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CHAPTER IX.

THE DOCTRINE AND VARIOUS PRACTICES OF RESIGNATION.

RESIGN thyself wholly to God, submitting and conforming thy will in all things to His blessed will and disposal, for thus and no otherwise wilt thou at length obtain true and abiding peace of mind; thus will it be evident that thou truly lovest God. Therefore, whether God gives thee prosperity or adversity, whether He wills thee to be in light or in darkness, remain content, bearing all changes according to thy strength with a calm and steadfast mind, praising God and giving Him thanks. When thou seemest to thyself to be pining in great darkness and aridity, and art oppressed by grievous perplexities, if thou dost then conform thyself to the Divine Will, and for God’s sake endure that misery and affliction with sweet tranquillity, thou art much more pleasing to God than if thou wert illuminated with divine light, and all were joyful within.

In trouble and affliction man cannot so easily seek himself as in sensible sweetness and consolation, for in the latter there is mostly some mingling of nature, and if the soul is incautious, it readily contracts a stain through immoderate delight. Assuredly it cannot be that any one can endure anything with resignation for the glory of God, without perceiving in some degree the divine sweetness. If, however, it should happen that he does not perceive it, that is, 164sensibly taste it, (because God hides Himself at the moment), yet even so what he suffers is acceptable to him, because he knows that he wishes to bear it to the eternal glory of God.

If the Will of God is sweet to thee, when He wills that thou shouldest be, in health and live, but is bitter to thee when He wills that thou shouldest be ill and die, thou art not yet fully resigned, thy heart is not yet right. If thou desirest to have it right, submit it in all things to the Divine Will, which is ever right. Suffer God to do with thee what He may will, and as He may will, in life and in death, in time and in eternity. Let God with thy consent do whatsoever pleaseth Him with thy soul and body, with thy friends and thy possessions, and with all thy concerns. Desire only that His Will be always done, and let that Divine Will be thy greatest consolation. Say to God: “O Lord, as Thou hast willed from eternity, so be it, and not as I will: let Thy most gracious Will be done in me and concerning me, and in all men and in all things, now and for ever.”

Thou canst ask for nothing better, nor canst thou pour forth in the presence of God any more excellent prayer than that thou desirest His Will to be done.

Even if thon hast not long since begun to lead a better life, and thou art about to die, nevertheless be thou resigned, and seek not to know or to enquire whether God will .send thee after thy death to purgatory, or receive thee at once into heaven. Take thou pleasure in the beauty of His justice, as well as in the sweetness of His mercy. These are the words of one 165who is truly resigned: “O Lord, my God, if it would tend to Thy praise that after my death I should be tormented for fifty years in the flames of purgatory, I would forthwith cast myself at Thy feet, and most readily accept those pains for Thy honour.” The holy Fathers affirm that he who to the eternal glory of God loves and embraces the justice of the Lord in his regard equally with His mercy, obtains the full remission of all his sins, and of the punishment due to them, as easily as a drop of water is consumed in a burning furnace.

If thou art a man of good-will, God desires to benefit thee; He wills that thou shouldst enjoy eternal bliss with Him. He wills this, because He is supremely good and merciful. The Creator abounds in all things, and is in no want of thy good things; but He seeks a heart turned towards Him, humble, resigned, and full of firm confidence in Him, such for example as He found in that thief, to whom He said, hanging on the cross, “This day thou shalt be with Me in paradise” (St. Luke xxiii. 43). If thy heart be of this sort, thou canst in no wise be separated from God, for He will with more than fatherly affection be with then in life and death, and will protect and console thee. He will assuredly do what He hath promised by His Prophet, saying, “As one whom the mother caresseth, so will I comfort you, and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice ” (Isaias lxvi. 13, 14).

Therefore, both living and dying, commit thyself and ail things securely to the providence of God, casting 166all thy cares upon Him, yet always reasonably doing what it belongs to thee to do. Lean firmly on His benignity and goodness, and trust fully in Him, whatever may happen, for in truth He takes greater care of thee than thou canst take of thyself. The Lord greatly loves thee and thy salvation, who of His gratuitous mercy made thee to His own image and likeness, and for most pure and ardent love of thee willed to be incarnate, to suffer, and to die. He is possessed by as great a longing for all who piously worship Him and sincerely love Him, as if His whole being and happiness depended on them. If the love that all parents ever had, have, or will have for their children be compared with the charity with which God loves thee, it will be as a little drop of water compared with a vast ocean.

Nor must thou be doubtful of His surpassing love for thee, because perchance all, or nearly all, thy life has been ill-spent or wicked. Although the crimes by which thou hast offended Him be innumerable and most heinous, nevertheless since thou hast sincerely confessed them, and turning away from them, and sincerely humbling thyself, hast been converted to God, and dost desire and strive from thy heart to please Him, thou art verily dear to thy Lord, and to all the court of heaven. God, who has given thee true contrition, will doubtless also give thee pardon; nor doth He regard what thou wast formerly, but what thou now art or desirest to be. It is assuredly to the great honour of God that He deigns so mercifully and benignantly to receive a most unworthy 167sinner returning to Him. And therefore do the heavenly citizens break forth in sweetest melodies of divine praise, when they see the Supreme Majesty with such goodness condescend to a sinful soul. Believe without any hesitation that God embraces thee with immense love; believe also that He who so loves thee, both willeth and is able to dispose all things well for the salvation of thy soul. He seeks nothing more from thee than humble resignation of thyself in all things, renunciation of thy own will, and full confidence in Him.

If thou art not able to resign thyself as freely and entirely as thou wouldst wish, if thou art fearful and faint-hearted at the approach of adversity or of death, be not troubled; for God regards and approves of thy will and desire. And in order to console thy weakness, Christ Himself willed to be seized with fear and sorrow when His Passion and Death drew nigh (St. Matth. xxvi. 38). Therefore cast all thy fears into the abyss of His mercy and goodness; and say to him, if not with a most ready heart, at least piously with thy lips; “O Lord, I offer, resign, and commit myself to Thee; Thy will be done.” It often happens, that a man of unresigned will, receives adversity with more courage and confidence, and bears them outwardly more bravely, than he whose will is resigned.

Repel indignantly from thy mind all inordinate sadness, and, as has been said above, lean firmly on the benignity of God, saying with the blessed Job: “Although He should kill me, I will trust in Him” 168(Job xiii. 15). To this also the Prophet Isaias exhorts thee when he saith, “He that hath walked in darkness and hath no light, let him hope in the name of the Lord, and lean upon his God” (Isaias l. 10). It can never be, that the Lord will desert a man of up right will and true faith whose hope is in Him. Wherefore He saith, “Because he hoped in Me, I will deliver him” (Ps. xc. 14).

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