What is Worthwhile Now?
St. Francis de Sales, when a student at the University of Paris, suffered long and cruelly from a horrible thought, that he was sure to be damned. At length he flung the temptation from him and conquered it quite, in this way.
He said manfully: “Well, if I am not to see and love God for eternity, at least I will love him with all my heart this hour while I may.”
It is worth while now for me, – now while the brief occasion lasts – to overcome one temptation, to do one small kindness, to improve my mind by one half hour of study, to wait in patience when there is nothing else to be done, to bear a headache, or sleeplessness, or some small pain.
Life cannot be filled with great deeds, nor deeds of manifest profit and advantage to oneself and mankind.
There must be margins and leavings in the web of human existence: there must be pieces over, the use of which is not apparent; and these leavings, as they seem void of good, are readily turned to evil use.
We shall find, if we think, that many of our sins are committed in these loose and unoccupied times; whereas our hours of active and successful work, or keen sport and play, are usually innocent.
The author of the “Imitation of Christ” has a chapter “that we must apply ourselves to humble works when we are not up to our best.”
We must be content at certain times to do anything that is innocent and lawful; and console ourselves with the reflection that all lawful works are works of grace in him who is in the state of grace.
On the other hand, I must be jealous of the hours in which my faculties are bright and available for work. Even in my worldly interest I must be jealous of them.
Those are precious hours.