Lenten Meditation 44: Perfect Resignation to the Divine Will

My meat is to do his will [John 4:34]. So said Jesus Christ, speaking of himself. In this mortal life, meat is that which preserves our life; and, therefore, our Lord said that it was his meat to do the will of the Father. This also ought to be the meat of our souls: Life is in his will [Ps 29:6]. Our life consists in doing the divine will.

The wise man writes: They that are faithful in love shall rest in him [Wis 3:9]. They who are little faithful in loving God will desire that he should agree with them, that he should conform himself to their pleasure, and do whatever they desire; but they who love God agree with him, and unite their wills to his will, and are satisfied with everything that God does with them, and with all their circumstances; and in every adversity that afflicts them, whether sickness, dishonor, weariness, loss of property or of kindred, they ever have on their lips and in their heart these words, “Thy will be done,” which are the constant expression of saints.

God only desires that which is best for us, which is our sanctification [1 Thess 4:3]. Let us take care, therefore, to quiet our own will, uniting it ever to the will of God; and thus we shall be able, also, to quiet our intellect, recollecting that everything that God does is the best thing that can befall us. Whoever does not this will never find true peace. All the perfection that can be attained in this world, which is a place of purification, and consequently a place of pains and troubles, consists in suffering patiently those things that are opposed to our self-love; and, in order to suffer with patience, there is no more efficacious means than a willingness to suffer, in order to do the will of God. Submit thyself, then, to Him, and be at peace [Job 22:21]. He that agrees with the divine will in everything is always at peace, and nothing that happens to him can make him miserable. It will not make the just man sad, whatever shall befall him [Prov 12:21]. But why is the just man never miserable under any circumstances? Because he knows well that whatever happens in the world, happens through the will of God.

Behold the excellent counsel of St. Peter, in order to find a perfect peace in the midst of the toils of this present life, Casting all your care upon Him; for He has care for you [1 Pet 5:7]. And if it is God who thus gives thought for our good, why should we weary ourselves with so many anxieties, as if our happiness depended on our own cares, and not rather abandon ourselves into the hands of God, upon whom all depends? Cast thy care upon the Lord, says David, and He shall nourish thee [Ps 54:23]. Let us strive to obey God in everything he commands us and advises us, and then let us leave to him the care of our salvation, and he will take care to give us all the means that are necessary, in order that we may be saved: Thy soul shall be saved, because thou hast had confidence in Me [Jer 39:18].

Some people trust their eternal salvation to certain devotions, or to certain outward works of piety, and yet do not the will of God. But Jesus Christ says: Not every one that saith to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven [Matt 7:21].

Thus, if we desire to be saved, and to acquire a perfect union with God, let us take care to be ever offering up the prayer of David: Teach me, O Lord, to do Thy will [Ps 142:10]. And for this purpose, let us strip ourselves of our own will, and give it wholly to God, without reserve. . . . The sacrifice of our own will is the most acceptable sacrifice we can make to God; and God pours fourth his graces abundantly upon him who makes it.

I resign myself, then, wholly to Thy will; make me to know what Thou wilt, that I may be able to accomplish it all. Make me love Thee, and then dispose of me and all my affairs as it pleases Thee. I am in Thy hands; do what Thou knowest to be most expedient for my eternal salvation; while I declare that I desire Thee alone, and nothing more.

O Mother of God! do thou obtain for me the gift of holy perseverance.

Text from St. Alphonsus de Liguori, The Way of Salvation and Perfection, ed. Eugene Grimm, 2d ed. (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1886).

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