My Sanity Saver

by Patrick Stewart

The duty of the moment: This little phrase is one of the greatest sanity-savers and peace-giving gifts I’ve received from Madonna House.

Yes, “duty of the moment” is definitely a sanity saver. I still remember the first time I was assigned to work on a big woodpile. It looked like a mountain, and I was asked to chop and stack all that wood.

But the duty of the moment was not to get all this wood chopped and stacked in the sheds. The duty of the moment was to take one piece of wood and chop it. Stacking that piece of wood, chopping another piece—those jobs were the next duty of the moment and the next.

Each piece was my duty of the moment, piece by piece, not the whole pile. Looking at it that way, I stopped feeling overwhelmed.

“Duty of the moment” has “saved” me over and over. I was director of Marian Centre Edmonton for eight years. When a new staff worker was transferred to our house, it was not my duty to figure out what was going to happen with him in the next three years.

My duty was to welcome him when he arrived. Later my duty would be to show him where his bed was. Then I would, step by step, teach him his job and bring him into the family. One moment at a time. One step at a time. Duty of the moment. Sanity.

But the most important thing about the duty of the moment is this: the duty of the moment is where we meet Christ. He’s waiting for us in the duty of the moment, in his will for us.

Where am I supposed to be now? What am I supposed to be doing now? That’s where Christ is. That’s where he is waiting for me. Not in the chapel.

Of course, he’s in the chapel, but if I’m supposed to be chopping wood right now, he’s not in the chapel waiting for me. He’s at the woodpile. If I’m supposed to be cleaning the dorm, that’s where he is, waiting for me.

Where am I going to meet my Beloved? Wherever I am supposed to be. It’s so simple. And so wonderful.