February 23, 2024

Faith and Family / Sean Gallagher

Each day is filled with ‘now’ moments in holiness

Sean GallagherSt. Paul was often adamant in his writings to the Christians in Corinth.

It’s not surprising. Read both of the Apostle’s letters to the Corinthians and you soon see that the Church in that ancient Greek city was his problem child.

But Paul’s insistent attitude toward the Corinthians especially comes to the fore in the second reading of Mass on Ash Wednesday. Paul seems to have real fears for their salvation.

“We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:20, emphasis added). “ … We appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain” (2 Cor 6:1, emphasis added).

When you implore a person whose salvation is in question, there’s going to be some immediacy in your words. You’re going to want them to do something right now.

And that’s what Paul does in this reading after quoting the prophet Isaiah, who himself spoke in the name of God:

“ ‘In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2, emphasis added).

The Christians in Corinth gave their spiritual father many headaches and sleepless nights.

That’s the experience of many parents in Paul’s time and in our own.

In all of the many words and actions of our children from day to day, we parents can see their arrow rising or falling. And some days, it can be quite the roller coaster ride.

Through it all, we try with the help of God’s grace to lead them to grow little by little, inch by inch, in virtue and holiness in their own unique personality.

Each moment of each day is an opportunity for them to take another step in that growth. It’s another “now” moment for both children and their parents.

Because as we parents seek to guide our children closer to God and the people he created them to be, we continue on our own journey to fulfilling God’s call in our lives. The moments we share with our children are as much “now” moments for us as for our young ones.

None of us are finished products until we step into eternity.

But we should always remember that eternity can just be one “now” moment away. Don’t presume that we have lots of time in front of us to grow in holiness and virtue.

That’s why each “now” moment is important for both parents and their children. God’s grace is always there for us to be the people in each moment that he’s created us to be.

Except that we so often don’t take that chance and instead waste our now moments in following our own whims and fancies—at least I know I do.

Thanks be to God, though, now is also the day of God’s mercy.

This Lent, experience God’s mercy in the sacrament of penance for the ways you’ve wasted your now moments. Then take advantage of the next “now” moment to share that mercy with those around you, especially in your family home.

Being aware of God’s mercy can give both parents and children encouragement and hope. Each moment he gives us is a mercy, another “now” moment to grow a little bit more in holiness with the help of his ever-present grace.

Now indeed is the day of salvation. †

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