Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Just One New Year's Resolution

I came across this today, posted on The Episcopal Cafe website: words that come from J. Neville Ward's "Enquiring Within," a book I have not read, from an author I know almost nothing about. But I do know the author Ward quotes - Jean Pierrede Caussade. With the encouragement of my spiritual director (who is a huge fan) I read The Sacrament of the Present Moment several years ago. He certainly has no monopoly on the concept, which also goes to the heart of Twelve-Step Programs (one day at a time!) but he expresses it quite well.

I am not a big resolution-maker, but here is one I'd like to make in 2013, and with God's help keep: to live more fully each present moment. As Jesus put it, to 'consider the lilies of the field...'

Happy New Year!
Jesus was a practical, one item at a time man, with no admiration at all for minds that rush ahead... In the huge pile of stuff that is recommended to Christians for spiritual reading I have not found anyone who so clearly and practically interpreted this part of his teaching as J. P. de Caussade in his thoughts on the sacrament of the present moment.
It is part of that idea that if the present is not exactly wonderful for you, then it's worth finding out why, finding out whether or not there is a problem at this moment, and, if there is one, doing now whatever can be done about it now. If there isn't any problem just now, then there's nothing to stop us looking around to see if there isn't on the contrary something to be enjoyed, and simply enjoying it...
Whatever is present is in front of me now; it is also impermanently there; being momentary, it is fading, and it must pass away sooner or later...
If the desired situation is with me now, it is, even so, time-driven. To live intelligently means to be ready, even if it is mostly at some great depth of being, for it to go.
If it is not with me yet, let that be so too. I must let it not be yet. It's possible to use up all your days seeing happiness mistily in the future, unaware that you are always sure to see some blemish on what is present because your faith is that somewhere else is nearer the centre of joy. In time I shall be a happier person...
God is the universally present one. It's a belief that is at the centre of many religions. The present moment is always his presence. His presence is always the present moment. The present moment invariably consists principally in something to be done or something to be put up with or something to be enjoyed. Attending wholeheartedly to whichever of these it the case is what is meant by responding to God and doing his will....
 [from J. Neville Ward, Enquiring Within, Epworth Press, London, 1988, p. 38f]

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