Volume > Issue > Finding God’s Will in Each Moment

Finding God’s Will in Each Moment

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #55

By David D. Jividen | June 2022
David D. Jividen, an Air Force veteran and perpetually professed member of the Fraternity of St. Dominic (a.k.a. Third Order), has a Master’s in Moral Theology from Christendom College. He also has a Master’s in Law from Harvard and a Doctorate of Law from the University of Cincinnati. A career military judge advocate, he served more than 20 years of active duty in a variety of legal positions, the last of which was as an attorney on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mr. Jividen has written on a wide variety of topics, including an article for the Encyclopedia of the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars on the “Role of the Vatican,” as well as numerous legal articles. He currently works as an attorney for the federal government. The views and opinions expressed or implied in this article are those solely of the author and should not be construed as those of the Departments of Justice or Defense, any other agency or department of the U.S. government, or the Dominican Order.

The Sacrament of the Present Moment.
By Jean-Pierre de Caussade.

A good literary antidote for the anxiety provoked by current political and religious upheaval is The Sacrament of the Present Moment by the French Jesuit priest Jean-Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751). At first glance, the title of this slender work may puzzle the would-be reader who is aware that the Church has seven sacraments. To what “present moment” sacrament is Fr. Caussade referring? Whether it is this enigma, or an inspiration of grace, that leads one to read the book, by the time the last page is turned, the title makes sense. Its entire spiritual lesson is encapsulated in one simple phrase: “All that matters is what the will of God ordains each moment.”

The Sacrament of the Present Moment is a preservation of talks Fr. Caussade gave to the Visita­tion Nuns at Nancy, France, between 1729 and 1739. He did not intend these talks for a general audience. The religious sisters nevertheless memorialized these conferences, which included moments of prayer spontaneously interspersed throughout the talks, all of which were first published in book form in 1861 under the title Abandonment to Divine Providence.

Just as his message left an indelible impression on these 18th-century French nuns, Fr. Caussade’s message resonates today, especially among those who seek to do God’s will but acutely feel an absence of His presence in their lives. Caussade’s premise is that, just as Our Lady’s answer to the Angel Gabriel “summed up the whole mystical teaching of her ancestors,” so too should our lives reflect “Thy will be done.” Like Mary, “who looked upon everything that she was called upon to do or suffer each moment as a gift of God, who always fills with blessings a heart that is nourished neither by the world nor by fantasy, but by him alone,” we should also recognize each moment as “nothing less than God fulfilling his mighty purpose.” With this realization, our perspective on the ordinary becomes super-ordinary and sacramental, allowing us to see how “divine action cleanses the universe, pervading and flowing over all creatures. Wherever they are it pursues them. It precedes them, accompanies them, follows them. We only have to allow ourselves to be borne along on its tide.”

Enjoyed reading this?

READ MORE! REGISTER TODAY

SUBSCRIBE

You May Also Enjoy

A Rare Novel of Worth

Although Murdoch’s characters have banished God, they have yet to rid themselves of sin, guilt, and evil; God is dead but Satan thrives.

When No Man Was His Own

The Tempest. By William Shakespeare.

The year 2016 is, as British Prime Minister David Cameron…

The Virtue of Anger & the Sin of Wrath

The sin of wrath belongs in the category of the seven capital vices, while righteous…