Living in the Present

Among the many means of performing our actions well, one is to do each of them as if it were to be the last of our lives. At every action, then, say to yourself: “If you knew that you were to die immediately after this action, would you do it? and would you do it in this way?” -St. Vincent de Paul

A certain priest was accustomed to go to confession every morning before saying Mass. Once, being dangerously ill, he was advised to make his confession in preparation for death. But he answered: “Blessed be God! I have made my confession in that way every day for the last thirty years, as if I were immediately to die; so I need do no more than make my ordinary confession, as if I were going to say Mass.”

Another good method is to consider only the present day. One of the arts which the devil employs to ruin souls, and to retard many in the service of God, is to represent to them that it is a very difficult and insupportable thing, to live for many years with so much exactness, circumspection, and regularity. Now, to consider to-day only, closes the path to this temptation, and, at the same time, lends much support to human weakness. For, who is there that cannot for one day make a strong effort to do all he can, that his actions may be well performed? Let one say to himself in the morning, “This day I mean to perform my ordinary actions well.” . . . By proceeding every day in this manner, little by little a good habit is formed, and no farther difficulty is experienced. -Rodriguez

Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).

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