Thursday, March 3, 2011

He Will Do The Rest

Last night was restless and tossed; I ached for peace. My own failings coupled with a frustrating situation left me feeling alone, abandoned.

Photo Credit: Ben Smithdeal
As I lay in bed, I questioned.

"How, Lord? How do I find the joy and riches of the moments that oppress and strip? What if I am barely holding on, wishing moments away, yearning for new moments- joy-filled moments that breathe life. What about the moments that seem like bits of death?"

I am once again drawn to the writings of  Jean-Pierre De Caussade, and I numbly open the book.
I read.

Now, if we see the will of God in the most trifling affairs, in every misfortune, and in every disaster, we shall accept them all with an equal joy, delight and respect. What others fear and flee from, we shall welcome with open doors. The clothing is shabby and mean to the ordinary eye, , but we shall respect the royal majesty hidden under it and feel a deepening of our love the more hidden and abject our king is. I cannot describe what the heart feels when it accepts the divine will so apparently diminished in power, so humble and pitiful. How profoundly moved Mary's loving heart was when she saw the poverty of her God,lying whimpering and trembling on a bundle of hay in a manger.

To adore Jesus on Tabor, or to accept the will of God expressed through remarkable circumstances, does not prove that our faith is stronger or better than to accept gladly God' s will in the petty affairs of life and to worship Jesus nailed to the cross, for our faith is never more alive than when what we experience through our senses contradicts and tries to destroy it....

Mary sees the Apostles flee, but she herself remains faithfully at the foot of the cross. Torn by wounds and disfigured with spittle though he was, she new him as her son. Indeed his bleeding, battered body increased her love and adoration of him. The more viciously blasphemed, the more she venerated him....

The life of faith is the untiring pursuit of God through all that disguises and disfigures him, and as it were, destroys and annihilates him.

Photo credit: Ben Smithdeal

Caussade continues:

Look at Mary; from the stable to Cavalry she stayed close to that God who was despised, rejected persecuted. So it is with all faithful souls. They have to pass through a steady succession of veils and shadows and illusions which seek to hide the will of God, but they follow and love it even to death on the cross. They know they must leave the shadows and run after the divine sun which, from its rising to its setting and no matter how thick and dark the clouds hiding it, illumines, warms, and sets aglow the loyal hearts who bless, praise and contemplate it as it sweeps along its mysterious course.

Let us, then, as faithful souls, happy and tireless, advance after the beloved as he moves with giant strides across the heavens. He sees all things. He walks above the smallest blades of grass and the cedar groves, and treads the grains of sand as well as the mountain peaks. Wherever we have trodden he has been, and if we constantly pursue him we shall find him no matter where we are.

Photo Credit: Ben Smithdeal

There is no peace more wonderful than the peace we enjoy when faith shows us God in all created things. All that is dark becomes light, and what is bitter is sweet.

Faith transforms ugliness into beauty, and malice into kindness. Faith is the mother of tenderness, trust , and joy.

Photo Credit: Ben Smithdeal

It cannot feel anything but love and pity for its enemies, by whom it is so greatly enriched, for the more harsh the actions of creatures against us, the more beneficial God makes them for our souls. The human instrument tries to injure us, but the divine craftsman, in whose hands it is, ensures that it takes from our souls all that would harm them.

The will of God has only delights, favors and riches for all souls who are obedient to it. We cannot trust it too much or abandon ourselves to it too completely. If we leave everything to God, he will do all that is necessary for our holiness. Faith cannot doubt this. The more unreliable, disgusted, despairing and unsure of themselves our senses are, the more emphatically does faith exclaim:
'God is here! All goes well.'

Photo Credit: Ben Smithdeal

Photo Credit: Ben Smithdeal

"There is nothing faith cannot overcome. It pierces through the darkest shadows and the thickest clouds to reach the truth, embrace it and can never be torn from it."

(All excerpts taken from Jean-Pierre De Caussade's Abandonment To Divine Providence, pgs 39-40)

Photo Credit: Ben Smithdeal

I read and was renewed, encouraged.

It all became clear to me: Our emptiest moments are the moments hollowed out for his grace to fill. When we are stripped of all consolation, the present moment is unity with God: with his suffering, his dying, and his redemption.

He will take the ugly and redeem those moments for eternity. All I have to do is be and trust. Be. Trust.  Know. He will do the rest.