Monday, March 17, 2008

8. Live a day, even a part of a day, at a time.

Good evening! Apologies for posting so late . . .

We are again author-less today, so I thought I would post a wonderful excerpt from one of Tolstoy's short stories, which I've always loved, but is especially meaningful ever since Bishop Kallistos Ware referred to it in a homily he gave.

"Remember that there is only one important time and that is Now. The present moment is the only time over which we have dominion. The most important person is always the person with whom you are, who is right before you, for who knows if you will have dealings with any other person in the future. The most important pursuit is making that person, the one standing at you side, happy, for that alone is the pursuit of life."

It's said so often that it sounds meaningless, but try to see it in a new light: every day is a gift, and even every part of every day, as this Maxim reminds us. Or, as Christ said: "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself."

Today the church commemorates St. Patrick, whose wonderful Breastplate Prayer speaks also of the importance of re-dedicating yourself to Christ with each new breath. A blessed feast to you all!

1 comment:

jocelyn said...

I love the excerpt that you shared, Emily. I think that this is the maxim that I have to force myself to live by. It's such a struggle. I spend most of my day in anxiety about preparations for the Next Thing. The more I try to prepare or do things to control the outcome of a situation, the less I pay attention to the passage of time, or whether or not I'm actually spending time on anything that's worthwhile.

But this maxim has been my lifeblood for dealing with the sleep-deprived days of early motherhood. Sometimes it's an achievement if I can make it to noon with my head screwed on straight.

The Forty Maxims

  • 1. Be always with Christ and trust God in everything.
  • 2. Pray, fast and do acts of mercy.
  • 3. Read the Scriptures regularly.
  • 4. Read good books, a little at a time.
  • 5. Practice silence, inner and outer.
  • 6. Cultivate communion with the saints.
  • 7. Be an ordinary person, one of the human race.
  • 8. Live a day, even a part of a day, at a time.
  • 9. Be honest, first of all with yourself.
  • 10. Be faithful in little things.
  • 11. Do your work, then forget it.
  • 12. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
  • 13. Face reality.
  • 14. Be grateful.
  • 15. Be cheerful.
  • 16. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
  • 17. Never bring unnecessary attention to yourself.
  • 18. Listen when people talk to you.
  • 19. Be awake and attentive, fully present where you are.
  • 20. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
  • 21. Speak simply, clearly, firmly, directly.
  • 22. Flee imagination, fantasy, analysis.
  • 23. Flee carnal things at their first appearance.
  • 24. Don’t complain, grumble, murmur or whine.
  • 25. Don’t seek or expect pity or praise.
  • 26. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
  • 27. Don’t judge anyone for anything.
  • 28. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
  • 29. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
  • 30. Be defined and bound by God, not people.
  • 31. Accept criticism gracefully and test it carefully.
  • 32. Give advice only when asked or when it is your duty.
  • 33. Be strict with yourself.
  • 34. Be merciful with yourself and others.
  • 35. Do nothing for people that they can do for themselves.
  • 36. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
  • 37. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
  • 38. Endure the trial of yourself and your faults serenely, under God’s mercy.
  • 39. When you fall, get up immediately and start over.
  • 40. Get help when you need it, without fear or shame.