The Distractions of Life Are Like Shadows on a Wall

The Holiness of the Here and Now – Part 82

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.”

–Luke 1:35 (ESV)

The duties of the moment are shadows, like the shadows we are familiar with in the physical world. What does a shadow do? It spreads itself over some object, making it harder to see. It acts as a kind of veil over the things of this world. And so it is with the shadows of the moral and supernatural order. Under their darkness they conceal the truth of the divine will, which alone deserves our attention.

–Jean Pierre de Caussade

Your daily responsibilities are like shadows covering something much more important, threatening to conceal it completely if you do not pay attention. That more important thing is what Jean Pierre de Caussade calls “the truth of the divine will.” Your duties, as well as the accidents of life, fall upon it like shadows on a wall, one after another, demanding your attention. Meanwhile, the wall remains, unchanging, always in danger of being forgotten.

Jean Pierre de Caussade compared such daily shadows to the power of the Most High that once overshadowed Mary. How could he do that? Because for Mary, it was just another opportunity to submit to the will of God. Mary’s focus was not on the shadow but on the wall, not on the glorious experience but on the God who was pleased to choose her for it.

Let Mary’s goal be your goal: simple satisfaction with the will of God, however it manifests itself, in things pleasant or painful, glorious or mundane. You can live in this state of contentment, but to get there you need to focus. The shadows of life will always be there, ready to distract you.


The Holiness of the Here and Now is a daily devotional that I am currently working on. When I am finished, there will be 365 chapters like the one above. Meanwhile, I am sharing this work-in-progress. Like the Facebook page to see content like this in your feed.

Daily Guidance and Encouragement for Living in the Presence of God
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