October 13, 2011

The Present Moment - Eternity Begun and Still in Progress

We are often deceived into thinking that doing great things for God is something for tomorrow and the life of prayer is something only to be taken up when one's life's circumstances allow it to be more of a priority. This is not the way the saints understand time.

For the saints, heaven haunts this present life, its music beckoning us beyond the narrow prison of our own ego to look up and behold the One we have pierced. He stands before the eyes of our hearts risen from the dead, triumphant over every form of mediocrity which besets us, with his eyes fixed on us, waiting for us to fix our gaze on Him.  How much longer will we deny Him?

Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity believed that time is "eternity begun and still in progress." The truth is each moment of our lives carries us into the eternal love of God ... if we let it. Each moment is a sacrament that gives us God ...if we see it with the eyes of faith. Each moment is pregnant with unfathomable grace, power that has flowed from the heart of Christ, so that God's will -- all that is good, pleasing and perfect -- is only a decision away.  Will we choose Him who waits for us even now?

Vietnamese Archbishop Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan discovered something like this contemplation when he was imprisoned for the faith. Struggling to rise out of an ocean of anxieties and nightmares, he came to see the present moment for what it really is:
If I wait for an opportune moment to do something truly great,
how many times will such occasions actually present themselves?
No, I will seize the occasions that present themselves every day.
I must accomplish ordinary actions in an extraordinary way.
Jesus, I will not wait,
I will live the present moment,
filling it to the brim with love.
Five Loaves and Two Fish, trans. Tinvui Media, Boston: Pauline Books and Media (1997) 13.