But the surest method of arriving at a knowledge of God's eternal purposes about us is to be found in the right use of the present moment. We must esteem our present grace, and rest in it, and with tranquil assiduity correspond to it. Our present grace is the most infallible will of God. It is a revelation from God, which almost always brings its own authoritative interpretation along with it. What we want for our sanctification is not merely grace, but the right grace, the right grace at the right time and in the right place. God's will does not come to us in the whole, but in fragments, and generally in small fragments. It is our business to piece it together, and to live it into one orderly vocation. Like a lantern in the night, grace gives light around our feet, a circle of light just wide enough to prevent our stumbling. But then we must look at our feet. If we strain our eyes into the gloom ahead of us, we shall stumble in spite of the lantern: nay sometimes we shall even stumble because of it, its shadows move so suddenly, and with such unwieldy strides. Our present grace is also the one least beset with delusions, and we can act safely upon it, although perhaps not comfortably, even when we do not see how it matches with what has just gone before, or how it can fit into any conceivable future which our circumstances will allow. The hours are like slaves which follow each other, bringing fuel to the furnace. Each hour comes with some little (censored) of God's will fastened upon its back. If we thus esteem our present grace, we shall begin to understand God's purposes. It seems an easy thing to do, and yet it cannot really be easy because so few do it. One man is always pulling the past to pieces, while another man is marching with his head erect into the uncertain future, disdainful of the present. Strange to say, intentions are more exciting than actions, and therefore more attractive. For safety and for swiftness, for clear light and successful labour, there is nothing like the present. Practically speaking, the moment that is flying holds more eternity than all our past, and the future holds none at all, and only becomes capable of holding any, as it is manufactured piecemeal into the present. The spiritual direction of multitudes of men consists of nothing but keeping them to this; and it is one of those unlikely works which has the misfortune of being seldom successful, even though it is indispensable, and on the whole least successful, where most indispensable.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Living in the moment
A gem from "All Men Have a Special Vocation" in "Spiritual Conferences" by Fr. Frederick William Faber