Uniformity with God's Will
by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori
Excellence of Obedience to His Will
Perfection is founded Entirely-on the Love-of-God:
"Charity is the Bond of Perfection"; and Perfect Love of
God means the Complete Union-of our Will, with God's:
"The Principal Effect of Love is so to 'Unite' the Wills of those who Love each other, as to make them Will
the same things". It follows then, that the more one 'Unites' his Will with the
Divine Will, the Greater will be his Love-of-God.
Mortification, Meditation, Receiving
Holy Communion, Acts-of Fraternal Charity, are all certainly
Pleasing to God -- but only when they are in-accordance-with His
Will. When they do not Accord-with God's Will, He not
only finds no Pleasure in them, but He even
Rejects them Utterly, and Punishes them.
To Illustrate: -- A Man has Two (2) Servants. One works
unremittingly, all day long -- but according to his own devices; the Other, conceivably, works less, but he does do what he is told.
This latter of-course, is going to find Favor in the Eyes-of his Master; the other will not.
Now, in applying this Example, we may ask: Why should we Perform Actions-for God's Glory, if they
are not going to be Acceptable-to Him? God does
not want Sacrifices, the Prophet Samuel told King Saul, but
He does want Obedience-to His
Will: "Doth the Lord desire Holocausts and Victims, and not rather that the Voice of the Lord
should be Obeyed? For Obedience is better than Sacrifices; and to Hearken, rather than to Offer the Fat of Rams. Because it is like the
Sin-of-Witchcraft, to Rebel; and like the Crime-of-Idolatry, to Refuse to Obey". The Man who follows his own
Will, Independently-of God's, is
Guilty-of a kind-of Idolatry. Instead of Adoring God's
Will, he, in a certain sense, Adores his Own.
The Greatest Glory we can give-to God, is to do
His Will in everything. Our Redeemer came on-Earth to
Glorify His Heavenly Father, and to-Teach us by His Example, how
to do the same. Saint Paul represents Him saying-to His Eternal
Father: "Sacrifice and Oblation Thou wouldst not: But a Body Thou hast fitted to Me . . . Then
said I: Behold I come to do Thy Will, O God". Thou hast Refused the
Victims Offered Thee by Man; Thou
dost Will that I Sacrifice
My Body to Thee. Behold
Me, ready to do Thy Will.
Our Lord frequently declared that He had come-on Earth, not to
do His Own Will, but Solely that of His Father:
"I came down from Heaven, not to do My Own Will, but the Will of Him that sent Me".
He spoke-in the same-Strain in the Garden, when
He went-forth to-meet His Enemies, who had come to
Seize Him, and to-lead Him
to-Death: "But that the World may know that I Love the Father: and as the
Father hath given Me Commandment, so do I; Arise and let us go hence". Furthermore, He
said He would recognize as His Brother, him who would do
His Will: "Whosoever shall do the Will of My Father Who is in Heaven,
He is My Brother".
To do God's Will -- this was the Goal upon which the Saints constantly Fixed their Gaze. They were
Fully Persuaded that in-this, consists the Entire Perfection-of the Soul.
Blessed-Henry-Suso used to say: "It is not God's Will that we should Abound in Spiritual Delights,
but that in all things we should Submit to His Holy Will". "Those who give themselves to
Prayer", says Saint Teresa, "should concentrate solely on this: the Conformity-of
their Wills, with the Divine Will. They should be Convinced that this Constitutes their Highest Perfection. The more-Fully they Practice
this, the Greater the Gifts they will receive from God, and the Greater the Progress they will make in the Interior Life".
A certain Dominican Nun, was Vouchsafed a Vision-of Heaven one day. She recognized there some
Persons she had known during their Mortal Life on Earth. It was told her these Souls were raised-to
the Sublime-Heights-of-the-Seraphs, on account of the Uniformity-of their
Wills, with that of God's, during their Lifetime here on Earth. Blessed-Henry-Suso,
mentioned above, said of himself: "I would rather be the Vilest Worm on Earth by God's Will, than be
a Seraph by my own".
During our Sojourn in this World, we should learn-from the Saints, now in-Heaven, how to
Love God. The Pure and Perfect
Love of God they enjoy there, consists in Uniting themselves
Perfectly to His Will. It would be the Greatest Delight-of the
Seraphs to Pile-up Sand on the Seashore, or to Pull Weeds in a Garden for all Eternity
(∞), if they found-out such was God's Will.
Our Lord Himself Teaches us to ask to do the Will-of-God on Earth,
as the Saints do it in Heaven: "Thy Will be done on Earth, as it is in
Because David Fulfilled all His Wishes, God called him
a Man after His Own Heart: "I have found David . . . a Man according to
My Own Heart, who shall do all My Wills". David was always ready to-Embrace the Divine Will,
as he Frequently Protested: "My Heart is ready, O God, my Heart is ready".
He asked God for One Thing alone -- to Teach him to do His Will:
"Teach me to do Thy Will".
A Single (1) Act-of-Uniformity, with the Divine Will, Suffices
to make a Saint. Behold, while Saul was Persecuting the Church,
God Enlightened him and Converted him. What does Saul do?
What does he say? Nothing else but to-Offer himself to do God's Will: "Lord,
what wilt Thou have me to do"? In return, the Lord calls him a Vessel-of-Election, and
an Apostle-of the Gentiles: "This Man is to Me a Vessel of Election, to carry My Name before the
Gentiles". Absolutely true -- because he who gives his Will to-God,
gives Him Everything. He who gives his Goods in-Alms,
his Blood in-Scourgings, his Food in-Fasting, gives
God what he has. But he who gives God his Will,
gives Himself; gives Everything he is. Such a One can say: "Though I am Poor, Lord, I give Thee all
I Possess; but when I say I give Thee my Will, I have nothing left to give Thee". This is just what
God does Require-of us: "My son, give Me thy Heart". Saint Augustine's
comment is: "There is nothing more Pleasing we can offer God, than to say to Him: 'Possess Thyself of
us'". We cannot Offer God anything more Pleasing,
than to say: Take us, Lord, we give Thee our Entire
Will. Only let us know Thy Will, and we will carry it out.
If we would completely Rejoice the Heart of
God, let us Strive in all things to-Conform ourselves to His Divine Will. Let us not only
Strive to-Conform Ourselves, but also to Unite Ourselves to whatever
Dispositions God makes of us. Conformity signifies that we
Join our Wills to the Will-of-God.
Uniformity means more -- it means that we make One (1) Will,
of God's Will and Ours, so that we Will only what
God Wills; that God's Will alone, is Our Will.
This is the Summit-of-Perfection and to it we should always 'Aspire'; this should be the Goal of all our Works,
Desires, Meditations and Prayers. To this End we should always Invoke the
Aid-of our Holy Patrons, our Guardian Angels,
and above all, of our mother Mary, the Most Perfect of all the Saints, because
she Most Perfectly Embraced
the Divine Will.
Uniformity in all Things
The Essence-of Perfection, is to Embrace the
Will-of-God in all things, Prosperous or Adverse. In
Prosperity, even Sinners find it easy to
Unite themselves to the Divine Will; but it takes Saints to
Unite themselves to God's Will when things go-Wrong,
and are Painful to-Self-love. Our Conduct, in such Instances, is the
Measure-of our Love-of-God. Saint-John-of-Avila used to say: "One
'Blessed be God' in Times-of-Adversity, is worth more than a Thousand Acts-of-Gratitude, in Times-of-Prosperity".
Furthermore, we must Unite ourselves to God's Will not only in-things
that come-to us directly-from His Hands, such as Sickness,
Desolation, Poverty, Death-of
Relatives, but likewise in those we Suffer from Man -- for example,
Contempt, Injustice, Loss of Reputation,
Loss of Temporal Goods and all kinds of Persecution. On these
occasions we must remember that whilst God does not Will
the Sin, He does Will our
Humiliation, our Poverty, or our
Mortification, as the case may be. It is certain and of-Faith, that whatever happens,
happens-by the Will-of-God: "I am the Lord, forming the Light and
creating the Darkness, making Peace and creating Evil". From God come all things,
Good as-well-as Evil. We call
Adversities Evil; actually they are Good and
Meritorious, when we receive them as coming-from God's Hands:
"Shall there be Evil in a city which the Lord hath not done"? "Good
things and Evil, Life and Death, Poverty and Riches are from God".
It is True, when one Offends us
Unjustly, God does not Will his
Sin, nor does He Concur-in the
Sinner's Bad Will; but God does, in a General Way,
concur-in the Material Action by which Such a One Strikes us,
Robs us or does us an Injury, so that
God certainly Wills the Offense we
Suffer, and it comes to us from His Hands. Thus the
Lord told David, He would be the
Author-of those things he would Suffer, at the hands-of Absalom:
"I will raise up Evils against thee out of thy own House, and I will take thy wives before thy face, and give
them to thy Neighbor". Hence too, God told the Jews that in
Punishment-for their Sins, He would send the
Assyrians to-Plunder them, and Spread Destruction among them:
"The Assyrian is the Rod and Staff of My Anger . . . I will send him to take away the Spoils".
"Assyrian Wickedness served as God's Scourge for the Hebrews", is Saint Augustine's
comment-on this Text. And Our Lord Himself told Saint Peter that, His
Sacred Passion came not so much from-Man, as from-His Father:
"The Chalice which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it"?
When the Messenger came, to-announce to-Job that the Sabeans had Plundered his Goods,
and Slain his Children, he said: "The Lord Gave and the Lord Taketh
Away". He did not say: "The Lord hath given me my Children and my Possessions, and the
Sabeans have taken them away". He realized that Adversity had come upon him by the
Will-of-God. Therefore he added: "As it hath Pleased the Lord, so is
it done. Blessed be the Name of the Lord". We must not therefore consider the Afflictions
that come-upon us as Happening-by-Chance, or Solely-from the Malice of-Men; we should be Convinced that
what happens, happens-by the Will-of-God. Apropos of this, it is related that
Two (2) Martyrs, Epictetus and Atho, being put-to the
Torture by having their Bodies Raked-with Iron Hooks and Burnt-with Flaming Torches, kept
repeating: "Work Thy Will upon us, O Lord". Arrived at the Place-of
Execution, they exclaimed: "Eternal God, be Thou Blessed in that Thy Will has been entirely
Accomplished in us".
Cesarius points-up what we have been saying, by-offering this Incident in the Life-of a certain Monk: Externally, his
Religious Observance was the same-as that-of the other Monks, but he had attained such Sanctity,
that the mere Touch-of his Garments, Healed the Sick.
Marveling-at these Deeds, since his Life was no-more Exemplary, than the Lives-of the other Monks, the Superior asked him one day what was the
Cause-of these Miracles.
He Replied that he too was Mystified, and was at a Loss how to Account for such Happenings.
"What Devotions do you practice?" asked the Abbot. He answered that there was Little or Nothing
Special that he did, beyond making a Great Deal-of Willing only what
God Willed, and that God had given him the
Grace of-Abandoning his Will, Totally-to the
"Prosperity does not Lift me Up, nor Adversity Cast me Down", added the Monk.
"I direct all my Prayers to the End, that God's Will may be done fully in me, and by me".
"That Raid that our Enemies made against the Monastery the other day, in which our Stores were Plundered,
our Granaries put to the Torch, and our Cattle driven off -- did not this Misfortune cause you any Resentment"? queried the Abbot.
"No, Father", came the reply. "On the contrary, I returned
Thanks to God -- as is my Custom in such Circumstances -- Fully Persuaded that God does all things, or Permits all that happens, for His
Glory and for our Greater Good; thus I am always at Peace, no matter what happens".
Seeing such Uniformity-with the Will-of-God, the Abbot no-longer wondered, why the Monk
Worked so-many Miracles.
Happiness Deriving-from Perfect Uniformity
Acting according-to this Pattern, One not only becomes Holy, but also
Enjoys Perpetual Serenity in this Life. Alphonsus-the-Great, King-of-Aragon, being asked one day whom he
considered the Happiest Person in the World, answered: "He who Abandons himself to the Will-of-God, and
Accepts all things, Prosperous and Adverse, as coming-from His Hands". "To those that Love
God, all things Work Together unto Good". Those who Love God are always
Happy, because their Whole Happiness is to-Fulfill, even in
Adversity, the Will-of-God.
Afflictions do not Mar their Serenity, because by-Accepting
Misfortune, they know they give Pleasure to their
Beloved Lord: "Whatever shall Befall the Just Man, it shall not make
him Sad". Indeed, what can be more Satisfactory-to a Person, than to-experience the Fulfillment-of all his Desires? This
is the Happy Lot of the Man, who Wills only what God Wills, because
everything that Happens, save Sin, Happens through the Will-of-God.
There is a Story, to this Effect, in the "Lives of the Fathers" about a Farmer whose Crops were
more Plentiful than those of his Neighbors. On being asked how this happened with such Unvarying Regularity, he said he was not surprised
because he always had the kind-of Weather he wanted. He was asked to explain. He said: "It is so because I
want whatever kind-of Weather God wants, and because I do, He gives me the Harvests I want". If
Souls, Resigned-to Godís Will are
Humiliated, says Salvian, they 'Want' to be Humiliated;
if they are Poor, they 'Want' to be Poor; in
short, whatever happens is Acceptable-to them, hence they are Truly at Peace in this Life. In Cold and
Heat, in Rain and Wind, the Soul United-to God
says: "I Want it to be Warm, to be Cold, Windy, to Rain, because God Wills it".
This is the Beautiful Freedom of the Sons-of God, and it is
Worth Vastly More than all the Rank and Distinction of Blood and Birth, more than all the Kingdoms in the World. This is the
Abiding Peace which, in the Experience of the Saints, "Surpasseth all
Understanding". It Surpasses all Pleasures rising-from Gratification of the
Senses, from Social Gatherings, Banquets and other Worldly Amusements;
Vain and Deceiving as they are, they Captivate the Senses
for the Time Being, but bring no Lasting Contentment; rather they
Afflict Man in the Depth-of his Soul, where alone True
Peace can Reside.
Solomon, who Tasted to-Satiety, all the Pleasures of the World
and found them Bitter, voiced his
Disillusionment thus: "But this also is Vanity and Vexation of Spirit".
"A Fool", says the Holy Spirit,
"is Changed as the Moon; but a Holy Man Continueth-in Wisdom, as the Sun". The
Fool, that is, the Sinner, is as-Changeable-as the Moon, which
today 'Waxes' and tomorrow 'Wanes'; today he Laughs, tomorrow he Cries; today he is Meek as a Lamb,
tomorrow Cross as a Bear. Why? Because his Peace of Mind depends-on the
Prosperity or the Adversity he meets; he Changes-with the Changes-in the Things that
happen-to him. The Just Man is like the Sun, Constant-in his
Serenity, no matter what Betides him. His
Calmness-of-Soul is founded-on his Union-with the Will-of-God;
hence he Enjoys Unruffled Peace. This is the Peace, Promised-by
the Angel-of the Nativity: "And on
Earth, Peace to Men of Good Will". Who are these "Men of Good Will", if not
those whose Wills are United-to the
Infinitely Good and Perfect Will-of-God? "The Good, and the
Acceptable, and the Perfect Will-of-God".
By Uniting themselves to the Divine Will, the Saints have enjoyed
Paradise, by-Anticipation in this Life. Accustoming themselves to Receive all things from the
Hands-of-God, says Saint Dorotheus, the 'Men-of-Old' Maintained Continual
Serenity-of-Soul. Saint-Mary-Magdalene-of-Pazzi derived such Consolation at Hearing the
Words "Will of God", that she usually Fell-into an Ecstasy-of-Love.
(A Unity (1) of Body
The Instances-of Jangling Irritation, that are bound-to arise, will not Fail to make Surface Impact
on the Senses. This however will be experienced only in the Inferior Part
of the Soul; in the Superior Part will Reign
Peace and Tranquility as-long-as our Will remains
United-with God's. Our Lord
assured His Apostles: "Your Joy, no Man shall Take from you . . . Your
Joy shall be Full". He who Unites his Will to
God's, Experiences a Full and Lasting Joy: 'Full', because he has
what he Wants, as was explained above; 'Lasting', because no one can take his Joy from him, since no
one can Prevent what God Wills from Happening.
The Devout Father-John-Tauler, Relates this Personal Experience: For Years he had
Prayed God to send him someone who would Teach
him the Real Spiritual Life. One day, at Prayer, he Heard
a Voice saying: "Go to such-and-such a Church and you will have the Answer to your Prayers".
He went, and at the Door of the Church he found a Beggar, Barefooted and in Rags. He greeted
the Mendicant saying: "Good day, my Friend".
"Thank you, Sir, for your Kind Wishes, but I do not Recall ever having had a 'Bad' Day".
"Then God has certainly given you a very Happy Life".
"That is very true, Sir. I have never been Unhappy. In saying this I am not making any Rash Statement
either. This is the Reason: When I have Nothing to Eat, I give Thanks to God; when it Rains or Snows, I Bless God's Providence;
when someone Insults me, Drives me away, or otherwise Mistreats me, I give Glory to God. I said I've never had an Unhappy Day,
and it's the Truth, because I am Accustomed to Will Unreservedly what God Wills. Whatever happens to me, Sweet or Bitter, I Gladly
Receive from His Hands, as what is Best for me. Hence my Unvarying Happiness".
"Where did you find God"?
"I found Him where I left Creatures".
"Who are you anyway"?
"I am a King".
"And where is your Kingdom"?
"In my Soul, where everything is in Good Order; where the Passions Obey Reason, and Reason
"How have you come to such a State of Perfection"?
"By Silence. I Practice Silence towards Men, while I Cultivate the Habit of Speaking with God. Conversing
with God is the Way I Found and Maintain my Peace of Soul".
Union with God brought this
Poor Beggar to the very Heights-of-Perfection. In his
Poverty he was Richer-than the Mightiest Monarch; in his
Sufferings, he was Vastly Happier-than Worldlings
amid Their Worldly Delights.
God Wills our Good
O the Supreme Folly of those who Resist the Divine Will! In
God's Providence, no one can Escape Hardship:
"Who resisteth His Will"? A Person who Rails-at
God in-Adversity, Suffers
without Merit; moreover, by his Lack-of Resignation, he adds-to his
Punishment in the Next Life and experiences Greater Disquietude-of
Mind in this Life: "Who resisteth Him and hath had Peace"? The
Screaming Rage of the Sick Man in his Pain, the
Whining Complaints of the Poor Man in his
Destitution -- what will they avail these People, except Increase their Unhappiness and
bring them no Relief? "Little Man", says Saint Augustine, "Grow
up. What are you Seeking in your Search for Happiness? Seek the One Good that Embraces all Others". Whom do you Seek,
Friend, if you Seek not God? Seek Him, Find
Him, Cleave to Him; Bind your Will to
His with Bands-of-Steel and you will Live always at Peace in this Life and in the Next.
Similar Thoughts of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen on the 'Wasted' Merits of those who Resist the Divine Will
Think of how much Suffering there is in Hospitals, among the
Poor, and the Bereaved.
Think also of how much of that Suffering goes-to-Waste!
How many of those Lonesome, Suffering,
Souls are saying with Our Lord, at the
Moment of Consecration, "This is my Body. Take it"? And yet that is what
we all should be saying at that Second:
I give myself to God. Here is my Body. Take it. Here is my Blood. Take it. Here is my Soul, my Will, my Energy,
my Strength, My Property, my Wealth - all that I have. It is Yours. Take it! Offer it! Offer it with Thyself to the Heavenly Father in
order that He, looking down on this Great Sacrifice, may see only Thee, His Beloved Son, in Whom He is Well Pleased. Transmute the Poor
Bread of my Life into Thy Divine Life; Thrill the Wine of my Wasted Life into Thy Divine Spirit; Unite my Broken Heart with Thy Heart;
Change my Cross into a Crucifix.
Let not my Abandonment, and my Sorrow, and my Bereavement go to Waste. Gather up the Fragments, and as the
Drop of Water is Absorbed by the Wine at the Offertory of the Mass, Let my Life be Absorbed in Thee; Let my Little Cross be Entwined with
Thy Great Cross, so that I may Purchase the Joys of Everlasting Happiness in Union with Thee.
Consecrate these Trials of my Life which would go Unrewarded unless United with Thee; Transubstantiate me so
that like Bread which is now Thy Body, And Wine which is now Thy Blood, I too may be Wholly Thee. I care not if the Species remain, or
that, like the Bread and the Wine, I seem to all Earthly Eyes the same as before. My Station in Life, my Routine Duties, my Work, my Family -
All these are but the Species of my Life which may remain Unchanged; but the Substance of my Life, my Soul, my Mind, my Will, my Heart -
Transubstantiate them, Transform them Wholly into Thy Service, So that through me all may know how Sweet is the Love of Christ.
God Wills only our Good; God
Loves us more than anybody else can, or does Love us. His
Will is that no one should Lose his Soul, that
everyone should Save and Sanctify his
Soul: "Not Willing that any should Perish, but that All should Return to Penance".
"This is the Will-of-God, your Sanctification". God has
made the Attainment-of our Happiness, His Glory. Since
He is, by His Nature, Infinite
Goodness, and since as Saint Leo says, Goodness is
Diffusive-of Itself, God has a Supreme Desire to-make us Sharers-of His
Goods, and of His Happiness. If then, He sends us
Suffering in this Life, it is for our own Good:
"All things Work Together unto Good". Even Chastisements
come to us, not to Crush us, but to make us Mend our Ways, and
Save our Souls: "Let us Believe that these Scourges of the
Lord have happened for our Amendment, and not for our Destruction".
God surrounds us with His Loving Care, lest we
Suffer Eternal Damnation: "O Lord,
Thou hast Crowned us as with a Shield of Thy Good Will". He is most Solicitous-for
our Welfare: "The Lord is Solicitous for me". What can God
deny us, when He has given us His Own Son?
"He that Spared not even His Own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how hath He not also, with Him,
given us all things"? Therefore we should most-Confidently Abandon ourselves to all the Dispositions-of
Divine Providence, since they are for our own Good. In all that happens-to us, let us
say: "In Peace, in the self same I will Sleep, and I will Rest: Because Thou, O Lord, hast singularly
Settled me in Hope".
Let us place ourselves Unreservedly-in His Hands, because He
will not Fail to have Care-of us: "Casting all your Care upon Him, for He hath Care of you".
Let us keep God in our Thoughts and carry-out His Will, and
He will Think-of us and of our Welfare. Our Lord said to
Saint-Catherine-of-Siena, "Daughter, Think of Me, and I will always Think of you".
Let us often Repeat-with the Spouse, in the Canticle: "My Beloved to me, and I to him".
Saint Niles, Abbot, used to say that our Petitions should be, not that our Wishes be Done, but that
God's Holy Will should be Fulfilled in-us and by-us. When, therefore, something
Adverse happens-to us, let us accept it from His Hands, not only
Patiently, but even with Gladness, as did the Apostles "who
went from the Presence-of the Council Rejoicing, that they were Accounted Worthy to Suffer for the Name of Jesus". What
greater Consolation can come to a Soul, than to know that by
Patiently Bearing some Tribulation, it gives God the Greatest
Pleasure in its Power? Spiritual Writers tell us that though the
Desire-of certain Souls to Please God by their
Sufferings, is Acceptable-to Him, still more Pleasing
to Him is the Union of certain others with
His Will, so that their Will is neither to Rejoice
nor to Suffer, but to hold themselves Completely Amenable-to His
Will, and they Desire only that His Holy Will be Fulfilled.
If, Devout Soul, it is your Will to-Please
God and live a Life-of-Serenity in this World, Unite
yourself always and in all things to the Divine Will. Reflect, that all the
Sins of your Past Wicked Life, happened because you Wandered-from the Path-of
God's Will. For the Future, embrace God's Good Pleasure and say to
Him in every Happening: "Yea, Father, for so it hath seemed Good in Thy
Sight". When anything Disagreeable happens, remember it comes-from
God and say at-once, "This comes from God" and be at
Peace: "I was Dumb and Opened not my Mouth, because Thou hast done it".
Lord, since Thou hast done this, I will be Silent, and Accept it.
Direct all your Thoughts and Prayers to this End, to beg God
Constantly in Meditation, Communion, and visits-to the
Blessed Sacrament, that He Help you accomplish
His Holy Will. Form the Habit of-Offering yourself frequently-to God by saying,
"My God, behold me in Thy Presence; do with me and all that I have as Thou Pleasest". This
was the Constant Practice-of Saint Teresa. At least Fifty (50) times a day she Offered herself
to-God, placing herself at His Entire Disposition and Good Pleasure.
How Fortunate you, Kind Reader, if you too Act thus! You will surely become a Saint. Your Life will be Calm
and Peaceful; your Death will be Happy.
At Death all our Hope-of-Salvation will come-from the Testimony-of our
Conscience, as to whether or not we are Dying Resigned-to
God's Will. If during Life, we have Embraced everything as Coming-from God's
Hands, and if at Death we Embrace Death in Fulfillment-of
God's-Holy-Will, we shall certainly Save our
Souls and Die the Death of-Saints. Let us then Abandon
everything to God's Good Pleasure, because being Infinitely Wise,
He knows what is Best for us; and being All-Good and
All-Loving -- having given His Life for us --
He Wills what is Best for us. Let us, as Saint Basil Counsels us, Rest Secure in the
Conviction that beyond the Possibility-of a Doubt, God works to
Effect our Welfare, Infinitely Better than we could ever Hope to-Accomplish or Desire it ourselves.
Special Practices of Uniformity
Let us now take-up in a Practical Way, the Consideration-of those Matters in-which we should Unite
ourselves to-Godís Will.
In External Matters:
In Times-of Great Heat, Cold or Rain;
in Times-of Famine, Epidemics and Similar Occasions, we should
Refrain-from Expressions like these: "What unbearable Heat"! "What
piercing Cold"! "What a Tragedy"! In these Instances, we should Avoid Expressions
indicating 'Opposition'-to God's Will. We should Want things to be just-as they are, because it is
God, Who thus Disposes them. An Incident in Point would be this One:
Late One Night Saint-Francis-Borgia arrived unexpectedly at a Jesuit House, in a Snowstorm. He Knocked and Knocked on
the Door, but all to no-purpose, because the Community being asleep, no one heard him. When morning came, all were Embarrassed for the
Discomfort he had experienced by having had to Spend the Night in the Open. The Saint, however, said he had
Enjoyed the Greatest Consolation during those Long Hours of the Night by Imagining
that he saw Our Lord up in the Sky, Dropping the Snowflakes down-upon him.
In Personal Matters:
In Matters that Affect us Personally, let us Acquiesce-in Godís Will. For example, in
Poverty, Desolation, Loss of Reputation,
let us always say: "Do Thou Build up or Tear down, O Lord, as seems Good in Thy Sight. I am Content. I wish only what
Thou dost wish". Thus too, says Rodriguez, should we Act when the Devil
Proposes certain Hypothetical Cases to us, in-order-to Wrest a Sinful Consent from us, or at least
to-Cause us to be Interiorly Disturbed. For example: "What would you Say
or what would you Do, if some one were to say or do such and such a thing to you"? Let us Dismiss the
Temptation by saying: "By God's Grace, I would say or do what God would Want me to Say or
Do". Thus we shall Free ourselves from Imperfection and
Let us not Lament, if we Suffer from some Natural
Defect of Body or Mind; from Poor Memory, Slowness-of Understanding,
Little Ability, Lameness or General Bad Health. What Claim have we, or what Obligation is God under, to give us a
more Brilliant Mind or a more Robust Body? Who is ever Offered a Gift, and then
Lays-down the Conditions upon-which he will Accept it? Let us Thank God for what, in His
Pure Goodness, He has given us and let us be Content too with the Manner in which
He has given it to us.
Who knows? Perhaps if God had given us Greater Talent, Better Health, a more Personable Appearance, we might
have Lost our Souls! Great Talent and Knowledge have caused many to be
Puffed Up with the Idea-of their own-Importance and, in their Pride, they
have Despised others. How easily, those who have these Gifts, Fall-into
Grave Danger to their Salvation! How many, on-account-of Physical Beauty or
Robust Health, have Plunged Headlong-into a Life-of Debauchery! How many, on the contrary, who, by Reason-of
Poverty, Infirmity or Physical Deformity,
have become Saints, and have Saved their Souls; who, given Health, Wealth or
Physical Attractiveness, had else Lost their Souls! Let us then be Content-with
what God has given us. "But one thing is Necessary", and it is not Beauty,
not Health, not Talent. "It is the Salvation-of our Immortal Souls".
It is Especially Necessary that we be Resigned-in Corporal Infirmities.
We should Willingly Embrace them, in the Manner and for the Length-of Time, that God Wills. We ought to make use of
the Ordinary Remedies, in Time-of Sickness -- such is
God's Will; but if they are not Effective, let us Unite ourselves to God's
Will, and this will be Better-for us than would be our Restoration to Health. Let us say: "Lord, I wish neither to be
Well, nor to Remain Sick; I want only what Thou Wilt". Certainly, it is more Virtuous not to
Repine in Times-of Painful Illness; still and all, when our
Sufferings are Excessive, it is not Wrong to let our Friends know what we
are Enduring, and also to ask God to Free us from our Sufferings. Let it be
Understood, however, that the Sufferings here Referred to are Actually Excessive. It often happens that some,
on the Occasion-of a Slight Illness, or even a Slight Indisposition, want the
Whole World to Stand-still and Sympathize-with them, in their Illnesses.
But, where it is a Case-of Real Suffering, we have the Example of Our Lord,
Who, at the approach-of His Bitter Passion,
made known His State of Soul to His Disciples, saying:
"My Soul is Sorrowful, even unto Death" and Besought His Eternal Father
to-deliver Him from it: "Father, if it be Possible, let this Chalice pass-from
Me". But Our Lord likewise Taught us, what we should do when we have made such a Petition, when
He added: "Nevertheless, not as I Will, but as Thou Wilt".
How Childish, the Pretense-of those who Protest they Wish-for Health, not to-Escape Suffering,
but to-Serve Our Lord better, by being able to-Observe their Rule,
to-Serve the Community, Go to-Church, Receive Communion, Do
Penance, Study, Work-for Souls in the Confessional and Pulpit!
Devout Soul, tell me, why do you Desire to do these things? To Please God?
Why then Search any Further to Please God, when you are Sure God does
not Wish these Prayers, Communions,
Penances or Studies, but He does Wish that you Suffer
Patiently this Sickness He sends you?
Unite then your Sufferings to those of
"But", you say, "I do not Want to be Sick, for then I am Useless,
a Burden to my Order, to my Monastery". But if you are United-to and Resigned-to
God's Will, you will Realize that your Superiors are likewise Resigned-to the Dispositions-of
Divine Providence, and that they Recognize the Fact that you are a Burden,
not through Indolence, but by the Will-of-God. Ah, how often these Desires
and these Laments are Born, not of the Love-of-God,
but of the Love-of-Self! How many of them are so many 'Pretexts' for Fleeing the
Will-of-God! Do we want to Please God? When we find ourselves
Confined to our Sickbed, let us utter this One (1)
Prayer: "Thy Will be Done". Let us repeat it Time-and-Time again, and it will
Please God more than all our Mortifications and
Devotions. There is no better way to-Serve God than Cheerfully to-Embrace
Saint-John-of-Avila once wrote-to a Sick Priest: "My dear
friend, -- Do not Weary yourself Planning what you would do if you were Well, but be Content to be Sick for as long as God Wishes. If you are
Seeking to carry out Godís Will, what difference should it make to you whether you are Sick or Well"? The Saint was Perfectly
Right, for God is Glorified not by our Works,
but by our Resignation-to, and by our Union with, His Holy Will.
In this respect, Saint-Francis-de-Sales used to-say, we Serve God better by our
Sufferings, than by our Actions.
Many times it will happen that Proper Medical Attention or Effective Remedies will be Lacking, or
even that the Doctor will not Rightly Diagnose our Case. In such instances, we must Unite
ourselves to the Divine Will which thus Disposes-of our Physical Health. The Story is told of a Client of
Saint-Thomas-of-Canterbury, who being Sick, went to the Saint's Tomb to obtain a Cure. He returned
home Cured. But then he thought to himself: "Suppose it would be Better for
my Soul's Salvation if I Remained Sick, what point then is there in Being Well"? In this Frame-of-Mind, he went back and asked
the Saint to Intercede-with God, that He grant what would be Best-for his
Eternal Salvation. His Illness returned and he was Perfectly Content with
the turn things had taken, being Fully Persuaded that God had thus disposed-of him for his own
There is a Similar Account by Surio, to the effect that a certain Blind Man obtained the
Restoration-of his Sight by Praying to Saint Bedasto, Bishop. Thinking the matter over, he
Prayed again to his Heavenly Patron, but this time with the
Purpose that if the Possession-of his Sight were not Expedient for his
Soul, that his Blindness should return. And that is exactly what happened -- he was
Blind again. Therefore, in Sickness it is better that we seek
neither Sickness nor Health, but that we Abandon ourselves to the Will-of-God,
so that He may Dispose-of us as He Wishes. However,
if we decide to ask-for Health, let us do so at least always Resigned and with the Proviso that our Bodily
Health may be Conducive-to the Health of our Soul. Otherwise our Prayer
will be Defective and will Remain Unheard, because Our Lord does
not answer Prayers made without-Resignation to His Holy Will.
Sickness is the Acid Test of
Spirituality, because it discloses whether our Virtue is 'Real' or 'Sham'. If the
Soul is not Agitated, does not break-out in Lamentations, is not
Feverishly Restless in seeking a Cure, but instead is Submissive-to the Doctors and to-Superiors, is Serene
and Tranquil, Completely Resigned-to God's Will, it is a Sign that
that Soul is Well-Grounded in Virtue.
What of the Whiner who Complains of Lack-of-Attention? That his
Sufferings are Beyond Endurance? That the Doctor does not know his Business? What of the Faint-Hearted
Soul who Laments that the
Hand-of-God is too Heavy upon him?
Saint Francis de Sales to those who Lament their Sufferings
The Everlasting God has in His Wisdom foreseen from Eternity the Cross that He now presents to you as a Gift from
His inmost Heart.
This Cross He now sends you He has considered with His All-Knowing Eyes, understood with His Divine Mind, tested with His Wise Justice,
warmed with Loving Arms and weighed with His Own Hands to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you.
He has Blessed it with His Holy Name, Anointed it with His Grace, Perfumed it with His Consolation, taken one last glance at you and
your Courage, and then sent it to you from Heaven, a Special Greeting from God to you, an Alms of the all-Merciful Love of God.
Saint Francis de Sales
This Story by Saint Bonaventure, in his "Life of Saint Francis", is in Point: On a
Certain Occasion when the Saint was Suffering extraordinary
Physical Pain, one of his Religious, meaning to Sympathize-with him, said in his Simplicity: "My
Father, Pray God that He treat you a little more Gently, for His Hand seems Heavy upon you just now". Hearing this,
Saint Francis Strongly Resented the Unhappy Remark of his Well-Meaning Brother, saying: "My Good Brother, did
I not know that what you have just said was spoken in all Simplicity, without Realizing the Implication of your words, I should never see you
again because of your Rashness in Passing Judgment on the Dispositions of Divine Providence". Whereupon,
Weak and Wasted as he was by his Illness, he got out
of bed, knelt down, kissed the floor and Prayed thus: "Lord, I
Thank Thee for the Sufferings Thou art sending me. Send me more, if it be Thy Good Pleasure. My Pleasure is that You Afflict me and Spare me not,
for the Fulfillment of Thy Holy Will is the Greatest Consolation of my Life".
Finally, we should Consider the Events which are Happening to us Now, and which will Happen to us in the Future, as coming-from the
Hands-of-God. Everything we do, should be directed-to this One (1) End:
to do the Will-of-God and to do it Solely for the Reason that God Wills it.
To Walk more Securely on this Road, we must Depend-on the Guidance-of our Superiors, in External Matters, and on our Directors, in Internal Matters,
to learn from them God's Will in our regard, having Great Faith in the
Words-of Our Lord: "He that heareth you, heareth Me".
Above all, let us Bend all our Energies to Serve God in the way He
Wishes. This Remark is made, so that we may Avoid the Mistake of him who Wastes his Time in Idle Day-Dreaming.
Such a one says, "If I were to become a Hermit, I would become a Saint" or
"If I were to enter a Monastery, I would Practice Penance" or "If I
were to go away from here, leaving Friends and Companions, I would Devote Long Hours to Prayer". 'If', 'If', 'If' -- all these
'If's'! In the meantime such a Person goes from Bad to Worse. These
Idle Fancies are often Temptations of the Devil, because they are not
in-accord-with God's Will. Hence we should Dismiss them Summarily, and Rouse ourselves to Serve
God only in that way which He has Marked-out for us. Doing
His Holy Will, we shall certainly become Holy in those Surroundings in
which He has placed us.
Let us Will always and ever, only what God Wills; for so doing,
He will press us to His Heart. To this End let us familiarize ourselves
with Certain Texts of Sacred Scripture that invite us to Unite ourselves constantly with the
Divine Will: "Lord, what wilt Thou have me do"? Tell me, my
God, what Thou wilt have me do, that I may
Will it also, with all my Heart. "I am Thine, save Thou me".
I am no longer my own, I am Thine, O Lord, do with me as
If some particularly Crashing Misfortune comes upon us, for example, the
Death of a Relative, Loss of Goods, let us say: "Yea, Father,
for so it hath seemed Good in Thy Sight". Yes, my God and my
Father, so be it, for such is Thy Good Pleasure. Above all, let us Cherish that
Prayer of Our Lord, which He Himself taught us:
"Thy Will be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven". Our Lord bade
Saint-Catherine-of-Genoa, to make a Notable Pause at these Words whenever she said the Our Father,
Praying that God's Holy Will be Fulfilled on-Earth, with the same
Perfection with which the Saints do it in Heaven. Let this be our
Practice also, and we shall certainly become Saints.
May the Divine Will be Loved and Praised!
May the Immaculate Virgin be also Praised!