalem and returned home with his parents.

He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them… And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man. (Luke 2:51-42)

But for the next 18 years, Our Lord did nothing more than the duty of the moment. So one would be tragically wrong to say that this was not an essential part of Christ’s ministry and witness. If Jesus transformed the skin of lepers years later, in Nazareth he was transforming the nature of work: God was sanctifying the duty of the moment. He made hallow doing the dishes, sweeping the floor, and wiping sawdust off the furniture; He made sacred carrying water, making the bed, and milking a goat; He made holy casting a fish net, hoeing the garden, and washing the clothes. For this was the Father’s will for Him.

My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work. (John 4:34)

Then at first, the work of the Father was to be a carpenter! Could we not imagine that this next little saying of Jesus was perhaps an echo from the wisdom of Mary or Joseph when He was growing up?

Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much. (Luke 16:10)

Yesterday, I spoke about total abandonment to God by being faithful in each moment, whether God’s will brings consolations or crosses. This abandonment includes letting go of both the past and the future. As Jesus said,

Even the smallest things are beyond your control. (Luke 12:26)

Or as the Russian proverb goes:

If you do not die first, you will have time to do it. If you die before it is done, you don’t need to do it.

Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade puts it this way:

Our only satisfaction must be to live in the present moment as if there were nothing to expect beyond it. —Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence, translated by John Beevers, p. (introduction)

And so, “Do not worry about tomorrow,” Jesus said, “tomorrow will take care of itself.” [1]Matt 6:34

There is a verse in David’s psalms that is packed with wisdom, especially in our era of uncertainty.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105)

God’s will is most often, not a headlight, but just a lamp—enough light for the next step. I often talk to young people who say, “I don’t know what God wants me to do. I feel this calling to do this or that, but I don’t know what I should do…” And my answer is: do your homework, do the dishes. Look, if you are doing God’s will moment by moment, striving to be faithful to Him, then you won’t miss the turn in the bend, the opened door, or the signpost that says, “This Way My Child.”

Think of a merry-go-round, the kind you played on as a child that revolved in circles. The closer one came to the middle of the merry-go-round, the easier it was to hold on, but at the edges it was pretty tough to hang on when it got going really fast! The center is like the present moment—where eternity intersects with time—the Grace Moment. But if you’re “on edge” hanging onto the future—or holding on to the past—you’re going to lose your peace. The place of rest for the pilgrim soul is in the now, the Grace Moment, because that’s where God is. If we let go of what we cannot change, if we abandon ourselves to the permissive will of God, then we become like a little child who can do nothing but sit resigned on his Papa’s knee in the moment. And Jesus said, “to such as these little ones does the Kingdom of Heaven belong.” The Kingdom is found only where it is: in the Grace Moment, for Jesus said:

…the kingdom of God is near. (Matt 3:2)

 

SUMMARY AND SCRIPTURE

The duty of the moment is the Grace Moment because that is where God is, and where His servant must be.

Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? …Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:25-26, 32)

merry-go-round_Fot

 

Jesus is also present each moment in the Blessed Sacrament.
Her e is a song I wrote called Here You Are… 

 

 
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Footnotes

Footnotes
1 Matt 6:34
Posted in HOME, PRAYER RETREAT.