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Living Day To Day
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The Crossroads at 23rd Street

 

"For, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." (Romans 1:22)

 

Errors can be corrected and trends reversed if only our faith and determination does not fail us in our earnest quest for the truth.

Living Day To Day:
The Priests of the Congregation of Saint Paul (1886)

"If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are for thy peace." - St. Luke 19:42

The fault of the Jews, my brethren, was twofold: boasting of the past and waiting for the future. It is especially on account of the latter fault that our Lord in this day's Gospel lays such stress on the words "and that in this thy day." It is a warning against trying to live in the future.

We all know, to be sure, that one may go to the other extreme, and by a form of sloth be too careless of the future. Some things there are which are certain to come upon us, and their coming must be provided for. There is a judgment to come, and every minute of today is like a bailiff busy gathering evidence for that Divine Court. Temptation is sure to come, and its strain upon our virtue must be foreseen in every prayer of every day. The common wants of life for one's self and family are inevitable in the future, and must be prudently provided against. In all such things we know that the future is an actual fact, and is just as present to God as this very instant is to us.

What our Lord would rebuke is not a prudent foresight, but that weak and idle state of mind which postpones to the future what should be done at once. This is the commonest of human delusions. In a temporal point of view it is condemned by the saying, "Procrastination is the thief of time," and it might be added of many other valuable commodities. In a spiritual point of view the dreadful result of delaying till tomorrow what should be done today is expressed by the saying, "Hell is paved with good intentions." Wise men resolve to do in the future only what they cannot do now. Many and many a poor soul has lost the kingdom of heaven for that one reason: resolving instead of doing.

Brethren, a practically-minded Christian lives his spiritual life from day to day. He knows that the future is something entirely in God s hands. As for himself, his actual ability to do good begins and ends with each passing hour. If he provides well for it as it comes and goes he has done his part; God will not fail to take care of the future. One's peace of mind is never secure till one has learned to be content with present duty well done. Oh! what a happiness when one's soul is unburdened of care for the future. Do you covet that happiness? It is yours if you leave nothing undone for the present. If you can honestly say, "That is all I can do for the present," you may add, "and the future also."

But, you say, what about a purpose of amendment? Does not that dwell specially on the future? Yes, it does; but it springs from a present sorrow. And if the sorrow be as heartfelt as it should be the purpose of amendment will take care of itself. A deep hatred of sin is the only true sorrow, and such a hatred must be enduring. The test of a contrite man is not what he promises but what he does. His sorrow unites the past and future in the present. Warned by his past weakness, he begins right here and just now by prayer and work to guard against a future relapse.

Learn a lesson, brethren, from our Lord's warning and from the fate of the Jews. It is better to say one's morning prayers today than to resolve to become a saint next week. Today is here, and next week is nowhere. This day is mine; I know not if I shall have so much as one other. God has the past and the future. I will thank him for the past, I will beg him for the future. As to the present, with God's help, I will set to work to do my utmost.

 

(Five-Minute Sermons: Low Masses: All Sundays of the Year - Volume II
The Priests of the Congregation of Saint Paul - 1886
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