“If I did not simply live from one moment to another, it would be impossible for me to be patient, but I only look at the present, I forget the past, and I take good care not to forestall the future.” St. Therese of Lisieux (b. 1873- d. 1897)
A well known writer on the Little Way* of St. Therese is Fr. Jacques Philippe. His books may be found on Amazon. This quote from his The Way of Trust and Love, in a brief paragraph, summarizes one aspect of the Little Way, the importance of living in the present moment:
“One day at a time. This is very important. Very often we exhaust ourselves going over the past again and again and also our fears about the future. But when we live in the present moment, we mysteriously find strength. We have the grace to live through what we encounter today. If tomorrow we must face more difficult situations, God will increase his grace. God’s grace is given at the right time for it, day by day.” Fr. Jacques Philippe, The Way of Trust and Love**
This form of living, or spiritual outlook, is difficult to remember while in the throes of life, but it is the way of spiritual childhood, the way recommended by our Savior (consider the lilies, and such). To stay spiritually in childhood, that is, to stay in the present, is a spiritual discipline.
Years ago, I heard an older woman advise that if you were troubled by the past, by your past actions, besides going to Confession, do the following (paraphrase):
“God is outside of time. He promised to refuse us nothing. Ask Our Lady, to ask Jesus, to ask God, to go back in time, and turn everything we have done to Good; to make all things work to the Good. God can do anything. He will do this, if we ask.”
I will add that Our Lady said that with God all things are possible (paraphrase, Lk 1:37), and Jesus did, as well (Mt 19:26).
St. Therese noted that:
“He [Jesus] opened the book of nature before me, and I saw that every flower He has created has a beauty of its own, that the splendor of the rose and the lily’s whiteness do not deprive the violet of it’s scent nor make less ravishing the daisy’s charm. I saw that if every little flower wished to be a rose, Nature would lose her spring adornments , and the fields would be no longer enameled with their varied flowers. So it is in the world of souls, the living garden of the Lord. It please Him to create great Saints, who may be compared with the lilies or the rose, but He has also created little ones, who must be content to be daisies or violets, nestling at His feet to delight His eyes when He should choose to look at them… What delights Him is the simplicity of these flowers of the field, and by stooping so low to them, He shows how infinitely great He is. Just as the sun shines equally on the cedar and the little flower, so the Divine Sun shines equally on everyone, great and small.” St. Therese of Lisieux
To be content to be whatever flower God has created us to be is to live in Therese’s Little Way: accepting the past (given to God to transform into Good), accepting the future as it arrives, staying in the present.
Children live this way.
They trust in their parents for all things, as we are to trust in God, to the best of our abilities.
St. Therese, pray for us.
*details on the Little Way of St. Therese: link
**a book on the spirituality of St. Therese’s Little Way, more details