I had a busy week ahead of me and I could feel the tension in my neck and shoulders. I kept finding myself mentally scrolling through my to-do list and wondering how it was all going to get done — the meetings, appointments, deadlines. I was dreading the following days. But then I called to mind advice that many saints have given us — “Live the present moment.”
It’s a challenge for us, in our busy Google calendar culture with notifications beeping on our phones throughout the day, to stay rooted in the here and now. But that is where Jesus calls us to live, and that is where He provides His grace for us – in this present moment.
We only have the grace for whatever we are facing right now. We don’t have tomorrow’s grace yet.
Mary Ann Halloran has often counseled those who are worried about some future task or challenge, that the anticipation of it is usually worse than the actual event itself. Once you get on with it, it’s usually much less daunting than you thought it would be.
I remember Father Thomas preaching a sermon on 2 Corinthians 6:1, which says, “…we urge you not to accept the grace of God in vain.” In one of the Spanish translations it said not to receive the grace of God in “un saco roto” or a broken sack. Those of you who heard Father preach know how he could bring the Word of God alive. As he taught on this Scripture, he suddenly brought out a burlap sack of beans, lifted it on his back, and started walking around the room. But this sack had a rip in the bottom of it, and as Father walked around, beans started spilling out of the hole and onto the ground.
It was a very visual image of how we can receive the grace of God in vain. God pours out all the grace we need when we need it. However, we receive it in vain if instead of living the present moment, we worry about the future or fret about the past. Then all the grace for the moment starts spilling out of our broken sacks and gets wasted.
Applying all of this to my overwhelming week, I stopped scanning my upcoming agenda and focused on the task at hand. As I got through that, I went to the next meeting, did the next task, talked to the next person. I was filled with peace, did it with joy, and it all worked out well.
By staying in the present moment, my torn sack got mended and the grace I needed was there for each thing. Thank you Jesus.