A Child Lives His Present Moment
Fr. Miguel Marie Soeherman, MFVA
10/09/2006 — A Day Honoring The Divine Child Jesus
7am Mass – PCPA Hanceville, AL
Recently I was on my family visit to North California. Unless one is in his novitiate year, each of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word visits his family for nine days. One of those nine days, I visited my oldest brother and his family who live just about an hour from my parents’ place. It was Matthew’s birthday that day — on the eve of the Feast of St. Matthew. Matthew is my brother’s oldest son who’s been playing a lot of tennis and winning a lot of trophies from various Tennis tournaments. And because of his latest accomplishment, he is now qualified for the National Tennis Championship for his age bracket. Not only is he my oldest nephew, but he is also my godson.
One of the gifts he received for his birthday was this sports car toy which has over 600 pieces that he has to put together. He was so excited of receiving the present that he started to assemble it right away. He was so consumed in assembling his little sports car that time was not in his radar screen at all. Though, most of us have left the room where he started to assemble, even after a very long time, he was still there busy assembling his little sports car. Unless his parents tell him to stop or ask him to do something else, he’d be there for hours working on this project.
From observing Matthew, I realized that this is one of the characteristics of a child. A child really lives his present moment to the best of his ability!
Recently I was given a copy of a book by Maria von Trapp who is the real lady of the “Sounds of Music.” She wrote a book similar like the life of Christ. She has one chapter that focuses on today’s gospel passage: unless one becomes like children, one cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. She notices that there is this striking difference between little ones and grownups. The big difference is that “little ones do not worry.” She said (cf. Yesterday, Today & Forever, 83):
They do not worry because they have no past and no future. They live only in the present moment. Just observe any children: your own or others. If they play, they play! And they don’t notice anything that is going on around them. Sometimes, they don’t even hear the parents call them.
That’s the way children are — if they eat, they eat. If they sleep, they sleep. One word that describes how they do whatever they do: they do it “whole-heartedly.” Whereas grownups often do things “half-heartedly.”
While we grownups do one thing, we worry about the past:
Oh, I should never have done that...
Oh, if I only had done that...
We worry about the future too:
My, and what is going to happen when...
or what will I do...
or what will I say if...
So in the true sense of the word, we have split personalities. We can hardly do anything with our whole heart. So in a way, we grownups have difficulties fulfilling the first and most important commandment: that is — we shall love the Lord our God with our whole heart, and with our whole soul, and with our whole mind. Only children or childlike souls can do anything with their whole heart because they live fully the present moment.
On the recent newsletter of our Dear Sisters (Regina Angelorum, Fall ‘06), “A P.C.P.A Senior” writes about Mother’s favorite lesson to them. It was on “The Sacrament of the Present Moment.” She said, “Mother taught us that the past is dead, the future is yet unborn, and that all we have is the present moment. If we neglect the present moment... If we neglect the opportunity it brings to please God and to grow closer to Him, then we shall have missed that moment forever.” She continues with Mother’s wisdom by saying, “Mother often told us that the devil is satisfied with only half a loaf; in other words, that the enemy of our souls would be happy if we did not arrive at that degree of holiness which God has destined us from all eternity.”
I like what Fr. Corapi said about the present moment:
“Leave the past to God’s mercy.
Leave the future to God’s providence.
Live the present moment as God’s gift... and that’s why it’s called ‘present’”
Reflecting on the childhood of Our Lord, He fully lived out His present moment! He lived on earth for 33 years to accomplish the great work of our redemption: 30 years in the hidden life; 3 years in the public life; 3 hours on the cross; and 3 days being buried in the tomb and afterward rose again! Jesus fully accomplished the Father’s Will as a 1 year old boy. He fully accomplished the Father’s Will as a 6 or 12 years old boy. He lived out fully each moment of His earthly life. He loves the Father with His whole heart, whole mind, and whole strength. St. Mark in his gospel tells us somewhere that Jesus “did all things well.”
In the Gospel, Jesus said: Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever humbles himself like This Child... Whoever humbles himself like This Divine Child..., he is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
And the Divine Child shows us the way and that is to live each of our present moments fully, whole-heartedly with the eyes of faith. And this is how the Little Child is leading us to the Father’s House by showing us and calling us to live the present moment like a child who worries not of the past nor of the future.
Finally as Mother said in her book (cf. Spiritual Hangovers):
The present moment has God within it to give us peace.
The present moment has God within it to give us sorrow that builds up courage.
The present moment has God within it to give us demands that make us virtuous.
The present moment has God within it to give us joy that take the edge off bad situations.
To find Jesus where we are is to strive for holiness.
To find Jesus in what is happening is to strive for holiness.
We are to become through grace, what Jesus is by nature, a son of God.
We are to be faithful because He is always in the midst of everything.
He only waits for us to ask so He may give Himself to us.
He desires us to do our part.
He desires us to exercise our talents.
He desires us to see Him in everything and everyone.