I’ve been reminded in ways small and large in recent days that we are not in total control. Things can happen that totally disrupt our lives and plans, that turn everything upside down. We don’t always recognize that, and spend much of our time living under the illusion that we are in control, that our security is in our own hands.
For me, the things that shatter that illusion are reminders that our security is in God, not in any of the things of this world. I know that if I can remember that God is all I need, I can live with whatever disruptions I have to face.
Tomorrow we celebrate the feast of St. Ignatius. His Suscipe reflects the mindset that ought to be our aspiration.
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.
It is easy to see God in the beauty of nature or in the love a friend. It is so easy to shout hosannas and sing songs of thanksgiving when everything is going our way. It is not always easy, however, to see how God’s hand is at work in painful and difficult times (let alone, as I wrote about yesterday, being able to welcome suffering as easily as joy).
As I struggle with my parish community to come to grips with a lost that is causing great pain to all of us, it is hard for me to see what the road ahead will look like. In such times it is good to be reminded that even here – actually, especially here – there is God.
I came across some words of Francis de Sales that remind us that there is only one thing to do in times of strife: cling simply to God. He writes:
Strive to see God in all things without exception, and acquiesce in His will with absolute submission. Do everything for God, uniting yourself to Him by a mere upward glance, or by the overflowing of your heart towards Him. Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inward peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. Commend all to God, and then lie still and be at rest in His bosom. Whatever happens, abide steadfast in a determination to cling simply to God, trusting to His eternal love for you; and if you find that you have wandered forth from this shelter, recall your heart quietly and simply. Maintain a holy simplicity of mind, and do not smother yourself with a host of cares, wishes, or longings, under any pretext.
Commend all to God, and then lie still and be at rest in His bosom. Sounds good to me.