Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence by Father Jean Baptiste Saint-Jure
The Practice of Conformity to the Will of God

In the natural incidents in our daily lives
In public calamities
In the cares and difficulties of family life
In reverses of fortune
In poverty and its hardships
In adversity and disgrace
In defects of nature
In sickness and infirmity
In death and the manner of it
In the loss of spiritual consolation
In the consequences of our sins
In interior trials
In spiritual favors
Summary and conclusion

To the question, "In what things should we practice conformity to the will of God?" there can be only one answer: "In

The first thing that God asks of us is that we should faithfully keep His commandments and those of the Church, humbly obey
those who have authority over us, and carefully fulfill the duties of our state.

Thereafter we should desire what God does and accept with filial submission all that is decided by His Providence. Let us now see
some of the circumstances which may arise.

In the Natural Incidents of Our Daily Lives

In a spirit of conformity to His holy will we should accustom ourselves for the love of God to putting up with all the little daily
vexations, such as a word said that wounds our self-esteem, a fly that annoys us, the barking of a dog, knocking into something as we walk
along, a small accidental hurt, a light suddenly going out, a rent in our clothes, a pen that won't write, and so on. In one way it is even
more important to practice conformity to God's will in these small things than in larger ones, both because they are more frequent and
because the habit of supporting them in a Christian spirit prepares us in advance and in a natural manner to show resignation when we
have to face serious difficulties.

We should wish with the divine will for heat and cold, storm and calm, and all the vagaries and in clemencies of the elements. We
should in short accept whatever kind of weather God sends us, instead of supporting it with impatience or anger as we usually do
when it is contrary to what we desire. We should avoid saying, for instance, "What awful heat!" "What terrible cold!" "What shocking
weather!" "Just my bad luck!" and other expressions of the same kind which only serve to show our lack of faith and of submission to God's

Not only should we wish the weather to be as it is because God has made it so but, whatever inconvenience it may cause us, we
should repeat with the three youths in the fiery furnace: Cold, heat, snow and ice, lightnings and clouds, winds and tempests, bless the
Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.

The elements themselves are blessing and glorifying God by doing His holy will, and we also should bless and glorify Him in the
same way. Besides, even if the weather is inconvenient for us, it may be convenient for someone else. If it prevents us from doing what we
want to do, it may be helping another. And even if it were not so, it should be enough for us that it is giving glory to God and that it is
God who wishes it to be as it is.

St. Francis Borgia, the third General of the Society of Jesus, provides us a good example in this matter. He was once traveling to a
house of the Society when it was snowing hard and bitterly cold, and his arrival was delayed until a late hour of the night when everybody
was in bed and asleep. He had to wait some time before his knocking aroused someone to let him in, and then to the apologies for keeping
him waiting so long in such foul weather he answered cheerfully that  it was a great consolation to him to think that it was God who had
dropped so much snow on him.

This practice of conformity to His will is so pleasing to God  that it often has a visible influence on the material things of life.
There is a story in the Lives of the Desert Fathers of a laborer whose  fields always gave better crops than those of his neighbors. When
asked the reason he replied that he always had whatever kind of  season or weather he chose. "I never wish for any other kind of
weather but what God wishes" he explained, "and as I wish for  everything that pleases God, He too gives me the sort of crop that
pleases me."

55 Dan. 3:67 et seq.

In Public Calamities

We ought to conform to God's will in all public calamities such as war, famine and pestilence, and reverence and adore His
judgments with deep humility in the firm belief that, however severe they may seem, the God of infinite goodness would not send such
disasters unless some great good were to result from them. Consider how many souls may be saved through tribulation
which would otherwise be lost, how many persons through affliction are converted to God and die with sincere repentance for their sins.
What may appear a scourge and punishment is often a sign of great grace and mercy.

As far as we are personally concerned, let us meditate well on this truth of our faith that the very hairs of our head are numbered,
56 and not one of them will fall except by the will of God. In other words we cannot suffer the least harm unless He wills and orders it.
Relying on this truth we can easily understand that we have nothing more or less to fear in times of public calamity than at any other
time. God can just as easily protect us in the midst of general ruin and despair as He can deliver us from evil while all around is peace
and content. The only thing we need to be concerned about is to gain His favor, and this is the inevitable effect of conforming our will to
His. Let us therefore hasten to accept from His hand all that He sends us, and as a result of our trustful surrender He will either cause us to
gain the greatest advantages from our misfortunes or else spare us them altogether.

56 Matt. 10:30

In the Cares and Difficulties of Family Life

If you are the father or mother of a family, you ought to conform your will to God's with regard to the number or sex of the
children He pleases to give you. When men were animated by the spirit of faith they regarded a large family as a gift of God
and a blessing from heaven, and considered God more than themselves as the father of their children.

But now that faith has weakened and people live isolated from God, or if they think of Him at all it is mostly to fear Him and hardly ever
to have trust in His providence, they are reduced to bearing the burden of their families alone. And as a man's resources, however
ample and assured they may seem, are always limited and uncertain, even those who are most favored by fortune view with dismay an
increase in their family. They regard it as a kind of disaster which fills them with apprehension, an endless source of worry to poison
their existence. How different it would be if we realized God's paternal treatment of those who submit to Him with filial trust! If
we did so we should realize also what St. Paul meant when he said that God is able to make all grace abound in you, so that always
having ample means, you may abound in every good work. 57

To obtain the help of Providence it should be your aim to cooperate, as it were, with the Fatherhood of God and bring up your
children as He would wish them brought up, especially by showing them good example. Have the courage to lay aside all other ambition
and let this be the only object of your care and desire. Then, whatever the number of your children, you can rest assured that
their heavenly Father will provide for them. He will watch over them and dispose all things for their happiness and welfare, and the more
unreservedly you entrust their future to His hands, the greater will be His loving care for them.

57 2 Cor. 9:8

Avoid worrying, then, about anything else for your children except whatever may contribute to bringing them up virtuously. For
the rest... having entrusted them to God try to see what His will for them is, to help them along the path in life He has chosen for them.
Never be afraid of relying too much on Him, but rather seek always to increase your trust more and more, for this is the most pleasing
homage you can pay Him and it will be the measure of the graces you will receive. Little or much will be given you according as you have
expected little or much.

In Reverses of Fortune

We should accept with the same conformity to the will of God the loss of employment or money and all other set-backs in our
temporal affairs, repeating with faith the words of Job: The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away; as it has pleased the Lord, so is it
done. Blessed be the name of the Lord! What does it matter why those who are the instruments of your reverse of fortune have acted
as they have done? The revolt of Absalom and the curses of Semei were directed against David for a political purpose but this did not
prevent him from attributing them, rightly, to the will of God. The misfortunes of Job were brought about by the devil because he was a
just and God-fearing man. In the times of persecution Christians were deprived of rank and position, despoiled of their possessions,
torn from their families, thrown into prison and sent to execution all for their religious convictions and faith in Christ. Far from
complaining, they went their way, like the apostles, rejoicing that they had been counted worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of
Jesus. 58 Whatever the excuse for the persecution you may be made to suffer, and especially if it is because of your religion, accept it all
without hesitation as coming from the understanding and paternal hand of your Father who is in heaven.

It is the same with regard to money matters. You may find yourself obliged to make a payment you consider unjust -- something
you have already paid but cannot prove, the forfeit of a security you have given for someone, or taxes you consider excessive, or anything
of this nature. If the payment can be, and is, lawfully required of you, then it is the will of God you should pay it. It is He who is asking you
for the money and it is to Him you are really giving it when you bow to the necessity in a spirit of submission to His will. Those who act in
this way can be assured of His manifold graces. Let us take the case of two persons. One, out of a spirit of conformity perhaps excessive,
perhaps quite unfair, but which his creditor has the power to demand. The other, of his own free choice, gives an equal sum to
charity. It is well known what great advantages, even in this life, are to be gained from giving to charity, but the person who makes a
sacrifice of his money not of his own accord or to some one he chooses to give it, but out of a spirit of conformity to God's will, is
performing an even more profitable act. By the very fact that it is against his will, the act is purer and more agreeable in the sight of
God, and if it can be said that from the experiences of all ages charity brings down upon man the abundant blessing of God, it can also be
said without exaggeration that such an act as has been described brings down still more abundant blessings.

58 2 Cor. 9:8

In Poverty and Hardships

We ought to conform to God's will in poverty and all the inconveniences poverty brings in its train. It is not too hard to do so
if we fully realize that God watches over us as a father over his children and puts us in that condition because it is of most value to
us. Poverty then takes on a different aspect in our eyes, for by looking on the privations it imposes as salutary remedies we even
cease to think of ourselves as poor.

If a rich man has a son in bad health and prescribes a strict diet for him, does the son think he has to eat small amounts of plain
or tasteless food because his father cannot afford better? Does he begin to worry about how he will exist in the future? Will other
people think that because of his diet he has become poor? Everybody knows how well off his father is and that he shares
in his father's wealth and he will again have what is now forbidden him as soon as his health is restored. 

Are we not the children of the God of riches, the co-heirs of Christ? Being so, is there anything we can lack? Let it be said boldly:
whoever responds to His divine adoption with the feelings of love and trust that the position of being children of God demands has a
right, here and now, to all that God Himself possesses. Everything then is ours. But it is not expedient we should enjoy everything. It is
often necessary we should be deprived of many things. Let us be careful not to conclude from the privations imposed on us only as
remedies that we may ever be in want of anything that is to our advantage. Let us firmly believe that if anything is necessary or really
useful for us, our all-powerful Father will give it to us without fail. To those gathered round to hear Him our Savior said: If you evil as you
are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more  will your heavenly Father...? 59

This is an unquestionable truth of our holy faith, and any doubt about it, through lack of confidence on our part, can only be
blameworthy and an insult to Christ who again and again made the most definite promises about the matter. Do not be anxious for your
life, what you shall eat He tells us, nor yet for your body, what you shall put on. Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or
gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you of much more value than they?... And as for clothing, why are you
anxious? Consider how the lilies of the field grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was
arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field,  which flourishes today but tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how
much more you, O you of little faith! Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink? or 'What are we
to put on?', for after all these things the Gentiles seek; but your Father knows that you need all these things. 60 He has given His word
and there is only one condition attached -- that we seek first the kingdom of God and his justice, that we make this search the one
great aim of our lives by bringing everything else into relation with it to make it successful and fulfill our every duty with this end in view.
In return for this He will unburden us of all anxiety, He will take upon Himself all our needs and the needs of those who belong to us
or for whom we have to provide, and His care will be all the greater in proportion to the degree of confidence and surrender to His will
we strive to attain.

59 Luke 11:13
60 Matt 6:25-32; Luke 12:22-30

Do we then for love of Him give up the desire to possess the perishable goods of this world? By virtue of another of Christ's
promises these goods a hundredfold, as well as eternal life, are assured us in this life, and as a result we shall be rich while we are
judged to be poor. Freed from the thirst for wealth, from the possession of it and the burden that accompanies it, we shall enjoy a
peace and contentment unknown to those who, appearing to possess riches, are in reality possessed by them and cannot escape the cares
they bring with them. In this way we shall experience the truth of St. Paul's words that godliness has the promise of the present life as well
as of that which is to come. 61

61 1 Tim. 4:8

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RE: Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence by Father Jean Baptiste Saint-Jure - by Hildegard of Bingen - 02-21-2021, 04:25 PM

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