Today we offer an essay by Père Caussade, “Bearing Up with the Crisis and Chastisement of the Faith.” Although his counsel is for a cloistered nun, you’ll soon see how apt it is for us today as we endure the reign of this most miserable of popes.
The disaster of which you speak is, as you say, a most visible scourge of God; happy will they be who take advantage of it to save their souls. These punishments, borne well, as from the hands of God, are of more value than all worldly prosperity. At the same time they may be made, by a bad use, the occasion to some of eternal reprobation.
This will be, however, entirely by their own fault, and their very great fault, for what could be more reasonable, or easier in a sense than to make, as I said before, a virtue of necessity? Why make a useless and criminal resistance to the chastisements of God, Who is our Father and Who strikes us only to detach us from the miserable pleasures of this world? Could He do us a greater favour than to deliver us from attaching ourselves to that which would cause us to lose eternal happiness and our own souls!
On such occasions it is well to think often and attentively of this passage in the writings of one of the Fathers of the Church. “Such is the goodness of our heavenly Father that even His anger proceeds from His mercy, since He only strikes us to withdraw us from sin, and to save us.” Like a wise surgeon He cuts the mortified flesh away from that which is sound to save the life of the patient, and to prevent the infection from spreading. We should accustom ourselves to see everything in the light of faith; and then no event of this life, nor desires, nor fears will have any effect on us. Those strong hopes that so frequently upset the peace of the soul and the tranquil course of life, even those will make very little impression on us. How blind men are! and how much attached to their own ideas!
How rarely one meets with anyone who will own that he has been obliged to seek and to take good advice! St. Francis de Sales had good reason to say that we are all wanting in sense. At least let us understand the depth of the misery and blindness into which sin has caused us to fall. Let us learn from this to be always distrustful of ourselves, and to guard against our own judgments and perverse ideas.
St. Catherine of Siena was so convinced of the truth of this that she wished she could cry out constantly in a way to be heard by everyone: “Lord help me, come to my assistance and have pity on me!” Do not forget in future that a simple “Fiat” with regard to your present pains, and to those which you fear in the future either for yourself, or for others, will suffice to amass for you a treasure of peace even on earth. If this practice does not bring perfect peace immediately, it will, at least, fill your soul with joy and enable you to taste a solid consolation in all your pains and fears.
Far from pitying you I consider that you are more to be congratulated on having, at last, an opportunity of practising true charity. The antipathy you feel towards the person with whom you have such continual intercourse, the difference in your ideas and tastes, the offence she causes you by her manners and conversation are so many infallible signs that the charity you show her is purely supernatural and without any admixture of human feeling. This will be a way of amassing pure gold, and it depends entirely on yourself whether or not you will heap up an immense treasure. Be grateful, therefore, to the good God and in order to lose nothing of the inestimable advantages of your present position follow out exactly the rules that I will now give you.
1. Bear patiently the involuntary feelings of disgust that this Sister’s behaviour causes you, just as you would bear a sudden attack of fever or megrim (migraine). Your antipathy is really, in fact, an interior fever, with its shivering and paroxysms. This is very crucifying, humiliating and painful, consequently is more meritorious and sanctifying.
2. Never speak, as perhaps the others do, about this Sister unless to speak kindly about her, remembering that she has her good qualities. And which of us is without bad ones? Who is perfect in this world? It is possible that without your will or knowledge you are as great a trial to her as God allows her to be to you. God often polishes one diamond by friction with another, says Fenelon.
3. When you have committed some fault in this matter do not distress yourself but humble yourself quietly without voluntary vexation either with her or yourself, without anxiety, annoyance or uneasiness. If we treat our faults in this way they will be to our profit and advantage. God keeps us in a state of true humility by these miseries, and the daily faults by which we discover our own pettiness.
4. For the rest, unless your duty obliges you, do not meddle in anything that is said or done, let everything go on without speaking or thinking about it. Abandon all to divine Providence. What does it matter if everything goes, if everything perishes, provided that we belong to God and save our souls? But, I almost hear you say, if such or such a thing should happen what shall I do? This! I will take no notice, I will have nothing to do with it, because I should be sorry to lose this happy state of abandonment which makes me live in complete and absolute dependence on God from day to day, hour to hour, moment to moment, without a thought of the future, nor even of tomorrow.
Tomorrow will take care of itself. He who sustains us today with His invisible hand, will sustain us tomorrow. The manna in the desert was only given from day to day, and whoever, through want of confidence, or a false wisdom, gathered it up for the next day, found it spoilt. Let us not in our anxious and ignorant foresight make unnecessary provision for ourselves, when God in His wisdom and foreknowledge provides for us.
Let us depend entirely on His fatherly care and abandon ourselves to it utterly both for our temporal concerns and our spiritual and eternal interests. This is true and total abandonment which binds God to take all under His care with respect to those who abandon all and thus pay that honour to His sovereign dominion, His power, wisdom, goodness and mercy that is due to all His infinite perfections. Amen.
(From Fr. de Caussade’s “Abandon à la Providence Divine,” edited by Fr. H. Ramière, S. J., Wilder Publications, Inc.. Kindle Edition.)
† Remember – Our Lady needs us to obey: First Saturdays of Reparation, daily rosary, at least 5 mysteries, wear her brown scapular and live your Total Consecration to her Immaculate Heart, offering daily duties in reparation and for the conversion of poor sinners.
† Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
† Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
† Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
† St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
† St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!
~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!