CONFORMITY TO THE WILL OF GOD
II. EXCELLENCE OF THE VIRTUE
All the Saints have ever kept steadfastly in view the fulfilment of the Divine will, thoroughly understanding that herein consists the entire perfection of a soul. The Blessed Henry Suso used to say: “God does not desire that we should abound in knowledge, but that in all things we should submit ourselves to His will.” And St. Teresa: “All that one who devotes himself to prayer has need to acquire, is conformity of his own will to the Divine will; and he may rest assured that herein consists the highest perfection. Whoever practises this best will receive from God, the greatest gifts, and will make most progress in the interior life.” The Dominican nun the Blessed Stephana of Soncino, being carried one day in vision into Heaven, saw certain persons with whom she had been acquainted in life, placed amongst the Seraphim; and it was told her that they had been raised to so high a place in glory through the perfect conformity to God’s will which they had practised when on earth. And the Blessed Suso already mentioned used to say, when speaking of himself: “I would much rather be the vilest worm of earth through God’s will than a Seraph through my own.”
While we are in this world, we should learn from the Blessed in Heaven the way we have to love God. The pure and perfect love which the Blessed in Heaven entertain for God lies in their own perfect union with the Divine will. Should the Seraphim understand it to be His will that they must employ themselves for all eternity in gathering into a heap the sands of the seashore, or in plucking up the grass from the fields, they would willingly do it with all possible pleasure. Nay, more: if God were to give them to understand that they should go to burn in the flames of hell, they would immediately precipitate themselves into that abyss, in order to accomplish the Divine will. And it is for this that Jesus Christ taught us to pray — namely, that we perform the Divine will on earth as the Saints perform it in Heaven: Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven (Matt. vi. 10). The Lord calls David a man after His own heart, because David accomplished all His desires: I have found a man according to my own heart, who shall do all my wills (Acts xiii. 22). David was ever prepared to embrace the Divine will, as he frequently declared: My heart is ready, O God; my heart is ready (Ps. lvi. 8, and cvii. 1). And, on the other hand, the only prayer which he made to the Lord was that He would teach him to do His Will: Teach me to do thy will (Ps. cxlii. 10).
A single act of perfect conformity to the Divine will is sufficient to make one a Saint. Look at Saul whom Jesus Christ illuminates and converts, while he is persecuting the Church. What does Saul do? What does he say? He simply makes an offering of himself to do the Divine will: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? (Acts, ix. 6). And, behold, the Lord declares him to be a vessel of election and Apostle of the Gentiles: This man is to me a vessel of election to carry my name before the Gentiles (Acts, ix. 15). Yes, for he who gives his will to God gives Him everything. He who gives God his goods in alms, his blood by disciplines, his food by fasting, gives to God a part of what he possesses; but he who gives God his will gives Him the whole; so that he can say to Him: Lord, I am poor, but I give Thee all that is in my power; in giving Thee my will, there remains nothing for me to give Thee. But this is precisely all that our God claims from us: My son, give me thy heart (Prov. xxiii. 26). That is to say, thy will. “There is no offering,” says St. Augustine, “more acceptable to God than to say to him: Take possession of us!” O Lord, we give our whole will to Thee; make us understand what Thou desirest of us, and we will perform it.
If then we would give full satisfaction to the heart of God, we must in everything bring our own will into conformity with His; and not only into conformity but into uniformity, too, as regards all that God ordains. Conformity signifies the conjoining of our own will to the will of God; but uniformity signifies, moreover, our making of the Divine will and our own will one will only, so that we desire nothing but what God desires, and His sole will becomes ours. This is the sum and substance of that perfection to which we ought to be ever aspiring. This must be the aim of all our works, and of all our desires, meditations and prayers. For this we must invoke the assistance of our Patron saints and of our Guardian Angels, and, above all, of our Divine Mother Mary, who was the most perfect of all the Saints, for the reason that she ever embraced most perfectly the Divine will.