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Sep 09, 2021 505 Ellen Hogarty, USA
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Do It Right Now!

Is there a hidden danger in dreaming BIG? Not unless we miss the silent, subtle, and heroic duty of the present moment

Often God’s will for us can be disguised by its very ordinary nature. This truth dawned on me again a few weeks ago.

I became the primary caregiver for my elderly mother after she moved in with me last year when it became clear that she was unable to live on her own any longer. She is fragile, not only physically, but emotionally as well. Any change in her routine can throw her into an emotional tailspin.

To come and live with me, she had to move to a different state, so it took weeks before she finally settled in and felt at home. Some months later, circumstances dictated that we move to a different house. I dreaded telling her this news, knowing that it would cause her anxiety and distress to be uprooted again. I put off telling her for as long as I could, but eventually had to let her know.

Not unexpectedly, it threw her for a loop. She was weepy, fearful and anxious. I tried the usual tactics to distract her and raise her spirits, but nothing worked. A few days before the actual move, I took her to see the new house. She liked it, but still felt disconcerted and upset about the change.

When we returned home from seeing the new place, I sensed that she needed me to spend time with her for the rest of the day. She loves to watch TV, but we have different tastes in movies, so I usually turn one on and then leave her to watch it alone. But this time I deliberately sat down beside her to watch, knowing that this would comfort her in the midst of her feeling of upheaval.

Sure enough, although I found the movie trite and uninteresting, I knew my physical proximity was reassuring to her. There were many other things I needed to do and would rather have done, but I also knew in my heart that sitting with my mom at this moment was the will of God for me. So, I tried to embrace it wholeheartedly, offering it to the Lord in prayer. I prayed for those who were struggling to find God’s will for their lives; for those who felt lonely or abandoned; for those who didn’t know God’s love yet; for the great suffering of so many in our world. Instead of getting impatient and antsy as the movie played on, I was calm and peaceful, knowing I was in the heart of God’s will for me in that moment.

Reflecting on this later, I realized, yet again, that much of God’s will for us takes the shape of very ordinary, mundane tasks. Servant of God Catherine Doherty, the foundress of Madonna House, called it the “duty of the moment.” She said, “All through my childhood and early youth I was instilled with the fact that the duty of the moment was the duty of God…Later, I still believed that the duty of the moment was the duty God gave me. God speaks to us, then, in the duty of every moment. As this duty of the moment is the will of the Father, we must give our whole self to that. When we do so, we can be certain that we are living in the truth, and hence in love, and hence in Christ…” (“Grace in Every Season” by Madonna House Publications, 2001).

My mom was comforted and reassured that day as I set aside my busy to-do list and did something she enjoyed. I felt, too, that the Lord was pleased with my little offering.

As you face your day and the tasks that lie ahead, even if they seem boring or repetitive, make the decision to unite your heart to God and offer it as a prayer for someone who is in need that day. Then get on with what you are called to do at that moment, knowing that God can take our ordinary tasks of each day and turn them into extraordinary sources of grace and transformation for the world.

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Ellen Hogarty

Ellen Hogarty is a spiritual director, writer and full-time missionary with the Lord’s Ranch Community in New Mexico. She blogs at cacklescorner.com.

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