One day at a time

Malta Independent - - LETTERS -

In re­cent days I have had the joy of coming across a pop­u­lar coun­try-and-west­ern-style Chris­tian song, com­posed by Mar­i­john Wilkin and Kris Kristof­fer­son, en­ti­tled One Day at a Time. This great song, which has been recorded by over 200 artists, has made it to the top of the charts in var­i­ous places.

I won­der why? But, be­fore an­swer­ing this ap­pro­pri­ate ques­tion, I want to dig a bit deeper into its in­spir­ing lyrics.

“I’m only hu­man, I’m just a man. Help me to be­lieve in what I could be and all that I am. Show me the stair­way that I have to climb. Lord, for my sake teach me to take one day at a time. One day at a time, sweet Je­sus, that’s all I’m ask­ing from you. Give me the strength to do ev­ery day what I have to do. Yes­ter­day’s gone, sweet Je­sus, and to­mor­row may never be mine. So for my sake teach me to take one day at a time. Do you re­mem­ber when you walked among men? Well Je­sus, you know if you’re look­ing be­low it’s worse now than then.

Push­ing and shov­ing and crowd­ing my mind. So for my sake teach me to take one day at a time.

In this in­cred­i­bly stress­ful world we are liv­ing in, rush­ing from one thing to another in sheer mad­ness, with­out even the slight­est chance of en­joy­ing life al­to­gether, the sim­ple words of this song come to my heart as big, ac­tual and en­dur­ing con­so­la­tion. In fact, I am re­al­is­ing that some phrases of the phrases ad­dressed to Je­sus in this un­for­get­table song I need to re­mem­ber again and again. For ex­am­ple: “Help me to be­lieve, show me the stair­way, teach me to take one day at a time”.

When I feel weighed down by stress, I am im­me­di­ately re­minded by the Holy Spirit of that most com­fort­ing verse of Je­sus, as found in John’s Gospel: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27). In his com­men­tary on this il­lu­mi­nat­ing verse, the Pon­tif­i­cal House­hold preacher Ca­puchin Fa­ther Raniero Can­ta­lamessa says: “[Je­sus] speaks of another peace, an in­te­rior peace of the heart, of the per­son with him­self and with God. This much is clear from what Je­sus im­me­di­ately adds in this pas­sage from John: ‘Do not let your hearts be trou­bled, nei­ther let them be afraid.’ This is the most fun­da­men­tal peace. With­out this peace, no other peace can ex­ist. A bil­lion drops of dirty wa­ter do not make a clean ocean and a bil­lion trou­bled hearts do not make up a hu­man race at peace.”

Fur­ther on in his com­men­tary, Fa­ther Can­ta­lamessa makes a very im­por­tant as­ser­tion: “This tells us that the peace of heart that we all de­sire can never be to­tally and sta­bly pos­sessed with­out God, out­side of him. In the Divine Com­edy, Dante Alighieri syn­the­sised all of this in that verse that many con­sider the most beau­ti­ful in this work: ‘In his will is our peace.’

Now I re­alise why Je­sus, Mary and the saints made and are still mak­ing such a tremen­dous hit in our con­fused world: they all lived what we pray in the Our Fa­ther: “Thy will be done on earth as in heaven”. They were the ones who united their wills with that of the Fa­ther. Je­sus’ para­mount ex­am­ple speaks vol­umes! He said, by his life, pas­sion, death and res­ur­rec­tion: “I and the Fa­ther are one” (John 10:30). Thus, what mat­tered for Je­sus was to do his Fa­ther’s will! As He said in John 4: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to ac­com­plish his work” (John 4:34).

I en­cour­age you to re­flect with me on the words of the song One Day at a Time: per­haps you can also share it with your Face­book friends or Whatz up or Viber con­tacts.

Fa­ther, help me un­der­stand that I do not have my own will but your will who lives and acts in and through me. Help me re­alise that if I accept your will my mind will fi­nally be at peace, once and for all, for you alone are my ev­er­last­ing peace. Amen.

Fr Mario At­tard OFM Cap

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