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The Sacrament of Your Present Moment

The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God”…Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:35, 38

Has God ever interrupted your life?   Are there times when His will crashed into yours?  Think about young Mary who had plans for the way her life was supposed to go. There were plans for a wedding, for marrying Joseph, having a family, a white picket fence, and living happily ever after. 

But then it happened!  God had plans of His own, bigger plans, miraculous plans, mysterious, wondrous, and yes, frightening plans. Implausibly, a teen girl will carry within her the infinite God whom heaven cannot contain. But angel Gabriel promises that all generations will call Mary “Blessed,” for saying, “Yes” to God’s interruption of her life.  “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”

If you are like me, then you often struggle saying “Yes!” to the Great Interrupter whose plans don’t always line up with ours.  God’s interruptions might hit as a 2 A.M. phone call; a doctor’s frightening prognosis; life alone without your most beloved.  It can be so difficult to pray like Mary, “Here am I, your servant.”

When the plans of the Grand Interrupter smash headlong, I often turn to the wisdom of Jean Pierre de Caussaude.  I have worn copies of his letters of spiritual counsel passed down in two volumes, The Sacrament of the Present Moment, and, Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence. I find insight in these two books about how the moment God interrupts is a “holy sacrament” from God.   We can “abandon” ourselves to God and His will for us in that moment.  We can receive from God all that comes with that moment, as the only moment we can control.

Like Mary, we will not always know God’s will for us in His bigger scheme of things, but we need not doubt His clear will for us in that moment.  His will for us is all wrapped up in that present moment.  And as we stay close to God in that present moment, that moment passes into the next present moment and the next…

Would you take a few moments to reflect on some passages from Caussade that I have underlined?

  • “God speaks to every individual through what happens to them moment by moment.”
  • “The events of each moment are stamped by the will of God…We find all that is necessary in the present moment.”
  • “The present moment is from God and self-abandonment to it is the path to holiness. We need to train ourselves to approach each present task or suffering as a sacrament in the same loving concentration with which we receive the blessed sacrament. The present moment is like an ambassador announcing the policy of God, and the heart declares “‘Thy will be done.’… Oh God, you have allowed this to be… I make you a sacrifice of this difficulty and all its consequences.”

I wonder, where God might be calling you to “abandon” yourself to His will?  Might you pray like Mary: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word. Let it be with me according to your word.” 

A fellow traveler,

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