Uniformity with God's Will


The Agony in the Garden -
by Greco, El -
from Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio
(Click Image to Enlarge)


Mt:26:39 - And going a little further, He fell upon His Face, Praying and Saying: My Father, if it be possible, let this Chalice pass from Me. Nevertheless, not as I Will, but as Thou Wilt. (DRV)


The Annunciation -
by Berruguete, Pedro -
from Monastery of Miraflores, Burgos
(Click Image to Enlarge)


Lk:1:38 - And Mary said: Behold the Handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to Thy Word. And the Angel departed from her. (DRV)

 

Our Greatest Fault is that we wish to serve God in our Way, not in His Way -- according to our Will, not according to His Will. When He wishes us to be Sick, we wish to be Well; when He desires us to-serve Him by-Sufferings, we desire to-Serve Him by-Works; when He wishes us to-exercise Charity, we wish to-exercise Humility; when He seeks from us Resignation, we wish-for Devotion, a Spirit-of-Prayer or some other Virtue. And this is not because the things we Desire may be more-Pleasing to Him, but because they are more to our Taste. This is certainly the Greatest Obstacle we can raise-to our own Perfection, for it is beyond doubt, that if we were to-wish to be Saints according-to our own Will, we shall never be so at all. To be Truly a Saint, it is necessary to be One, according-to the Will-of-God.

Saint Francis de Sales

 

Uniformity with God's Will

by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori

angelbar.gif (3645 bytes)

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 Heaven".

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 Will-of-God.

"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.

phases.gif (39484 bytes) 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.

Human Being/Person
(A Unity (1) of Body and Soul)

Body/Inferior Will/
Sensory Appetite/
Psychosomatic Powers
Passions/Emotions/
(Subordinate-Partner)

Soul/Superior Will/
Knowledge/Intellect/
Reason/Grace/
Heart/Conscience
(Dominant Partner)

 

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 Obeys God".

"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, Abandoned, Crucified 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:

eucharis.gif (12459 bytes) littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) 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.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) 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.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) 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.

Amen

 

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.

lucifer.gif (13631 bytes) In Personal Matters: In Matters that Affect us Personally, let us Acquiesce-in Godís Will. For example, in Hunger, Thirst, 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 Harassment.

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 Our Lord.

"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 His-Holy-Will.

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 Good.

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
francis_de_sales2.jpg (16693 bytes) 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".

Conclusion

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 Thou Wilt.

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!