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One Day at a Time – Fr. Jacques Philippe

From The Way of Trust and Love: A Retreat Guided by St. Therese of Lisieux, Fr. Jacques Philippe

One day at a time. This is very important. Very often we exhaust ourselves going over the past again and again and also our fears about the future.

But when we live in the present moment, we mysteriously find strength. We have the grace to live through what we encounter today.

If tomorrow we must face more difficult situations, God will increase his grace. God’s grace is given at the right time for it, day by day.

Sometimes we would like to lay in reserves, to stockpile strength for ourselves. But that isn’t possible.

Think of the image of the manna that fed the Israelites in the desert: if you tried to store it up, it spoiled.  God gave it daily, in the measure needed, neither more nor less; and what’s more, it tasted like whatever each person liked best.

When we say the Our Father, we don’t ask for large reserves (what would we do with them?), but simply the bread for today. And God gives it to us. We ought never to be anxious.

A Dominican priest once said to me, “What tires me out is not the work I do, it’s the work I don’t manage to do!” Often it’s worrying that wears us out.

By contrast, when we live in the present moment, in abandonment and trust in our Lord, we are given strength that enables us to live day by day, beginning again each morning.

Forgetting the distance already traveled, as St. Paul says, today we choose anew to believe, we choose to hope, we choose to love. And tomorrow we’ll begin again, without getting upset.

The spiritual life consists of that. Living in the present moment means accepting the poverty in us: not insisting on going over and over the past or taking control of the future, but contenting ourselves with today. But this is very liberating.

God does not dole out grace by a sort of profit-and-loss accounting of my past based on my good and bad actions. He gives me grace according to my faith today: “Be it done for you as you have believed!” The past doesn’t matter.

If today I make the decision to believe, to hope, and to love, I can be certain of having all God’s love to rely on. That is what happened to the good thief: “Today you will be with me in Paradise!”

“We often live with this illusion. With the impression that all would go better, we would like the things around us to change, that the circumstances would change. But this is often an error. It is not the exterior circumstances that must change; it is above all our hearts that must change.” -Fr. Jacques Philippe, Searching For and Maintaining Peace, (afflink)

A beautiful book to help you on your path to a peaceful and Godly Catholic life!  (afflink) Available here:

“We live in an age characterized by agitation and lack of peace. This tendency manifests itself in our spiritual as well as our secular life. In our search for God and holiness, in our service to our neighbor, a kind of restlessness and anxiety take the place of the confidence and peace which ought to be ours. What must we do to overcome the moments of fear and distress which assail us? How can we learn to place all our confidence in God and abandon ourselves into his loving care? This is what is taught in this simple, yet profound little treatise on peace of head. Taking concrete examples from our everyday life, the author invites us to respond in a Gospel fashion to the upsetting situations we must all confront. Since peace of heart is a pure gift of God, it is something we should seek, pursue and ask him for without cease. This book is here to help us in that pursuit.”

Do you need some other good reading suggestions? Visit My Book List here.






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