Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Present Moment is our Treasure

A quote from Thoreau's Walden, which I'm reading rather slowly at present:

"to stand on the meeting of two eternities, the past and future, which is precisely the present moment; to toe that line."


"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them."

In the same vein, by William Osler, notable Canadian physician, in A Way of Life (I have a copy of this address, which was given to my father as a medical student at McGill)

The future is to-day, there is no to-morrow ! The day of a man's salvation is now the life of the present, of to-day, lived earnestly, intently,.... is the only insurance for the future.

Many a man is handicapped in his course by a cursed combination of retro- and intro-spection, the mistakes of yesterday paralysing the efforts of to-day, the worries of the past hugged to his destruction, and the worm Regret allowed to canker the very heart of his life. To die daily, after the manner of St. Paul, ensures the resurrection of a new man, who makes each day the epitome of a life.
He also quotes Thomas Carlyle, who says:

" Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand."

from AN Whitehead

“the present holds within itself the complete sense of existence, backwards and forwards, that whole amplitude of time, which is eternity.... the present is holy ground.”

Finally, from Pierre de Caussade:

"We cannot become truly good in a better, more marvelous, and yet easier way than by the simple use of the means offered us by God: the ready acceptance of all that comes to us at each moment of our lives. ....The whole essence of the spiritual life consists in recognizing the designs of God for us in the present moment."

O, all you who thirst, learn that you have not far to go to find the fountain of living waters; it flows quite close to you in the present moment; therefore hasten to find it. ...Had the Saints of the first ages any other secret than that of becoming from moment to moment whatever the divine power willed to make them? And will this power cease to pour forth its glory on the souls which abandon themselves to it without reserve.

The present moment is the ambassador of God to declare His mandates. The heart listens and pronounces its “fiat.” Thus the soul advances by all these things and flows out from its centre to its goal. It never stops but sails with every wind. Any and every direction leads equally to the shore of infinity. Everything is a help to it, and is, without exception, an instrument of sanctity. The one thing necessary can always be found for it in the present moment.

photos by Robert Fortuine

Prayer by Padre Pio:

"Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have you present so that I do not forget you."

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