The Challenge of the Moment

The corollary or counterpart to these precious reminders in life are the challenging moments in life.  Again, we would normally classify great difficulties, momentous decisions, life-or-death choices as the real challenging moments, the ones where we are on the line and must choose for God or against Him…and these are definitely moments with which to be reckoned.  But in their overwhelmingness, we tend to overlook, to discount, that each and every moment in our lives present a choice, to act on the blessing or acquiesce to the temptation.

Most of these are so trivial we tend to let them pass unnoticed; however, God doesn’t:

  • You sift through my travels and my rest; with all my ways you are familiar.  Even before a word is on my tongue, LORD, you know it all…Your eyes saw me unformed; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be. [Ps 139: 3,4,16][1]
  • What are human beings, that you make much of them, or pay them any heed? You observe them every morning and try them at every moment! [Job 7: 17-18]
  • Even all the hairs of your head are counted. [Mt 10:30]
  • I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak. [Mt 12:36]

Each moment is an opportunity to accept God’s will and His blessing or instead, follow my will and reject it. As with all training, the same reflexes, the same motor pattern, the same swing of the club, the same movement of the athlete which we develop and perfect through constant repetition is what enables us to rely instinctively on the same muscles to react the same way when the real challenge of competition is met.  This habit-forming paradigm carries over into our moral lives and our spiritual lives.  Here, again, it is wise for us not to fall into the trap of disassociating our bodies and our souls.  What works for one, works for the whole.  Thus, the choices we make in the “inconsequential” moments of our lives build our habits, our spiritual reflexes, our reliance on God when a major decision confronts us.

Thus, the vulnerability, the susceptibility to which so-called “venial sin” opens us.  The Psalmist pondered the same question: Though I tried to understand all this, it was too difficult for me, till I entered the sanctuary of God and came to understand their end. You set them, indeed, on a slippery road; you hurl them down to ruin. How suddenly they are devastated; utterly undone by disaster! [Ps 73: 16-19]

God, save me from making small mistakes, from thinking lies can be “white,” from thinking that “no one will miss it,” from thinking that “nobody gets hurt,” from thinking “they deserve what they get,” from thinking “God won’t mind,” from thinking “what difference does it make in the scheme of things.”  Help me to stick with “the narrow gate and small path that leads to life,” [Mt 7:14] even, and especiallly in the every day, mundane things.  Help me train my spiritual reflexes to react to Your voice, listen to Your Word, obey Your command, even in the momentary things of life, so that when You wish to lead me to the cross, I do not let myself be lead into temptation, but to You.  Amen.  Alleluia!!!

[1] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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