St. Francis de Sales on Resignation

The editor of Light and Peace adds some relevant thoughts from St. Francis de Sales on the subject of resignation to the will of God.

St. Francis “gives us some sublime lessons in resignation applied to the trials and temptations that beset the spiritual life. He draws them from this great and simple thought that serves as foundation for the Exercises of Saint Ignatius, namely, that salvation being the sole object of our existence, and all the attendant circumstances of life but means for attaining it, nothing has any absolute value; and that the only way of forming a true estimate of things is to consider in how far they are calculated to advance or retard the end in view. Accordingly, what difference does it make if we attain this end by riches or poverty, health or sickness, spiritual consolation or aridity, by the esteem or contempt of our fellow-men? So say faith and reason; but human nature revolts against this indifference, as it is well it should, else how could we acquire merit?”

“Would to God,” says St. Francis, “that we did not concern ourselves so much about the road whereon we journey, but rather would keep our eyes fixed on our Guide and upon that blessed country whither He is conducting us. What should it matter to us if it be through deserts or pleasant fields that we walk, provided God be with us and we be advancing towards heaven?”

St. Francis explains: “For God in his infinite goodness sometimes sees fit to test our courage and love by depriving us of the things which it seems to us would be advantageous to our souls; and if he finds us very earnest in their pursuit, yet humble, tranquil and resigned to do without them if he wishes us to, he will give us more blessings than we should have had in the possession of what we craved. God loves those who at all times and in all circumstances can say to him simply and heartily: Thy will be done.”

Quotations from Carlo Giuseppe Quadrupani, Light and Peace: Instructions for Devout Souls to Dispel Their Doubts and Allay Their Fears (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1898).

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