Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Present Moment

Father Caussade, in Abandonment to Divine Providence, refers often to the present moment, which is really a wonderful thing when you think about it.

When God lives in the soul it has nothing left of self, but only that which the spirit which actuates it imparts to it at each moment. Nothing is provided for the future, no road is marked out, but it is like a child which can be led wherever one pleases

He is talking here about the soul which trusts completely to God, but it can be read as a simple statement of reality as well.  We don't have guarantees for the future.  We have the moment.   The moment can be broken up into infinitesimal particles (this is one of the few bits I remember from the later part of St Augustin's Confessions).   But the mysterious part is that I'm fully part of that tiny particle of time, and that's the only part where my will is active.   The future has not come yet, though I can prepare for it to some degree, as CS Lewis said.   The past is gone (though I, a sinner, can affect it by repentance -- I think Oscar Wilde was right about that).  either way, whatever I can do about the past and future takes place in this moment, not in any other.   It is like the only way I can participate in eternity for now ... in consecutive particles of seconds.   Yet what a gift.   I admit I used to feel like the present moment was a trap, boring and redundant and incoherent; recently I have been startled by the richness of every moment as it comes.  It's almost too rich and strange, and I think I've fled from it by reading books and getting lost in thought, or planning.  Not that those things aren't good, but they are only a piece of a particle -- a fraction of the moment that is current. 

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