Mother M. Angelica
The present moment resembles a sacrament—resembles many sacraments. It gives me Jesus like the Eucharist; it gives me the opportunity to forgive and be forgiven like Confession; it enhances His Presence in my soul like Baptism; it puts in operation the seven gifts like Confirmation. His Spirit gives me power to be transformed into Jesus like the Mass and affords me opportunities to die to self and be healed of my faults.

As the priest raises up the Bread and Wine and says, "This is my body," the Spirit of God says, "So be it." Is the Present Moment not like this bread? In it seems nothing worth while—nothing attractive—nothing powerful, but if I raise it up to God—if I encounter Him within the mystery of its shadows—its plainness—its monotony—its pain—if I offer the bread of my life, my personality, my heart, my entire self and embrace that moment with love, with Jesus, will He not say, "This is my body"? Will His Spirit not say "Amen"? Can this embodiment of faults and weaknesses become so holy—so like Jesus, that the Father will one day look at this soul and say, "This is my son—this is my image?"

Will the power of His Spirit absorb my nothingness and sins—change them transform them? Yes, His Blood merited this gift, this privilege, this transformation, this miracle of grace, this "greater work."

If only I could live in the Will of God—in His Spirit—in His Love. If I could only see His Providence, His Spirit at work in the present moment. He works, arranges, permits every facet of my life, every moment of my existence. His Presence is in the midst of my every day situations. The only Reality is within the reality of whatever is happening. If only I could embrace the present moment as if He were in front of me. The present moment is like a chisel in the hands of God. He uses it to round off jagged corners, smooth over rough surfaces, reshape and remold my soul. It is precious, for it brings God to me in a personal way. It calls forth the very best of the One who lives within me. My God, let me embrace the present moment with love.

My Jesus, my poor soul is surrounded by distress and frustration. You seem so far away and though my faith tells me you are near, my soul cries out to see Your Face. I desire to live by faith because I know you are pleased as a soul hangs on when all seems lost. Do you mind if I wish You were by my side so I could reach out and touch you? Do I see You shake Your head in wonderment at my lack of perception? Yes, I know—I do touch You when my neighbor needs me—it is You who smile when I pass a child—it is You who give me strength to go another mile—another day. Your Presence surrounds me like a gentle breeze. Your Spirit tugs at my heart to spur me on. Your Father calls me His child. I desire what I already possess—I look for Someone who is so close I cannot see Him. I look for a staff that is already in my hand.

Your Will, my God, is beyond my comprehension. I so often rebel and cry out to You as if You did not hear. My soul looks for You and my rebellion builds up an invisible wall between us. My pride makes me think you have not heard my plea, or your justice has shut me off from seeing your Face. My poor soul is in turmoil at the thought of losing You. I am torn between the pride that rebels and the need that cries out for help. One part of me says that what is happening is unfair, unjust, cold and cruel and yet deep in the recesses of my soul there is that faint voice that assures me Your Will is holy, just and infinitely wise. My rebellion and my desire to do Your Will, totally vie with each other for the possession of my soul. I am numb with the struggle. My soul is parched and weary. I stand before Your holy, silent Presence, clinging to my desire to love You alone with all my heart—hoping You will not hear the turmoil nor see my misery. All the while I know it is this very wretched state that attracts Your Mercy and I cling to the anchor that is inscribed with the words, "My power is at its best in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9)

Your Presence surrounds me like a cloak. It penetrates my being like the warm rays of the sun. When I remain in You, as You remain in me, no trial is too difficult, no pain unendurable. Then suddenly, it is as if darkness envelops my soul and I am forced to stand still, waiting and reaching out to touch You. My steps falter and hesitate—my heart fails in courage—my eyes see no distinguishing form—my ears strain for the slightest sound of Your Voice—I wait as a helpless child—I wait for the dawn.

My mind questions and my heart ponders Your ways. Your Wisdom permits trials in my life that I cannot understand. I look around in wonderment, seeking an answer—a possible solution. When I pray, You seem far away almost not hearing me. I feel an emptiness in my soul as if this trial has drained my strength my being stands before You rather than petitions for help. I stand waiting, empty, silent. before Holiness Itself—not understanding—afraid to express my thoughts, but knowing Your Love penetrates my soul and hears my silent groanings. My head is bowed down as I struggle to penetrate Your Ways. Then it is, in the silence of Your Presence, that I see the reason for it all. My soul before Baptism was like fine tissue paper—fragile, weak, unable to withstand even a breeze. Then Your Spirit was given to me at Baptism and Living Water began to saturate that tissue paper. The special Water enables my tissue paper to stand before You and live. Without that Water, that covering, it would dissolve before the fire of Your Presence—so holy, so powerful. I see now—it is so clear. Trials and sufferings—my moment to moment choices, pour more and more of that Living Water into my tissue paper—my being. Not only am I able to stand before You covered with this strength, but I am able to get closer and closer to that Fire. I may even one day be in the center of that Flame. The opportunity to be one with You is mine by the power of Your Spirit and the Blood of Jesus. I have only to trust Your Wisdom, accomplish Your Will and love with Your Love. The trials You send me, the dryness in my soul, provide more and more Living Water to saturate my soul so it may one day look at You, my Lord and God and say "Abba, Father."

My life is like a jar filled with sand. Some of the sand is clean, some darkened by the wind of sufferings, some has become chunky and hard from disappointments. The Father looks down on me with compassion. He doesn't take out large scoops of sand at one time. He knows it would be more than I could endure. He permits me to cooperate with Him so the sand and debris slowly disappear and I hardly feel the loss. He begins by pouring Living Water into my jar—He adds before He takes away. That Water stirs up my soul—I begin to see the dirty sand, the debris and garbage. Then suddenly it settles and there is less sand and more clean water. Time passes and something happens-a decision to make, an opportunity to be like Jesus. Once again it settles with more Water and less sand. I begin to realize the value of self-knowledge, of trials and sufferings. My heart desires more of that Living Water, my little jar begins to expand and contract in its effort to obtain more of God. Suddenly, little cracks appear, tiny holes through which the sand begins to flow freely. Dryness of soul increases my thirst for the Living Water. Then begins the process of losing and gaining, of dying and living, of thirsting and being filled. I begin to seek opportunities to be like Jesus. I poke holes in my jar so more sand can leave and more of Him fill my jar. Slowly, sometimes painfully, I make right decisions—I choose Him over myself—I choose His Will over mine—I love when it is hard to love—believe when all is darkness—hope when all seems lost. A beautiful process begins. The Living Water over-flows and passes through all the little holes in my jar. It slakes the thirst of my neighbor, who doesn't know his jar too is full of sand—he too needs Living Water. I can trust my day, my life to God—He does know best—His Wisdom is beyond my understanding.

Where are You, Oh God? My soul cries out to you and I hear my voice resound like an echo in a deep cavern. All around me is darkness and I cannot see Your Face or hear Your Voice. There is no star in the night, no glimmer of light. I walk on, one step at a time, hoping my hand will somehow brush against Yours and I will know all is well. Each step brings new anguish and new disappointments. I would not mind the darkness if I knew You were there but then would it be darkness? Would not that realization be like a sudden burst of sunshine? Faith tells me You live in me—a hidden Presence in the depths of my soul—a Presence in the darkness of my anguish—a Presence guiding my steps—a Power in my weakness Light hiding Itself until I grow strong enough to live in Light forever—truly. Truly, we walk together until one day Light will draw light from the darkness.

My constant companion today is pain throbbing, gnawing, constant pain. It's presence seems to push out every thought of You, my Jesus. Your Presence vies with suffering for my attention. The two are not compatible at this moment. And yet, is it so? Is it pain or self-pity that distracts me from You? Pain is a strong feeling and Your Presence is a faith experience—dry, searching. If you gave me great consolation with my pain, one good feeling would have to overpower a painful feeling. That would be a kind of spiritual pain reliever. Like aspirin, it would last a short time and once more the battle for dominance would rage. Is there a light You wish to give me, my Lord? Is there a point I am missing? Have I not missed the forest for the trees? Yes, instead of seeing us together, my Jesus, I have seen us apart—You, way up there somewhere and poor me down here looking up for help and relief. What I have failed to realize is that You have already given me relief through medicine and doctors and the pain that remains is also You really You. You are not only In the pain—You suffer that pain with me. You do not permit suffering in my life and then stand back and observe my reaction. No, You suffer every throb with me for You told us that when we are sick and someone visits us, comforts us, eases our discomfort, they are giving that loving care to You! I do not need to seek You outside my suffering. I do not need to explain each pain. You feel it with me—we are united—my pain is Yours and Your pain is mine. I am healed as I feel each throb; I am transformed as I accept each new opportunity; I am more powerful as I am more aware of my weakness. My eyes, slowly turn towards Yours and we catch each other's tears in the cup of the Father's Will. The Love in Your Heart touches mine and new strength surges through me as together we give ourselves—for the salvation of souls. "I make up in my body what is wanting in the sufferings of Christ." (Col. 1:24) Your Presence is so close I do not see it—Your pain so entwined with mine, I do not distinguish it from my feelings. You are so close I almost miss You completely. No wonder, I seek and do not find. How can one seek one who is not missing, look for one already present, cry out to one who knows his very thoughts? Yes, my pain is only half a share—a small portion. You bear it too. It suddenly seems so little.

My Lord, show me Your Will. My faith wavers at times because Your Providence in my life unfolds itself only in minute ways. Like the pieces of a giant mosaic, I see only a small piece at a time. I cannot see or understand the place of each piece or how it adds to the beauty of the whole. Every piece, by itself, appears so insignificant and its beauty of little account. I must trust that this cross, pain, misunderstanding and humiliation are all part of the mosaic that portrays my life and its ascent to You. I place myself and those I may have unconsciously offended, in Your Heart. I ask that You comfort them and enlighten them. Give them peace and understanding and let Your will be done in their lives as well as mine.

Lord, Father, give me the grace to understand how my soul is made to Your image. A Voice spoke a Word and the power of that Voice in the Word created the universe. You, Lord Father, are the Voice; the Word You forever speak is Jesus and the power is the Spirit. Let my thoughts be expressed by Your Word and let the power of Your Spirit touch all hearts that hear that Word. Human words merely convey knowledge or messages, but when my thoughts are compassionate and merciful, the words that express those thoughts are humble and kind. There is great power in these fruits of the Spirit. Let me step aside and permit Him to express Jesus through me in the present moment. Let Your Trinitarian life be manifest in my soul by my love for my neighbor and my union with Your Will.

The trials and anxieties of daily life are like a cloud that makes my walk with You hard and uncertain. My horizon seems only as far as my own footprints. Questions and doubts swirl around my thoughts and make clear decisions difficult. Then it is I realize that somehow I have permitted myself, people and things to so possess my thoughts that all is a maze of confusion. I have looked "down" and "at" instead of "up" and "to" You. My soul is brought to order only by the remembrance of Your awesome, silent Presence—a Presence that brings to light the pettiness of things that disturb me. The deep reality of Your Presence in the present moment and in my soul dispels my anxieties and doubts. Grant that I may ever keep my eyes on You and find my hope in the accomplishment of Your Holy Will.

Oh, God, Your power is so manifest in a storm and Your beauty in a sunrise, and yet I do not see Your Power at work in the storms of my life or Your Goodness in the joys that follow. It seems it is always easier to see Your hand in the lives of others, or in nature. My faith is weak Lord, increase my faith. Let Your Divine Presence in the events of the present moment be as visible to me as the storm or sunrise. Let Your Wisdom come to mind when I do not understand the reasoning or lack of reasoning in the trials of life. Injustice leads to resentment, Persecution leads to anger; lack of compassion for myself leads to guilt—all these things buffet my soul when I lose sight of You, Oh God. Lead me by the hand, guide my steps, inspire my heart to see You in all things.

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