One day at a time
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