Why I Love St. Gianna’s Advice to ‘Live Holy the Present Moment’

Saintly advice for focusing on being truly present, and holy, each moment.

St. Gianna, living holy the present moment, with two of her children.
St. Gianna, living holy the present moment, with two of her children. (photo: Courtesy of Gianna Emanuela Molla, daughter of St. Gianna)

“As to the past, let us entrust it to God’s mercy, the future to divine Providence. Our task is to live holy the present moment.” ~St. Gianna Molla


As I shared last year, I love this quote — and it’s perfect to reflect upon for St. Gianna’s April 28 feast day.

It’s wonderful saintly advice. But in today’s fast-paced world, focusing on being truly present, let alone holy, each moment can be a challenge. But St. Gianna strove to balance faith, family and work responsibilities, too, as a Catholic wife, mother and pediatrician. She was also active in the Church and enjoyed hobbies like skiing.

So, in honor of St. Gianna, here are five ways we can strive to follow her advice in daily life.

1. Consider what God is asking of you right now. St. Gianna also said, “Whatever God wants.” So decide what he is asking of you at present, whether that’s finishing a work project, helping a family member or friend or taking time for prayer amid errands or spending time with Jesus at Mass or adoration.

2. Disconnect from devices. Take a break from your smartphone or tablet to be connected to others and the world offline. Media use has its place, including for sharing the faith, but true communication takes place offline: “If our hearts and actions are inspired by charity, by divine love, then our communication will be touched by God’s own power,” as Pope Francis has noted.

3. Cook. I love to cook (and bake). Cooking is a way to holiness because it’s a way to create something good for family and friends. As St. Teresa of Avila is said to have said, “God walks among the pots and pans.” I think St. Gianna would agree.

4. Reconnect with family. Make meaningful time for conversation and togetherness on a daily basis. We should never be too busy for family, what St. John Paul II so often referred to as the “domestic church.”

5. Unschedule. Take time (15 minutes, an hour, a day or two, or even a day off) to do what you love, without a to-do list in sight: Read that new Catholic book you’ve been meaning to read or re-read Jane Austen for the billionth time. Savor a good cup of coffee. Enjoy a lovely sunset or a cheery bouquet — happiness in bloom, created by God — all without rushing. God gives us little blessings each day. Enjoy them! Doing so will leave you refreshed and more aware of God’s work in your life, as today’s readings remind us — like the little boy, we can offer the little we have so that Christ can work miracles, big or small.

Here’s to living the moment in a holy way! St. Gianna, pray for us!