From Br. Joseph —
There is a moment in each day that Satan cannot find. (William Blake)
I saw this quote the other day. My mind searched for a specific time or moment to label as “Satan free.” Was it in those precious few moments just after waking before the thoughts of the day rush in? Could it be the moment just before falling asleep? How about the time in prayer? When is this moment in the day that Satan cannot be found?
Maybe the answer is so obvious that it is overlooked all the time. Maybe the answer is now. Now, the present moment, is the moment Satan cannot find.
Many of the saints and mystics say that God can only be found in the present moment, in the now. The past is done and over, and the future is not yet. We exist now, the only time when we are truly free. Being is now, present tense, and God is being. God is eternally present to every when. Therefore, if God is now, Satan cannot be.
But that cannot be completely correct. Although we only make our choices in the present moment, there are times when we listen to the devil’s advice and choose to sin. Does that mean God is now and Satan is too? Does that mean there are no “Satan free” moments and the quote is wrong?
No, the saints are right, God is now and Satan is not. Satan must work outside of the present moment, and he does it by distracting us. He distracts us from living in the present moment, the only true reality, by tantalizing us with an illusion that appears better—the past and the future.
How often are we truly present to the now? How often are our minds somewhere else? Either we are planning, scheming, seeking, fantasizing, or rehearsing for some future that may or may not arrive, or we are mulling over memories of past glories or hurts? A thousand what-if’s from the past and toward the future pass before our minds each day and nearly none of them become reality. We carry around the memories and pain of old wrongs like heavy, old suitcases as if we would have nothing to our name if we left them behind. We are everywhere but here in the now.
And if we think a little more about it, does not most of our sins occur in the present moment in reaction to the past or from schemes set for the near future?
We let Satan steal our presence to the present moment. We buy into his illusion of trying to live in the past or the future in exchange for reality. We distract ourselves from the now and cheat ourselves out God’s gift to us, the present moment. (Maybe that is why “present” also means “gift”?)
Our Lady of Mercy, pray for us…