IV. Practicing the Holy Instant, P 4
4 Would you learn how perfect and immaculate is the holy altar on which your Father has placed Himself? This you will recognize in the holy instant, in which you willingly and gladly give over every plan but His. For there lies peace, perfectly clear because you have been willing to meet its conditions. You can claim the holy instant any time and anywhere you want it. In your practice, try to give over every plan you have accepted for finding magnitude in littleness. It is not there. Use the holy instant only to recognize that you alone cannot know where it is, and can only deceive yourself.
Over and over, Jesus is emphasizing the importance of letting go of our plans for finding magnitude in littleness. God has a plan that works and we can know His plan and live His plan if we let go of our own plan. This time of the year with the holidays upon us, we have a perfect opportunity to notice if we are looking for salvation in our own plan or if we are allowing God to lead us to peace.
I measure my level of surrender by whether or not I am feeling some degree of frantic. This year has been pretty calm for me. I used to make the biggest deal out of Thanksgiving and Christmas. We used to have a big party at our house for New Years. All of that effort, not just the doing of it, but the anxiety in trying to do it perfectly, was beyond stressful.
For one thing, I used these holiday occasions to get something from family and friends and giving to get always takes me out of peace. I wanted to cook the perfect meal at Thanksgiving and buy the perfect gifts at Christmas. I wanted my family to prove their love for me by being there and participating and making me feel special. Of course, I didn’t think of it that way, but clearly, that was my intent.
It put so much pressure on me to do everything perfectly so that I gave enough to get what I needed from them, reassurance that I was OK and that I was loved. Now that I don’t need anything from them the holidays are a different experience. Thanksgiving was a perfect experience of working together to create a meal we enjoyed together. No stress and worry because there was no neediness involved, just love and togetherness.
This year I bought gifts and wrapped them and even sent out a few Christmas cards but there was no stress involved. Getting this right is not my salvation. I have had a few thoughts about whether or not I got a satisfactory gift for this one or that one, but I also noticed the constriction around those thoughts and I chose again.
I did or I didn’t choose the best gift, but I know for sure that I chose the right plan when I let mine go and went with God’s plan. I’m pretty sure He just wants me to go with love. So I bought my gifts with love, I give my gifts with love and I accept my gifts with love, understanding that these objects given from the heart are just symbols of the love I have for these family members.
As a result, I bought and wrapped gifts in peace and joy this year. Even the thought that I spent more money than I intended is just a passing thought. I may not yet be following God’s plan exclusively, but I can tell by the level of peace and happiness I am experiencing that I am learning to make that choice now. I am learning that I want His plan and not my own. This moment that I am in, the only moment there is, is a holy moment in which I feel Love’s Presence. Surely, this is a holy instant.