Today’s ✠Challoner Meditation: August 17th

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

AUGUST 17TH

ON RESIGNATION TO THE WILL OF GOD IN ALL OUR SUFFERINGS

Consider first, that ‘tis a most certain truth that nothing happens in the world, excepting sin, which does not come directly from the hand of God, and which is not the effect of his holy will. So that all our sufferings, of what kind soever they may be, are all ordained by him, and all thus pass through his hands before they can reach us. Which is so true, that even those sufferings, which seem to be brought upon us immediately by the wickedness of men, are in effect , all of then sent by the ordinance of God; who, though he abhors whatsoever there is of malice and sin in the will or design of the men or devils, whom he suffers to afflict or persecute us; yet most certainly he not only permits, but absolutely wills, the afflictions, trials, or punishments which we suffer on these occasions. And ‘tis his intention and our duty that in all these sufferings we should not look so much at the visible hand of the unjust creature, as at the invisible hand of the just God; and that in all these cases we should in such manner detest the malice or wickedness of the men that afflict us, as ever to submit to, and even to embrace the chastisements of the Lord, as of a tender father, who often makes use of a rod for the correction of his children, which he afterwards casts into the fire. O how resigned should we be if we always remembered these truths!

Consider 2ndly, that all our sufferings not only come to us from the hand of God, but all are designed by him for our greater good. He is the best of fathers; his fatherly providence and his tender love for us exceeds all that we can express or conceive. The holy scriptures are full of repeated declarations of this truth; it cannot be called in question without contradicting both the divine word and the perpetual experience of the servants of God. So that we ought to be always fully assured, considering God’s infinite wisdom, goodness, and love for us, that all that he sends is for the best, and is indeed the best for us. See, my soul, that thou always remember this truth, in all thy pains, sicknesses, crosses, and afflictions; and in general in all things that happen to thee contrary to thy desire, expectation, or inclination. Upon all these occasions thou must consider Jesus Christ himself as offering thee this cup, or this cross, desiring thee to receive it for his sake; and assuring thee that it shall be the means to bring thee to heaven. O! how true it is, as we shall clearly see one day in the light of God, that these very things which we are apt to consider as evils, are indeed great and solid goods; and that through them, millions of souls shall be brought to eternal happiness, which without them might have been eternally miserable. O let us learn then to resign ourselves without reserve to all the appointments of a merciful and loving providence!

Consider 3rdly, the degrees by which we ought to endeavour to advance towards the perfection of this great virtue of the resignation of ourselves in all things to the divine will. The first and lowest is, to support at least with patience the evils that befall us; and this because they come from the hand of God; and humbly to submit to them as the just punishment of our sins, saying with the prophet: ‘I will bear the wrath of the Lord, because I have sinned against him,’ Mic. vii. 9, and with the psalmist, under afflictions, ‘I was dumb, and I opened not my mouth, because it is thy doing,’ Ps. xxxviii. 10. The second degree, which is much more perfect than the first, is when we not only endeavour to bear our sufferings with patience, so as not to murmur or repine on those occasions, or otherwise offend God; but also are ready and willing to suffer, because such is the will of God; so that the consideration of God’s holy will and pleasure makes the cross (which according to nature we dread and abhor,) agreeable to us, inasmuch as the will of God is thereby accomplished in us. The third and most perfect degree of resignation, which carries with it the perfection of divine love and charity, is when we do not only readily and willingly accept of the cross from the hand of God but even rejoice in suffering for the love of him; and take an unspeakable content in crosses, in adversities, in humiliation, in poverty, in being condemned by the world, & c., so that we would not even wish to be without them, out of the pure love of him who chose a suffering life for the love of us; and because the accomplishment of his will is the whole object of our desire, of our love, and of our joy, O! what a heaven should we find upon earth if we could once arrive at this third degree of divine resignation! For what can disturb that soul that always rejoices at the accomplishment of the will of God, and finds her pleasure and content in suffering?

Conclude to make it thy study to ascend by these steps of resignation to the holy will of God in all things, from virtue to virtue, till thou arrive at the top of the ladder where thou shalt find thy God, and be for ever inseparable united to him.

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