Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Sacrament of the Present Moment

Mom's brother, Mark, inspired this post with a recent letter and an enclosed excerpt from The Sacrament of the Present Moment. Mark writes in his letter:

When we're doing diapers or weeding under a hot sun, we need to remember Jacob's words from Genesis 28: "Surely the Lord is in this place and I knew it not."

Jean-Pierre de Caussade, an eighteenth century Jesuit priest, is the author of The Sacrament of the Present Moment. In it he writes:

"All creatures live by the hand of God. The senses can only grasp the work of man, but faith sees the work of divine action in everything....Everything that happens to us, in us, and through us, embraces and conceals God's divine but veiled purpose, so that we are always being taken by surprise and never recognize it until it has been accomplished. If we could pierce that veil and if we were vigilant and attentive, God would unceasingly reveal himself to us and we would rejoice in his works and in all that happens to us. We would say to everything: 'It is the Lord!'"

And so I am reminded that in all of the small tasks of the day, God would pierce that veil and manifest his presence in the midst of daily living. Today was a day when His presence was clearly seen - the morning was beautiful, the humid air that had blanketed the Hudson Valley was replaced by a cool wind, the hay that we were unloading into the barn was fresh-smelling, golden and, oh, so good. The beauty spoke of God's nearness.

But other days, it is the toil and the sweat and the encompassing worries that seem to consume the mind. It is in these times that we ask for faith to see the sacrament of the moment. We pray, as Dad did tonight, "Thank you for the struggles of life and for the family that supports and encourages us as we go through them." The gift of Christian life together is that we can help one another to see through that veiled purpose into the eternal love and presence of God.