The Grace of the Present Moment

The popular motto in commercials, Life is now, says a lot to our life in general as well as to our Christian life. God gives us his grace now, at this moment.

The Bible speaks at length about the power of today. I just want to mention some examples from the Letter to the Hebrews which highlight the undisputed relevance of this very day. In Hebrews chapter 3 we find: Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years (Heb 3:7-9). Within the same chapter the Letter to the Hebrews keeps insisting on the urgency of conversion which is to take place within the time frame called “now,” “the present moment”. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sinFor we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end, while it is said, “Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion” (Heb 3:13-15).

 Keeping in mind that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever (Heb 13:8) the saints always treasured the grace of the present moment and tried their very best to live it as best as they could, aided of course by God’s saving help. Saint Pio of Pietrelcina was very much aware of this when he prayed to the Lord: Lord, I leave the past in Your mercy, the future in Your providential care, and the present moment in Your Love. On the other hand, Saint Faustina too shared the same sentiments of Padre Pio when said in her second entry in her Diary:

O My God, when I look into the future, I am frightened, but why plunge into the future Only the present moment is precious to me, as the future may never enter my soul at all. It is no longer in my power, to change, correct, or add to the past; for neither sages nor prophets could do that. And so, what the past has embraced, I must entrust to God.

O present moment, you belong to me, whole and entire. I desire to use you as best I can. And although I am weak and small, You grant me the grace of Your omnipotence. And so, trusting in Your mercy, I walk through life like a little child, offering You each day this heart burning with love for your greater glory (Diary, 2).

When I think of the present moment I am reminded of the Kingdom of God. The text which comes to my mind is Luke 17 wherein we find the episode in which the Pharisees ask Jesus regarding the arrival of the Kingdom of God. Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, `Lo, here it is!’ or `There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you” (Luke 17:20-21).

Upon reflecting on this biblical text the Holy Spirit helped me realize that God’s Kingdom arrives at my doorstep every single moment of my life. It reveals itself in everyday living. That is why I keep asking the Lord to give me His wisdom to recognize it. The present moment is one of great grace. Every moment is a catalyst towards holiness. Obviously everything depends on how I am going to let the Holy Spirit lead me to use it for God’s greater glory and for the service to my neighbour in need.

When I reflect on the holiness that is hidden in every moment of our life I am reminded of what Pope Francis writes about that family who uses her time with much discernment and generosity. In his Aposotlic Exhortation on the call to holiness in today’s world, Gaudete et Exsultate, the Pope says:

This holiness to which the Lord calls you will grow through small gestures. Here is an example: a woman goes shopping, she meets a neighbour and they begin to speak, and the gossip starts. But she says in her heart: “No, I will not speak badly of anyone”. This is a step forward in holiness. Later, at home, one of her children wants to talk to her about his hopes and dreams, and even though she is tired, she sits down and listens with patience and love. That is another sacrifice that brings holiness. Later she experiences some anxiety, but recalling the love of the Virgin Mary, she takes her rosary and prays with faith. Yet another path of holiness. Later still, she goes out onto the street, encounters a poor person and stops to say a kind word to him. One more step (no.16).

What this very concrete example shows is that every present moment is a vehicle for holiness. Although time passes quickly, in each moment there is the seed of eternity well hidden in it. In that sense every present moment becomes a priceless treasure in our hands to choose to live it as we want to. The possibility is marvelously given to us to make our present moment a sacred one. Hence, each moment of our life is a great gift, a talent and a golden opportunity to let God transform it from within and, in so doing, He transforms us to be and act in, with and through Him.

Saint Therese of Lisieux helps me live the present moment with great love. In her short poem-prayer while demonstrating how her life was passing quickly she also indicated how best she could live each and every moment of it in the best of ways, namely by consecrating it.

Lord, my life is only a moment, an hour of passage. My life is only a day that vanishes and flees. O my God, you know that to love You I only have today.

Why not making Saint Therese’s prayer our own at the beginning of each day in order to live that unrepeatable grace which the present moment offers to us ?


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Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap was born in San Gwann on August 26 1972. After being educated in governmental primary and secondary schools as well as at the Naxxar Trade School he felt the call to enter the Franciscan Capuchin Order. After obtaining the university requirements he entered the Capuchin friary at Kalkara on October 12 1993. A year after he was ordained a priest, precisely on 4 September 2004, his superiors sent him to work with patients as a chaplain first at St. Luke's Hospital and later at Mater Dei. In 2007 Fr Mario obtained a Master's Degree in Hospital Chaplaincy from Sydney College of Divinity, University of Sydney, Australia. From November 2007 till March 2020 Fr Mario was one of the six chaplains who worked at Mater Dei Hospital., Malta's national hospital. Presently he is a chaplain at Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre. Furthermore, he is a regular contributor in the MUMN magazine IL-MUSBIEĦ, as well as doing radio programmes on Radio Mario about the spiritual care of the sick.