This Place Right Here, This Moment Right Now

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Do you have books on your shelf that you pick up again and again? One of my perennial favorites is a small volume of 103 pages: The Sacrament of the Present Moment. The book was written by an eighteenth century French Jesuit priest named Jean-Pierre deCaussade to explore a very twenty-first century question: How do we narrow our focus to this place right here, this moment right now?

And by the way, should Christians even attempt such a pop-spirituality puruit as mindfulness, or... better question yet: are we even capable?

In the introduction, Richard Foster writes, "It is sad to say that much of modern Christianity is captivated by the religion of the 'big deal.' ... Big churches, big budgets, big names - certainly this is the sign of things important."

Now, I should note that Foster wrote this sometime around 1981, and it seems to me that we are less accepting of the corporate/celebrity church culture than we were then. At least we try to be. A couple of years ago, my son attended a Christian youth function where he heard a speaker rail against the cult of the big deal, the brand name. For a time after that, in our house labels disappeared from computers, from clothing, from mp3 players. But it seems to me that the event where he got this advice, Acquire the Fire, had built itself a pretty big brand of its own.

(Am I getting myself in trouble here? I'm not putting down AtF. I'm only pointing out, however awkwardly, that we can't seem to help building big brands even as we rebel against them.)

Foster continues: "To such idolatry deCaussade speaks with devastating precision. For him, the focus of God's activity is not center stage but backstage, in the insignificant moments we often cast aside."

Is it possible that we can find God best in this moment, with the water dripping from the eaves outside, with the bathtub that needs cleaning and the taxes that need filing?

Or put another way: Can we find him anyplace else?

More on this to come.


Latayne C Scott said...

Oh, I dearly hope I can find Him in this very moment, for that is what He Himself advised -- since we have no access to the past except through representations, and the future exists only in the mind of God, it is only this moment that we have!

Very insightful post, dear Katy --

Latayne C Scott

Kathleen Popa said...

"Sufficient unto this day..."

Thank you, Latayne.