The Sacrament of the Present Moment

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This sacrament of the present moment invites us to see differently, to have a whole different perspective on each moment, and it invites us to actively exercise our will to be present, to be present in faith, and to cleave to God in that moment, to seek to discern God's will and do it, and to be as God would have us in that moment. So it's a rather demanding business. It's not just a sweet consolation. And if we're going to undertake this, we want to know why. We want to know, is there a strong basis for this practice? Are we really seeing something or is it illusion? So this opens up the need to really reflect on the substance, the theology of this. Is it grounded in Scripture? Is it solid in our faith, etc.? So that's


our task this morning, to look a bit at the theology of the sacraments of the present moment. Viktor Frankl of Logotherapy, he's commented that if we know the why of something we're called to do, we can put up with a lot of what's. We can put up with a lot of difficulties if we know why, ultimately. He is a prisoner in the Nazi prison camp. He discovered that some people did survive and others didn't. People who survived, he found, tended to be those who saw some kind of ultimate, transcendent meaning, despite all the immediate stuff around. And the people who couldn't discern a meaning of why, they were the ones who gave up. So before we start this afternoon on how would one more effectively celebrate this sacrament of the


present moment in an ongoing way, we want to know why. What's the basis for all this business? So what this facade has thrown at us is this word sacrament. That's a heavyweight word, certainly in the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox and the Anglican tradition. A traditional definition of sacrament is that it's an outer and visible sign of an inner and spiritual grace. So as with baptism, you have your outer and visible sign, water, but you're not just involved in water there. There's an inner and spiritual grace, and that's being renewed. That's being engrafted in Christ. That's the grace of this action in and through water. So with Eucharist, you have the outer and visible signs. They look simply like bread and wine, but you have the inner and spiritual grace of communion in Christ,


of being nourished by Christ. So sacrament in the strict sense, if it's used in the Roman Catholic tradition, we say that there are seven sacraments. This came rather late, this definition, with the medieval scholastics before that. It was thought there were many more sacraments, etc. But our theologians are tending to say now that in an extended sense, there are a lot more sacraments. In the Anglican and Reformed tradition, there are two basic sacraments, baptism and Eucharist. Then according to whether you're high church or low church, etc., there might be other sacraments or certainly significant signs. But it can be that as some theologians argue, Christ is the great sacrament. Christ is the outer and visible sign through his humanity, through his life,


his suffering, his death, his resurrection, of the basic grace of our being redeemed, transformed, recreated, etc. So this kind of extends it, first of all. And second of all, each one of us is, through baptism, a member of Christ. Each one of us becomes Christ. Augustine says very baldly, do you not understand your dignity, O Christian? You have been made Christ because we are part of the whole, and the part of the whole can be called the whole. This hand can be called Robert. It's not the whole of Robert, but it's a part of Robert. So Jesus says to Paul, for instance, when Paul is still in his pre-Christian phase and persecuting Christians on the way to Damascus, and he's thrown off the horse or whatever it was, and Jesus appears in his glorious form and says, why do you persecute me?


Now he was in glory, but Paul was very actively persecuting the Christians. And so Christ said, you're persecuting me insofar as you're persecuting my disciples. Then you remember Matthew 25, you have given me to eat, you have given me to drink. And the disciples say, when did we do this? And he says, insofar as you've done this to the least of my brethren, you've done it to me. So Christ in the poor, Christ in the needy, Christ in others. So in a way, we're all sacraments. We're all outer invisible sign of the inner grace of Christ present in us. Is it also possible that after a Pentecost, the Spirit is working everywhere and working through everything so that anything and everything can become an efficacious sign of Christ's grace?


This is in the extended sense of sacrament. And if we read scripture carefully, God is working providentially through anything and everything. When the Jews are carted off into exile into Egypt, God is working through the Pharaoh, through the Pharaoh's wife, through the prison guards, through all kinds of events, also through the plagues. They're all vehicles for God's working with Israel. Not that God directly wills everything that happens, that's an important distinction down here, events. God wills some events, God doesn't will every event. Some events come out of our human freedom, which we exercise in sin. God does not will sin, God does not will sinful events, but he permits them, he allows them out of God's reverence for


our freedom. And the good news is that God can work through even sinful events, even bad events for our renewal, for our sanctification. That's the basic theological principle of all this. So God did not will the exile, the slavery, the suffering of Israel and Egypt, but God was able to work salvifically also through that. Then later when Israel is carted again into exile into Babylon, the prophets say that God is working through the king of Babylon and through the king of Syria, through all kinds of events, also sad events, setbacks, etc. It can all help Israel grow because God is so omnipotent that God can take the bad even and work through it and achieve good for us. This comes to a culminating moment in Golgotha, this terrible


godless place of suffering and death where Israel had rejected its Messiah, crucified its Messiah. If God is going to be blocked out of any place at any time, it's Calvary, it's the crucifixion. And in fact Christ says, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? But this is just Christ's immediate experience in his humanity. Sorry, but we know that God is working salvifically in a special way through Calvary, through the cross, through crucifixion. Again, not necessarily that God wills it directly, but God allows it and through this omnipotence of God is able to bring good out of it. So in that sense, anything and everything can become sacrament. The cross is a great sign of salvation for us. We put it everywhere, we Christians. Why? It's a terrible instrument of torture and execution, but God transformed it into


a vehicle for the salvation of all, to sign of God's great love for us all. Christ says greater love has no one than this than to lay down their life for their friends. So the cross is the great sign of Christ's limitless love for us. So that's how God can work in and through everything. And in that sense, everything can become sacrament of God's presence, of God's sanctifying work for us, through us. There are two important texts in Romans 8, St. Paul's letter to the Romans. I think we often presuppose that this moment now here isn't that propitious. It's not that beneficial spiritually. So I'll wait for a better moment. I'm not feeling that spiritual maybe, or I'm distracted, or I've got a lot on my mind, or someone's persecuting me, or I'm worried about


the dead or whatever. So I'm going to put off being here with God, et cetera, to a better moment because God's kind of not here really. And especially in moments when I've sinned or something. So there are good moments when God is present, and we think there are bad moments when God is not present because God's been kind of blocked off from us. But of course, we know nothing can block God off from us. And there's this wonderful, joyful, triumphant hymn of St. Paul in Romans 8. In all these things, we are more than conquerors through God who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. So this is an amazing claim.


I'm always in a sacred space. I'm always in a sacred time because nothing can cut me off from God. So this is one of the foundations of this act of faith that everything is vehicle for God. Everything is vehicle of grace for me. Again, not because God has necessarily willed everything. That's getting simplistic and wrongheaded, actually. But because whatever it is, it won't separate me from God. And then in a few lines right before that, he's even more active. Not only can nothing cut me off from God, but God is actively working through everything for my good. If I'm open to this, if I'm close to it, God won't, you know, violate my freedom and make me into a puppet, etc. If I'm open in faith and love to this, then everything is vehicle for God's love


for me. This is Romans 8.28. We know that in everything God works for the good, for those who love him. So this is an amazing claim. Everything. And I think we don't usually believe this. We think some things, again, mediate God's love for us, God's grace for us. Some things are spiritually propitious, but other things can't be spiritually propitious. God is not there. God can't work through these things. And in fact, God can. That's the basic line. This is our design here. Suppose this is our present moment again. And here's the person living in the present moment. There it is. Well, there's good circumstances. There are good events. And we can rather easily believe that God is working through them. I go to the altar and


receive the sacrament. God is coming to me in and through that sacrament. This is a very good moment. I go into my inner chamber. I close the door. I'm quietly in prayer with God, praying to our Father. God is there with me through that prayer and in that prayer. But what this is claiming is that events that might seem neutral to us, maybe are. You know, I've got to, today, I've got to go to shop and I've got to clean up the front room. You know, I've got to do both. Should I do the one in the morning or the other in the morning? It really doesn't matter that much. Whether I shop in the morning, whether I clean the front room in the morning, God is there in and through that. God is not blocked out because some actions are not positively good, as though those are good. But if it's something isn't


sacred and set aside, etc., but just the ordinary, regular thing, and I could do this or I could do that. In any case, God and God's omnipotence can work in and through that for me. But the amazing claim here, which isn't just Deucassade, but is against Scripture, is that God can work directly through bad events, bad circumstances, for my good, for our good. We've got to discern how. That takes attentiveness. But God is not blocked out. God is not absent. I can't go somewhere where God isn't. I can't be in some time where God isn't present. So, from all four directions, from everywhere, God is reaching out to me. God is wanting to offer me grace. And so everything is sacramental. Every place, every time. That's the basic insight of this


theology. It's a little like, not just that God is these arrows active, but God is like the blackboard itself already within the present moment, sustaining me as my ground. God is, yes, through the arrows and above the arrows and the whole thing. So, that's the kind of perspective that we're being asked to open ourselves to, to truly see. Then, how is God present? Not just as a neutral force, not just as a kind of a blind, impersonal energy or something like that, but as loving, personal, reaching out specifically to me in love, as though I were the only person on earth, reaching out to you specifically, and in a unique way in each unique moment. That's what makes life an incredible adventure.


This is one of those moments with its own particular graces, hopefully. But tomorrow will be another moment, the day after, moments of great sadness. Maybe we hear of the death of a beloved. Again, not necessarily God will that, but God can be working in and through that. Maybe I learned that I've got a bad sickness, or that my savings have been wiped out, God knows what. Somehow God is able to work through any and all of that for me lovingly. So, here again, the theologians talk about the different modalities, the different dimensions of God's presence to us, and we should have some intuition of the richness of this. Again, it's not just an impersonal, or it's not just primarily a condemnatory judge who's watching every action and is quite displeased about most of it, or something like that. Again,


the gospel is that Christ comes for the sinner, not for the just. And God is here, first of all, as our creator, who created us. So we are God's child. As a parent loves the child and feels responsibility for the child, so God is present to us as our creator. And as the theologians point out, creation, putting us from non-existence into existence, this is a biggie. And it doesn't just happen a way back at our moment of conception, or our moment of birth, or if you want to count it. At every moment, God is sustaining us in existence. Theologians say it's a little like the note that the singer sings out. As long as the singer is singing it, that note is out there in existence. The moment the singer stops, the note just falls into silence. So this is God's creative activity. It's continuing, just that we're here in this room,


each one of us at this table is here, that there's light, that there's sound. This is evidence of God's direct, immediate, creative, and sustaining activity here, in all the diversity of what's in this room and who's in this room. So this place is sacred with God's creative, sustaining action. And we should be just awed. It's like being present at the creation of the world, because it is being created right now in God sustaining it in existence. So that's something to munch on and ponder. So God is present to us in and through all things that are enabled by God in existence. And that's basically Genesis. That's the creation story. But then the New Testament comes along, not just creating and sustaining, but


redeeming and sanctifying John 14, 17. If anyone loves me, and there again, that's this business, if we need to freely open our hearts to God, then my Father will love that person, and we will come and make our abode with that person. So this is this loving Father who comes to me, and loving Christ, who is my brother, my spouse, my friend, and the Holy Spirit that's there to sustain me, heal me, sanctify me, bring me to holiness. First Corinthians 3, do not know that you are God's temple, and the Spirit of God dwells in you. So this amazing presence that is creative, sustaining, sanctifying, redeeming, is around me through all the elements that are sacramental, that are nourishing me, and are also quite within me. So Christ, his last words before his ascension,


Behold, I am with you always till the end of the earth. So I'm not just with you in the good times. This would not be a loyal friend and a loving spouse, but I'm with you always. So whatever time of day it is, whatever time of the week, wherever place we are, in faith we know Christ is present with us and actively reaching out, as he did with the disciples, healing, guiding, teaching, nourishing, bringing us to fruition. And so the kind of organic models of St. Paul, I am the head, you are the branches. I'm sorry, that's a John. I am the vine, you are the branches. That's another organic vision. So we were engrafted in Christ all the time. Or St. Paul says Christ is the head, and we are the members. So that's the body image. In any case, it's this affirmation in so many ways


that we're not separated from God. We're not separated from Christ. Anytime, anyplace, whatever the circumstances, whether they be good or indifferent or bad, Christ is there, God the Father, God the Mother, the Spirit is there. So ponder this, you know, can you buy it? Is it a bit much? The problem is we often miss it. Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, because Jerusalem missed the moment of its visitation. So we can be blind to this presence. And it's often a disguised presence. It's not always so evident as at the Eucharist with the evident signs and the candles and the cross and the singing, etc. It might be a grungy mechanic who's told us that we need a whole new transmission


or something. Somehow Christ can work through that also. Somehow that's sacramental. How? Again, we've got to explore. That takes work. But it takes work also in the Eucharist, the work of faith. There also in the Eucharist, God's presence is veiled. Why? De Cassade and all the theologians say we would just be at this point zapped out if God were to appear immediately in total direct presence. And so there are these veiled presences. That's the sacraments. That's Scripture also, which comes to us as the Word of God, but very much through human words and has to be pondered and studied in prayer and prayed, etc. So as Scripture is human word, but also Word of God, as Eucharist is bread and wine, but signs of bread and wine, but God's. So any and every event is


very human. It has its human causes, maybe some things I should resist, etc. But I know that God is working through it in any case, and God is calling me to resist, for instance, injustice if that's what's happening, or to resist temptation if that's what's coming on. But again, knowing that nothing will block me out from God. So don't know if that's if there are any questions, comments, objections, etc. That will be tomorrow morning. It will just open up to all kinds of them. But so we've gone down now to C2. And now it would be good maybe to hear a bit of this specific spiritual writer, theologian de Cassade, who's very substantial and very profound and really lived this. And so look, here's some of the things he says and some of his insights. Who is this de Cassade? Well, he's a Frenchman born in 1675, so quite a while


ago, in southern France. He joined the Jesuits at just the age of 18. So he joined early on, ordained a priest, final vows, studied theology, took his doctorate in theology. So this is a subtle mind. He's not just working out of emotions or something. He's deeply rooted in Scripture and the patristic, the medieval. This is solid theology. But then the rest of his life was ministerial to young Jesuits as their formator, to nuns, and to laity as their spiritual director. So he had to go from the theology in the book, so to speak, to, well, how does this affect people's lives as they journey in faith? So he's very pastoral. He's also very poetic, but I think he's able to present a way of Christian living that's quite fascinating.


Also quite contemporary because, again, it quite echoes much of what Buddhism says, Hinduism says, if we're interested in interreligious dialogue. I think it very much speaks to some of the yearnings of people who get into new age, etc. Some of his influences, he didn't just make it up. Again, Scripture is very important, just solid theology. John of the Cross is very big for him. For John of the Cross, it's not so much the inner consolation or visions or prophecies, or it's just in faith that I live this, sometimes in the darkness, maybe often in the darkness. The darkness is okay. Moments of crisis are okay. They're moments of growth. So John of the Cross is very big for him. Ignatius of Loyola is very big for him. Contemplatives in action. We've got to have this inner centeredness in God, but we don't just stay there. We have outreach. We're doing


things for the Lord. We're seeking to up-build the Christian community, the human family, etc. And then we're called in an ongoing way to discern the spirits, what are good, what are bad, etc., etc. That's all in him also. And then a big influence of these sisters he ministered to as their chaplain and gave all these conferences that then came to us in books. They ministered to him and challenged him and asked questions, etc. So there's a real clarity and softness and gentleness and feminine dimension there also, I think. Brother Lawrence, the whole thing of the practice of the presence of God, that's there with him. So there's lots of rich, but particularly his own lived experience that God is with me providentially. It's not just me on my own having to make it on my own, but to the extent that I open to God, amazing things will happen. So that's briefly him.


His own experience with God is, as Ignatius said, God is always laboring mightily to grace us, to enter into communion with us, to enter into loving friendship with us, just as a mother will labor mightily to help the child grow and live and flourish, etc. God isn't just elsewhere bored with us or angry with us or something like that. And then God is present to each of us in a very personal way. It's amazing that you really hear the stories of people. The stories at one level are so different one from another. But it's clear if it's a faith story that God has been working providentially through this person in Czechoslovakia, this person in California, that person in Ireland, etc., etc., that person who's married with seven kids, this person who's single in the world, that person. God loves variety and God in God's omnipotent power can


adapt to any and every kind of circumstance that is constantly. So that's very important to him. A basic model he has for Christ is the spouse, the one who loves us very intently. And if you know the Canticle of Canticles, much of it is a chase and an exploration and a looking for, etc. So we're basically looking for the spouse, but actually the spouse is looking for us, and it so is the beloved. The main book that he's known by, though he didn't write it, it's a compilation of his Conferences to the Sisters, Abandoner to Divine Providence. There's a nice new edition of it in Image, page 84. The cheeks of the bridegroom are beds of spices, banks scented sweetly. So he quotes from the


Canticle. He's very poetic and lyrical. And the divine action is the gardener who tends them. So we're like the garden, and the loving gardener is always tending us. Sometimes the gardener has to pull up weeds, or sometimes has to prune, etc. And sometimes enemies come in and plant weeds, etc., as we know from our Lord's Parable. But the gardener is always there in our garden working. It is a garden unlike any other, for every one of its flowers is different except for one thing, the earnestness to abandon themselves to the activity of the gardener and to let him do what he wishes. So God is in my life. As the 12th step of the slogan has it, let God, let go. You know, I don't have to be in control of everything, but God is laboring in and through everything, so I don't have to exclude certain emotions or feelings or


events as absolutely disastrous. Nothing is absolutely disastrous for the Christian. And so to basically in every event open to God, to be with God, and then to do as it seems God wishes us to do. There'll be trials, there'll be difficulties. Well, we're in Christ's life, he says, so this just makes us more like Christ. Again, not necessarily that God directly will solve these difficulties. Maybe someone comes up and mugs us. God didn't will that. That came out of the sinfulness of the mugger. But God can work through it for our betterment. God works to the good of all. So that's the ongoing point. Jesus is especially friend, especially gentle, present to us. I think we're usually scared of the idea of some divine presence. But as gentle friend, I


think that can help. That is how Jesus Christ lived in Judea and how he is continually living in simple souls. With them, he is generous and gentle, unreserved, present as a friend. So I think one of our challenges this weekend is, what is my understanding, my model of Christ, of God as present? Is it a terrifying thing? Is it something I'm trying to get away from? Or again, do I have faith that Christ is this loving bridegroom, loving brother, loving friend, that God is loving mother, loving father? If the latter, then I'll want to be with God, and then I'll want to be more present with things happening and not just caught off in every kind of distraction or worried so much about what the stock market is going to do in two years or something like that. So at the time of Dechassat, it was thought that there's


hierarchies of sanctity, you know, and certainly the monks off in the cloister and the nuns, they're holier than the people in the ordinary life. And the people who have visions are much more holy than the people who don't have visions, and the people who have had God knows what. He says, no, there's one way to sanctity. We're all in one Christian way, which is the way of the gospel. And it's very basic. It's just being with God, loving God, loving our neighbor as ourselves, loving ourselves also. That's it. It's so completely simple and ordinary and regular. But because it's simple and regular, it's all extraordinary. And to become aware of that, it's kind of an adventure to see in every moment, how is God present here? How is God reaching out to me lovingly here? It might seem again like a humdrum, dull moment, nothing different,


nothing exciting. But this moment somehow is special because through the particularities of this moment, God is reaching out in a totally new way to me. And so it will be in every moment, in every circumstance. So everyone is called to perfection in the sense of full communion and union with God. And there's one way to that, and that's union of God with God's presence, with God's will. That's it. Whether it be for the Virgin Mary or St. Joseph or whomever. And he says, if you think of their years, all the hidden years before Christ comes into his public ministry, the first 30 years, what was happening? Well, there's some of the apocalyptic gospels that talk of this. I mean, there's all these miracles happening and extraordinary things, but they're not really recorded in history. We suspect there's a lot of the ordinary there. Mary had to clean


house and had to cook, and Joseph had to do the carpentry, and Jesus had to learn how to be a kid, etc. This is the ordinary way that is so extraordinary. And so Mary is the model. Just say yes, say yes to it all. I wish to show all that they may lay claim not to the same distinct favors, but to the same love, the same self-abandonment, the same God, and to the same eminent sanctity as all the saints. Let us not distress or refuse anyone or drive anyone away from eminent perfection. Jesus calls all to perfection. If we knew how to leave God's divine hand free to act, we should attain the most eminent perfection. All would attain it, for it is offered to all. So it's not that you all have to go off to cloisters and become nuns or something. What you need to do is live your life to be yourself and to recognize how God is


eminently, extraordinarily present there for you and lovingly there for you. And so there's this one way for everyone, basically, and it's the way of faith and love, of just conforming to God. All souls would arrive at supernatural, sublime, wonderful, inconceivable states of prayer. Yes, if one could only leave the hand of God to do its work, one would reach the most eminent perfection. All souls would reach it, for it is offered to all. So he does have this insistence on this. We don't need extraordinary ascetical practices. The cross will be there in our life just inevitably. One of the saints says, take the cross as it comes, not as you would like it. So I can think of all kinds of exotic ways to punish myself through fasting and vituals and solitude.


But just my regular life will have this cruciform reality to it. And to be open to that, that'll be enough. In order to reach the highest stage of perfection, the crosses sent them by providence, with which their state of life supplies them at every moment, opened them a far surer and swifter path than extraordinary states and works. You know, I haven't had great visions. Okay, but have I lived my particular day to day well? You know, did I wash my dishes? Did I greet someone in a friendly way? Did I say my prayers? Did I do the work I was supposed to do? Well, then this is the extraordinary path I'm called to. So these are the basic foundations of the spirituality he's suggesting to us. These towering saints really, at the heart of the matter,


live the ordinary, and we're all called to this. And this, not by what we're feeling primarily, but by, again, this commitment of the will to believe and to love, whatever be. Christ starts out on the cross, why have you forsaken me? But then, as he grows into this, you know, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. And behold your mother, and behold your son. And now it is consummated, and Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. So that's what it's all about. Whatever Christ was feeling, the pain was certainly the same or the more intense. But this faith all the way through, this cleaving to God, whatever be happening, that's the heart of the matter. This, another way to put it, is being present in the sacrament of


the present moment, not fleeing elsewhere. That's what it takes. Feelings even don't help. They can distract us. We shouldn't repress our feelings. You know, if I'm angry, I'm angry. If I'm sad, I'm sad. But as the Psalms teaches, I can bring all of this to the present moment. I can bring my sadness and express that to God. I can bring my anger with someone else, express that to God. I can even bring my anger with God to God. God can take that of the Psalmists and Job. They're regularly doing that. That's legitimate. It's a much healthier spiritual relationship than someone who's just thinks they can approach God when they're goody-goody and just filled with rapturous gratitude to God, etc. Everything is vehicle for our communion with God. Also our anger, also our depression, also our fear, a lot of fear in the


Psalms and in Scripture. In any case, we bring it to the present moment, and we are aware of what's happening in the present moment, and we offer it to God. So the present, again, usually seems fairly boring and flat and uninteresting. It's not like being in a great cathedral with a high mass, etc., or a solemn Vespers in Grace Cathedral or something like that. But if we have eyes to see, it is all, again, extraordinary because, again, Christ is there. God is there reaching out for us in some kind of amazing providential plan. And so it was with Mary and Joseph, again, in those 30 hidden years. What was the bread which nourished the faith of Mary and Joseph? It was the sacrament of the moment. But what did they experience beneath in existence, apparently filled with nothing but


happenings? On the surface, it was similar to that of everyone around them, but faith, piercing the superficialities, disclosed that God was accompanying, accomplishing very great things. And then he goes into that text, which I put on the top of your program. O bread of angels, O heavenly manna, pearl of the gospels, sacrament of the present moment. You give God under such lowly forms as the stable, the manger, the hay, and the straw. But to whom do you give him? The hungry he has filled with good things. So if we're hungry, God will give all this to us. God reveals himself to the humble in the lowliest of disguises. But the proud who never look below the surface fail to find him even in his greatest manifestations. If an atheist comes to Eucharist, they'll just see an odd kind of ceremony of people with a little


bread and wine, and they're not really even getting fed. But it's the eyes of faith that see that this is really a heavenly banquet in communion with God. Well, so also with every event, every circumstance, it's all a sacrament of the present moment. In the present moment, there's everything. There's everything I need. It's not that this is kind of okay, but I'd rather be elsewhere kind of thing. No, it's right here, all of it, because God is here, and God is all for me. For each moment, our hearts are at peace in God and completely abandoned to all creation when we're living this practice. Therefore, each of these moments contains all things you know. And again, this isn't just for people in the cloister. It is for people in the cloister. I find it very rich. Benedictine Abbots had praised this as very


deep spirituality. Thérèse de Lisieux was apparently quite influenced by de Cassade, again, in finding God in the ordinary. But it's also for people out in very active ministries. I hope you all know of Dorothy Day, who was a Benedictine Abbot, but she was right on the front line of activity in the grunge of the inner city, working with the poorest of the poor, and fighting injustice, and regularly tossed into prison, etc., etc., where she found de Cassade very helpful. Somehow, wherever a God was with her, whether she was with her daughter and her granddaughter in great joy on a farm, or whether she was in a dark prison in isolation, or on a front line being spat at by angry opposition people, or whatever. So, it's a spirituality for the most active kind of life, and also for the most contemplative kind of life.


The Ignatian does bridge this at its best. So, that's some of the basics. God working lovingly in and through everything. So, whatever happens, it's an instrument of God's love for us. Everything communicates God to us, thus everything was God-bearing, everything is sacred. But this is, again, also the grungy mechanic who says the transmission is busted, I'll need a new one. Maybe it's not really busted, maybe he's really taking me for a ride, but somehow God can work through that event again. Maybe the transmission really is busted, maybe I just don't know. Whatever it be, but that moment is sacred if we can see it that way. So, every moment of our lives can be a kind of communion with God's love, a communion which can produce in our souls fruits similar to those


we receive with the body and blood of the Son of God. We receive Eucharist to be nourished by Christ's body. Well, any event brings the same grace. This latter has, it is true, that is Eucharist, a sacramental power which the former cannot have, but yet how much oftener can we experience the former? You know, we have the grunge in the daily much more often than we're at the altar, even if we go daily to Eucharist. So, why not open ourselves to this sacramental power in the extended sense of every event, of every moment, of every place, and not just wait till I'm in church and at that moment I'll start being with God and thinking about God. Because God is peeking in at us, so to speak, like the lever in the candico at every moment. When we know this secret of God, that God can work through everything,


it is useless for God to assume any disguise, for we say, see where he stands behind our wall. He looks in at the window, he peers through the lattice, the direct quote from the candico. So, he says, when we know this, we've got the secret, we've got the good Son God, and then we can be aware that God is lovingly at work in all things. This is the equivalent of love. It's the equivalent of opening ourselves up to knowing that God is love. God is therefore always with us. God doesn't abandon us in the difficult times. What loving parent, what loving spouse or friend would do that? God is particularly present in those moments, and most creatively present. So, this practice of the present moment as sacrament, this is acknowledging that God is love, and this is expressing our love for God. We don't want to just be oblivious to this, or disdain it, or be too busy for it with other


things. We want lovingly to express our gratitude for God's loving presence, just like a loving spouse wouldn't want to ignore the spouse, or a child wouldn't want to ignore the parent who's loving the child, or vice versa. So, all of this is just one way to articulate what's at the heart of Christianity, and what sums up Christianity, which is love. So, here's a final quote with which we might conclude. The whole business of self-abandonment to the moment is only the business of loving, and love achieves everything. Nothing can be denied this love. How can this love possibly be rejected? How can the love of God refuse anything to a soul whose every act is open to this love? How can a soul which lives for God and for God alone refuse God anything?


What love desires, love cannot refuse.