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A single instant

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A single instant
‘God is there in these moments of rest
and can give us in a single instant exactly what we need.
Then the rest of the day can take its course,
under the same effort and strain, perhaps, but in peace.
And when night comes, and you look back over the day
and see how fragmentary everything has been,
and how much you planned that has gone undone,
and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed:
just take everything exactly as it is,
put it in God’s hands and leave it with Him.
Then you will be able to rest in Him — really rest —
and start the next day as a new life.’                  
 
– St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)
 

‘God is there in these moments of rest’.  These are moments when you ‘go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place’ (Mt 6:6)… but how tempting it is just to keep that door a little ajar, in case we miss anything that is going on outside!  How afraid we can be of giving our Father our full attention in the private room of our hearts, to the exclusion of all else that clamours for our attention!

However, when we do shut the door and let God into our innermost heart, how often we find that God does truly give us exactly what we need ‘in a single instant’!    That last phrase reminds me of Thérèse of Lisieux, musing on something similar.  She wrote (of her ‘complete conversion’ of Christmas 1886), ‘in an instant Jesus, content with my good will, accomplished the work I had not been able to do in ten years.’  For Thérèse, the grace of that instant brought about a change in her that was to make a real and lasting impact on the rest of her life.

For the rest of us – and hearteningly we appear here to have St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross for company – if only we allow God some time each morning in which to bestow his grace upon us, it is sufficient to  carry us through to the close of each day, when we ‘put it in God’s hands and leave it with Him… then rest in Him …and start the next day as a new life’.

  1. Lyndsey says:

    Thanks for reminding me to be thankful.

    Also, it reminds me of Peter Kreeft’s suggestion: at least ten times a day do something that only takes 5 seconds. First, just take one deep breath…pause for the 5 seconds it takes you to take that one deep breath, and praise God for one little thing you notice: the colour of the sky, or your skin, or the curve of wood in the chair you’re sitting on or the human craft that shaped it, or the wipeout of the dinosaurs that allowed your body to evolve, or your ability to see, hear, feel, create, understand and to make others understand-or for the sheer existence of anything, everything, of a single grain of sand. (Because nothing had to exist. Everything is a gift). Just thank Him for one new thing every hour for ten hours every day. That takes 5 x 10=50 seconds. Less than one minute. Kreeft guarantees that this will make us a lot happier and less harried, hassled, angry, fearful, worried, and more aware of real things instead, things we’ve seen a million times but never noticed.

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