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Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence — Book Club

August 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Book Club, Vicki Burbach

Having a Joyful Heart

Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence

It is in order that you may make the doing of His will your chief food that the means to do it are so frequently given. How many inconveniences and sacrifices are in fact imposed upon us by illness! – plans upset, expense incurred, unpleasant remedies, perhaps, loneliness and lack of care – a host of large and small annoyances. There are so many Trustful Surrenderopportunities to say, ‘God wishes it so. His will be done.’ Do not let any of these opportunities pass and you will be among those souls most dear to Christ. “For whoever” He said, “does the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, my sister, and my mother.” – Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, pg. 74-75.

I have written this post so many times, it’s ridiculous! First, I know this quote is about illness, but it made me think of all those little annoyances in daily life.  So I was going to write about several events this weekend that called to mind this quote, and how I faced them with a “joyful heart”, knowing that these events were the will of God, and were, therefore gifts I should receive with gratitude. But once I shared a few things, it became clear that my “joyful heart” would come across more like an examination of conscience in retrospect, and it fell flat – as in, when I TELL you that this or that didn’t annoy me, it clearly did annoy me, or I wouldn’t be TELLING you about it.

THEN, I was going to discuss all those “little inconveniences” that we face each day (in general), and how thrilled I am to be reading this book – AGAIN – because it has helped me to approach all of them with a completely different perspective – as in, STRESS FREE, in what would normally be (for me) extremely stressful situations — but see, there I go again…it doesn’t come across honestly.

FINALLY, I was going to ask you about those little annoyances in your life, but then I decided that I risked turning the COMMENT box into a COMPLAINT box, and how inspirational would THAT be?!

In the end, I decided, without going into detail, to share what this book means to me. Here goes:

As I sit here Sunday night, the night before we start school (We homeschool, have I mentioned that?), the bookcases and walls in our classroom are partially painted, the shelves themselves have yet to be touched – they are piled high in the hall upstairs. And everything from the classroom – including boxes and boxes of books, desks and lesson plans – sits in our bedroom, in complete disarray. (Have I mentioned that we’re supposed to start school tomorrow?) But I’m smiling – actually smiling…because “God wishes it so.”

I know – sounds like complaining in disguise. But it’s really NOT. This is NOT Me being trite. This is Me being absolutely sincere. Every time I read this book, I feel giddy with joy and peace – for a while. The problem is that if this would have happened six months from now, I’d probably have a much different reaction, because the excitement would be gone and at some point I’d probably fall back into my old habits.

But the author has an answer for that too! Read a little further, and he shares the following story:

A man has to make a journey on foot. He must go across rough country, he is without food and almost exhausted, so he falls repeatedly. But he gets to his feet again each time, determined not to give in and, come what may, arrive at his destination. When he finally arrives, is it not true to say that his perseverance has been all the greater and more heroic in proportion to the number of obstacles he has had to overcome and the falls from which he has recovered? – pg. 80

So it’s not just about reading the book and flying high until I crash. I will fall. But I can get back up. And I will fall again, and I will get back up again. And I can read this book over and over for inspiration.

The book jacket of Spiritual Combat claimed that St. Francis de Sales carried that book with him for 18 years. I think I will follow his example, but rather than carry Spiritual Combat, I may just carry Trustful Surrender with me for the rest of my life.

 

Discussion Questions:

1. Please share if this book has caused you to look at those little occurrences with new eyes – whether illness or other inconveniences.

2. Please share anything from the book that has moved you up to this point, and don’t forget to tell us WHY you think it impacted you so strongly.

Schedule (TAN version):

Week 1 (Aug. 7) pg. 11-52

Week 2 (Aug. 14) pg. 53-97

Week 3 (Aug. 21) pg. 97-139

Happy Reading!

 

Read more: Previous Book Club Posts
For More Information on the Book Club:  http://spiritualdirection.com/csd-book-club

 

Announcing our Next Book: Journal of a Soul, by Pope John XXIII

September 4 – December 13

Now that we’ve read two books which gave us a look into spirituality on an abstract level, let’s see how these concepts were put into practice by one of Christ’s close friends, Blessed Pope John XXIII. The following paragraphs are taken from the back of the book:

No other pope of this century has aroused so much interest and universal affection throughout all the world as has Pope John XXIII. Journal of a Soul is an inspiring reading experience that records this pope’s thoughts and traces his spiritual development from adolescence to the seminary to a career as a priest, a European papal diplomat, Patriarch of Venice, and finally Pope John XXIII. This Image Books edition features a biographical portrait of Pope John by his personal secretary, Monsignor Loris Capovilla. It also includes several of his most moving prayers, sixty brief thoughts and aphorisms, his “Rules for the Ascetic Life,” many of his letters, even his last will and testament. Christians everywhere will welcome the reissue of “one of the most original, interesting, and inspiring revelations of intimate personal experiences ever written,” which “ranks well with the classic spiritual autobiographies” (Critic).

Journal of a Soul, the first ever such work from a Roman pontiff, opens new windows into the soul of the man himself.

NOTE:  Here is the version I have: Journal of the Soul. This is the version from which I'll be quoting.

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About Vicki Burbach

Vicki Burbach is a wife and homeschooling mother of six children ages four to sixteen years who relishes the calm inspiration of spiritual reading amidst the roller coaster of life. A passionate convert to the Faith, Vicki is an avid reader who started the SpiritualDirection.com book club so she could embark with like-minded bibliophiles on a spiritual journey through some of the greatest Catholic books ever written. She is author of the new book How to Read Your Way to Heaven - A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between. You can also find her at pelicansbreast.com

please consider supporting our mission with a donation!

  • jmm483

    I am reading the book. For years it has annoyed me that my wife is disorganized…..she is also a gifted artist. I am laughing this morning after reading your post because I have been annoyed with and have been trying to change my wife. All along God had been working on ME!! Thanks for choosing Trustful Surrender Dan. John

  • Victoria Campbell

    For me this book continues to challenge my response to everything from small annoyances to the bigger crises that come my way as the mother of 3 children teen to young adult. So far this book is causing me to realize that I am flunking part of faith 101 or at the very least that this aspect of faith is a place of opportunity for true growth. Just like Vicki speaks of cruising along and waiting to crash this book is offering me a challenge to turn to God with everything great or small and to surrender it to God in complete trust. This is difficult for me the consummate worrier and person who tends to always move into fix it mentality and who allows this annoyances to frequently steal my joy.

    I loved reading the book the Lilies of the Field the few years that I homeschooled my children. This verse from Matthew is one that I am sure I need to recite to myself daily and take to heart..

    .”Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?
    Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?*Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers(Lilies of the Field) grow. They do not work or spin .But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them….”

    This is a beautiful image and it challenges me to remain as those lilies in God’s filed and surrender.

    • $1650412

      Victoria- I think what you mentioned here is so real for so many of us, though. We tend to feel burdened by the responsibility to do what is good and right, and that when we get this that or the other thing in a type of holy flow, peace and happiness are the natural result. I guess Tr.Surr.is calling us to a more profound place of joy- not dependent upon our cooperation with God in action as much as incorporation into His heart— now, I’m not sure you can divorce the two from one another- (I think that is actually a heresy), but I think as we train ourselves to be disposed to receive everything from Christ as a gift of love, and to offer everything to Christ as a gift of love, then we may become less ‘balled up’ about the results and more secure in process. Does that sound right?

      • Victoria Campbell

        Hi Jo. The idea of receiving everything from God as a gift of love is an easy one where the gift is one that we welcome and desire but not as easy of course where it is something that we may think “undesirable.” But this trust and surrender is exactly what this book is clearly promoting as the pathway to peace to use a phrase from the Serenity Prayer. When faced with a result we deem to be be undesirable, it is here that we need to surrender to God and trust his wisdom secure in the knowledge that our eternal happiness is what he desires for each of us.

  • abandon56

    I carry this with me in case I get time to glance at it when I’m out and about. What helps me is that it reminds me of His call to trust Him for everything. I can certainly relate to that desire to analyze and “fix” things i.e, myself, which is pride. This book helps me to focus on what’s important to God, not on what I THINK is important to Him.

  • Bernadette

    Thank you Vicki for introducing me to Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence. I have read it twice and know I will be reading it many more times. I was so happy after reading it…it ties up so many ‘loose ends’ in my thinking about the Will of God. It is truly a blessing for me and I’m sure for all the readers in this book club. Personally, the following quote from the book seems to me to sum up the essence of it all:
    God is faithful says the Apostle, and will not permit you to be tempted (or afflicted) beyond your strength, 35 but it is necessary for you to be so, since through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God 36 in the steps of our Redeemer who said of Himself, Did not the Christ have to suffer all these things before entering into His glory? 37 If you refused to accept these tribulations you would be acting against your best interests. You are like a block of marble in the hands of the sculptor. The sculptor must chip, hew and smooth it to make it into a statue that is a work of art. God wishes to make us the living image of Himself. All we need to think of is to keep still in His hands while He works on us, and we can rest assured that the chisel will never strike the slightest blow that is not needed for His purposes and our sanctification; for, as St. Paul says, the will of God is your sanctification. 38After reading this book, I feel I can accept, even more readily, the will of God in my life and even smile at all the little inconveniences of each day knowing that being exercised in patience and fortitude in this way, that when any type of catastrophic event happens in my life, I will be ‘schooled’ in accepting it from God’s hands and will work steadfastly with fortitude and God’s help by His grace to make the best of the situation believing that one day my life will be better for it. Also, I believe if we thank God for everything that happens in our life, He will honour that. I will continue to make a habit of thanking God for the good times and well as the bad times. That is, I believe, exercising trust in God. God bless you Vicki and all the members of the Spiritual Book Club.
    God is faithful says the Apostle, and will not permit you to be tempted (or afflicted) beyond your strength, 35 but it is necessary for you to be so, since through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God 36 in the steps of our Redeemer who said of Himself, Did not the Christ have to suffer all these things before entering into His glory? 37 If you refused to accept these tribulations you would be acting against your best interests. You are like a block of marble in the hands of the sculptor. The sculptor must chip, hew and smooth it to make it into a statue that is a work of art. God wishes to make us the living image of Himself. All we need to think of is to keep still in His hands while He works on us, and we can rest assured that the chisel will never strike the slightest blow that is not needed for His purposes and our sanctification; for, as St. Paul says, the will of God is your sanctification. 38
    After reading this book, I feel I can accept, even more readily, the will of God in my life and even smile at all the little inconveniences of each day knowing that being exercised in patience and fortitude in this way, that when any type of catastrophic event happens in my life, I will be ‘schooled’ in accepting it from God’s hands and will work steadfastly with fortitude and God’s help by His grace to make the best of the situation believing that one day my life will be better for it. Also, I believe if we thank God for everything that happens in our life, He will honour that. I will continue to make a habit of thanking God for the good times and well as the bad times. That is, I believe, exercising trust in God.
    God bless you Vicki and all the members of the Spiritual Book Club.

    • Bernadette

      Sorry, the above quote got copied twice!

    • LizEst

      …and not only must we be thankful for all God permits good or bad, we must find joy in it simply because it is His divine will. To find joy under those circumstances, when carrying out something truly distasteful, is the beginning of supernatural joy, It is that joy that comes from doing the will of God.

      Psalm 16:6 says, “The lot marked out for me is my delight: welcome indeed the heritage that falls to me!” And, what is that heritage? Psalm 119:111 has the answer, “Your will is my heritage for ever, the joy of my heart.”

      What incredible joy that is! Our heritage, our birthright, is to do the will of God. That is what is going to bring us that abundant joy beginning in this life and, continuing on to the fullest, forever in the life to come. Our eternal joy will not only be found in praising, loving and worshiping God but also in doing His will forever.

  • Sanctus 3

    There are so many books that I would like to carry around! Thankfully, Kindle helps….

    My most difficult surrender is time. When I was working (as a high school teacher), everything worked on the bell system. Then there was home preparation, chores, etc. Now that my wife and I are retired, I find that I am rather jealous of my time–most of which is free, since we live in an apartment and have little maintenance to do.

    But my wife has a very large family, with lots of nieces, nephews, and grands (we have no children). So that means many parties for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc. I do not like parties.

    But trustful surrender has taught me to TRY to willingly give up my preferred silence and solitude and attend (even joyfully) such events.

    Each morning, now, when I put on my wristwatch, I kiss the dial and tell the Lord that every minute of this day is His, and He can have me do whatever He wants. I used to think partying and such things were a waste of time. But now that I try to think of it all as God’s time, it doesn’t have to be a waste, and might even be something positive.

    As I say, that is the area we have been working on lately–the surrender of time. There are a lot more areas to go!

    • Victoria Campbell

      I love the thought of kissing the wristwatch and telling God the time is his…think I may start kissing my droid I am a bit too attached to it already. I can totally relate to desiring solitude and feeling forced to go to the obligatory events. Is a great challenge but giving that time over to God and asking him to accomplish his purpose during these gatherings seems like a good start to surrendering our will and giving this time to God to do with us what he will. I am going to remember this at the next get together with my husbands family.

    • Vicki

      I love that – kissing your watch for God! Your comments remind of my favorite part of The Screwtape Letters, where the devil talks about humans so foolishly thinking that Time belongs to them. That’s “me” 100%!

    • I stopped wearing a wristwatch a few years ago just for that reason. The styles are very pretty and I have found myself tempted simply for that reason, but I have so far refused to go back to wearing one again.

  • Robert Kraus

    I liked the quote about ‘illness’ and ‘inconviences’ and found myself stopping and dwelling on it as I’ve been reading this book. I’ve found, in my own experience, that illness clarifies my life like nothing else. If it’s a real bad illness, it reminds me of my own mortality, and suddenly all the superfluous stuff in my life – the things, the money, the petty anxieties – dissipitate like clouds, and I’m left with a brief glimpse of stark reality. This reality being my short present life, the inevitability of death, and an encounter with God in the next. But like you said, this clarity doesn’t last a while, and soon it’s easy to slip back into the tendrils of the world.

  • $1650412

    I find myself constantly challenged by a couple of things in grasping what De Cassaude teaches- the first is what I think I need, and the second is what I think I am supposed to control. Relinquishing my needs is a part of recongnizing Jesus as Lord of my life and embracing poverty- that part is not so hard to understand. The thing that gives me the most trouble is when I think I suffer because of things I should have managed better, controlled or been responsible for, so to speak- here I find it a constant challenge to accept the so called ‘self-inflicted wound’ with trustful surrrender. I do believe at this point in my life though now, that even these things are part of our cross and while we continue to do the best we can for the most part to be holy, when we stumble or fall or fail, even that is no shock to God, and He works with it. It is uncomfortable to even type it because I never want this to become something I just brush off or ignore in my life, but neither can I allow myself to be manipulated by interior recrimination over it. I think part of trustful surrender in the Lord is to also cultivate an attitude or disposition of penance. So, not only can I be maybe more patient with aggravations or unexpected irritants and hardships but also embrace more fully those difficulties or sufferings that are a result of poor choices as a means of reparation and the pruning tool of grace working in my life or on behalf of others.

    • Becky Ward

      De Caussade? Are you reading the same book as the rest of us Jo? 🙂
      (I was really confused about the titles at first too.)

      • $1650412

        ACK! Maybe not, let me check that! I thought I had a different edition or updated translation than the one from TAN, under something of a different name-but that it was the same book….(Well, that would be par for the course for me now wouldn’t it!? ) Ha! You are SO right! I am in Abandonment to Divine Providence- not the same one! Well, it might take a me a minute to catch up here! Thanks Becky! Sorry everyone!

        • Man – in front of 500 people too… Humility only comes through humiliation. You are deeply blessed.

          • $1650412

            Oh the necessary gift! Actually, clearly I have been inattentive and really need to think before I type to make sure what I think I have a burning desire to contribute applies for the welfare of the afflicted reader/hearer. I’ll get to work on that right away!

          • LizEst

            Jo -It’s understandable. Many have thought they were one and the same book, including yours truly. Thankfully, it’s not a long or difficult read in order to catch up. Since it seems you may not have the book, check your email. I’ve taken the liberty of sending you the pdf. All you have to do is print it out. If you do have the book, just disregard. 😉

          • Alexandra Campbell

            Liz, would you mind emailing me the pdf? I have been reading on line, after I too realized I had been reading the wrong book! I would like to have a copy to download and perhaps print. Thanks! alex.campbell.phd@gmail.com

          • LizEst

            Sure thing. Check your email. Happy reading!

        • praymore

          Perhaps the faux pas is the Holy Spirits way of getting ‘Abandonment to DP’ on the CSD book club list. ‘Trustful Surrender’ is awesome and ‘Abandon to DP’ delves into the same concept more thoroughly and at a deeper level (in my opinion).
          Thanks Dan et al for CSD – clearly it is changing hearts for God.
          God bless all

          • Thanks – you may be right! We are blessed in this work. Vicki, Becky, Tim, Jo, and many others make it all happen along with YOU and, most importantly, the Holy Spirit.

          • LizEst

            …at least some of us will have the book on hand already! Ha! : )

    • From ‘Trustful Surrender’ (:) the right book). “…we should desire virtue itself and the degrees of grace only insofar as God wishes to give them, and not desire more. Our whole ambition should be to attain the degree of perfection that has been appointed for us, since it has not been given to everybody to reach the same height….’The only favor I ask is that in no single thing should I ever do my own will and that my will be entirely at one with Thine. …my sole request is that I may wish what Thou wishest and Thy purposes may be accomplished perfectly in me. Do with me, in me, and by me all that Thou wilt without resistance from me, in time and eternity.'” (pg 75-77)
      I think this means that if God had willed that I avoid the poor choice He would have granted me the grace to make the better choice. Thus, even my poor choice is God’s will and I must be joyful of that as well. Anyone else get something different from this.

      • LizEst

        Hmmm…yes, I get something different from that for sure!

        God always wills that we avoid the poor choice. And, He always gives us the grace AND the free will to do so. Remember what He said to St. Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you…” (2 Cor 12:9). However, He NEVER violates our free will. For whatever reason, sin or our weakness or the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil, we sometimes make poor choices because our will is not in sync with His. However, God uses our poor choices to do His will on earth as it is done in heaven. It is NOT His will that we sin; but, He can bring about good even in the worst circumstances.

        Suppose a family member was assigned to pick up food for supper tonight and didn’t and can’t do it now. It would be annoying, against your will! So, you decide to pick it up instead and the job gets done anyway. The bonus is that someone at the store tells you of an illness and you wind up making two meals that night (one for your family and one for the sick person), where you would never have done so in the first place. In this case, there was a poor choice made by the person who didn’t pick up the food. But, God used this to allow you to help the sick person you would not have known about otherwise. Your act of kindness was a blessing for both the sick person and for you…and an example to your family.

        But, I don’t think that is what your quote means. I believe the phrase is just what it says! Our whole desire should be to desire what God wills for us, nothing more, nothing less. The loftiest ideal we can have is God Himself. Apart from that, we must desire nothing else. God does with us what He wills. So, we do our best, then “let go and let God.” By His Paschal Mystery, He opened the gates of heaven for us and He never stops inviting us to follow Him. In order to get us to our heavenly homeland, He will exalt us, if it is of benefit to us and serves His will. Likewise, He will humble us, if it better suits His purpose (This, by the way, is usually better for us!). We should want for ourselves what He wants for us. When we serve the King, His will reigns supreme. And, we are much freer and happier when our wills are conformed to His.

      • Becky Ward

        I had a friend who explained it to me this way. If God wants us to move from point “A” to point “B”, but we miss the mark or get sidetracked and end up at point “C”….He will give us another opportunity…..and another……and another …..and another (As many as it takes) to reach point “B”. Additionally, he will use our ‘poor choices’ to teach us how to listen and trust in Him more….even they will be used for our good.
        This is why discernment, and learning how God works with us as individuals is so important. As Liz said, we always have the grace to do the right thing at the moment it is needed…….but we don’t always cooperate with it. 🙂

      • I have heard all these explanations as well. I guess that is why I find it so confusing. I will just have to keep re-reading until God grants me understanding. Thanks ladies for your thoughts. 🙂

  • I haven’t read the entire work, but one of my first reactions was that it sounds an awful lot like Calvinist pre-destination. How does this teaching differ from that idea? There is tremendous beauty here, but I’m just trying to figure out how to determine the difference. Thank you!

    • Dear Becky. The only similarity to Calvinism is the recognition that God is sovereign and in control. Otherwise, these teachings have nothing in common. Calvinist predestination teaches that some people are made for heaven and some for hell (in summary).

  • LucyMM

    Daily I pray for my God’s will to be done in my life and in my family. but constantly keep also telling HIM all the needs that we have, with an always latent feeling that if I do not ask Him He will not give to us what I think is best for us, and many other times I say the words “let your will be done in our lives” with the fear that our lives will be tested and many many tribulations will be sent to us if I let HIM do HIS will. Sad but true…This book has been a HUGE gift in my life, and now I can say with certainty that God specifically picked this book for me at this particular time of my life. I am so happy, thankful and blessed to be reading it along with all of you. To me the most important lesson that I have learned so far is how personal God is with each one of us. Trustful surrender moves me to call HIM dad, daddy, instead of calling Him my Lord or God. See, if my father is the king of the universe and HE is always attentive to me whatever my life is like, despite my mistakes, errors, times I take the wrong road, and still, HE loves me and is willing to help me find my path to HIM , and all I need to do is trust HIM in everything well this is a HUGE GIFT! he has left already all the sacraments for me to start over and over again every time I fall. I found so helpful and en-lighting this quote in the book “Let us firmly believe that if anything is necessary or really useful for us, our powerful Father will give it to us without fail.” and in my daily reading I read “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb, before you were born I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5. I just want to stay still and enjoy the feeling that I will be ok no matter what…. Because MY DAD loves me so much and HE RULES AND CREATED THE UNIVERSE… Thanks for introducing this book!

    • Becky Ward

      I love it when the lights come on!! 🙂
      Besides that quote from Jeremiah I like another one that says: “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for
      welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
      I echo your thanks to Vicki…this IS a good one!

      • LucyMM

        I love that quote too Becky,I wrote it in my journal, in the favorite Bible verses section, long time ago. I think I will have to read Jeremiah’s book at the Bible, I’ve never read it.

        • $1650412

          It is really beautiful how many Scripture references are in this work that one can put to memory for the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts about how much God loves us and wants to bring us closer to Himself.

    • Vicki

      Lucy, I’m so excited to see someone else as giddy as I’ve been! I think this is the most comforting book I’ve ever read – it makes me want to SHOUT too!!!:-)

      • LucyMM

        Thank you for introducing this book to me, I think it will be one of the books to read constantly until gets printed in my mind and soul. And yes I feel giddy 🙂 I was told that what was going on that I was very positive. 🙂

        • LizEst

          LucyMM…and because Dad is the King, you are a princess! God bless you!

  • Cecilia

    Vicki, thank you for choosing this book for us to read. I decided to take it to Adoration in the mornings to read it there. However I must tell you, I read so far & then must stop to think/meditate about what was given. There is so much “meat” within these pages of “Trustful Surrender” that I may need to continue my practice of keeping more than one book going just to keep up with the others in this wonderful site.

    • Vicki

      I agree. I think I have virtually every paragraph highlighted – it’s very difficult to choose from all the quotes! I’ve been reading early morning and then meditating on what I’ve read throughout the day.

  • taniar

    This book is enlightening and is having an impact on my spiritual journey. But I am troubled with how this applies to the horrible things that happen to children. I am sorry perhaps I’m not permitted to understand yet, but, with the first reading assignment, it was clear that all things are permitted by God. All things for the salvation of our souls. And if an evil is permitted perhaps it’s because we were not taking good care of our blessings. In any case, it is permitted with the full knowledge and permissive Will of God. I live in the tri state area and I can’t wrap my head around the murders, the rapes, the torture that is inflicted on our youth. How can this be all for the salvation of their souls?

    • Becky Ward

      It is a great mystery. The best we can do is Trust that God IS in control, and, as the Church teaches, He only allows evil in order to bring a greater good from it. We cannot see what these terrible trials and suffering will mean for our soul – or the souls of others – in eternity, but God knows well.
      He permitted His only Son to be tortured and brutally killed, and we DO know what we gained by that – salvation!
      It may be a good thing if you can’t wrap your head around the evils you encounter….but you can offer your suffering and confusion to the Lord and pray for enlightenment.

    • $1650412

      I think about this too, Taniar- and it is a great mystery, but like Becky said, I believe that we can by grace through faith grab hold of something more- we have the assurance that in ALL things, even the most heinous (and there is nothing worse than being complicit in the torture and murder of Jesus, of which we are all guilty), God does not abandon us, and nothing can separate us from His love. I believe that if we submit to Our Lord even when things seem darkest and say with our hearts and lives like Job, ‘Though He slay me I will yet trust Him’ Job 13:15- or in these circumstances ‘Lord this is terrible, but I know you love these people enduring this tragedy and this horrific suffering, please be with them all! I trust you for me and I trust you for them…’ maybe through that offering, we can open an avenue of grace to someone who might not know Him. I think that when these kinds of things really affect you that you could possibly have a call to intercessory prayer for these souls- maybe the Lord would be glorified for you to make it a personal mission to pray daily for children who might suffer in these ways that He would deliver them from evil, secure the salvation of their souls and be so close to them that they are constantly consoled in every aspect of their trials.

  • Sanctus 3

    I have been thinking that as we read through Tr. Surr. and take it to heart more and more, we may in fact grow a bit in giving self to God. After all, Jesus did tell us to be perfect, and that is a journey of very short steps. But it is progress.

    Then, at some point, and maybe even on this side of death, we can say sincerely with St. John of the Cross: “My Beloved, all that is rugged and toilsome I desire for myself, and all that is sweet and delightful I desire for You.” (Sayings of Light and Love 131)

    That would be the fullness of trust and surrender. And we KNOW that God wants to give us that grace.

  • $1650412

    Now that I have actually read the correct book (!), I found the part about pursuing happiness in the midst of surrendering all things to the Lord to be very interesting. At first it might seem that we set aside personal happiness in pursuit of conformity to Christ. But he tells us that we are actually looking to experience a kind of more real happiness in being ‘detached’ from our circumstances, but so closely attached to Jesus.
    I know from the miracle at Cana that Jesus is actually concerned about our temporal happiness, and also from my pastor who says in the confessional regularly that the only path to true happiness is to do the will of God- so, I find this teaching really interesting here in our book.
    Here we are, trying to relinquish all our desires or to meld them all into perfect conformity with the will of the Father-‘not my will but Thine be done’, or ‘be it done to me according to Thy word’; and at the same time, we can be confident that this should be a source of unspeakable joy— so, if it isn’t…what then? Are you just stuck in the crossfire of not really getting the message, or are you then somehow defective spiritually? Well, I think actually, after reading this, no, that this is where knowing ourselves somewhat more deeply gives us insight into where we are finding trials stealing our peace. I think I can see that when I am not happy following God’s will for my life, it is because my idea of what that is supposed to be is out of synch with what He is doing, and it requires greater faith; really, I think, the faith that comes through persistently pursuing God in prayer and in His Word.
    Beyond that, I think also knowing what my root fault most likely is, and the virtue I am trying to build to counter it in my life, I can find more interior space to grow in faith, hope, and love- with contentment and joy– in the middle of the effort of yielding my will to God’s, my agenda to the reality He has provided, even when trials seem overwhelming or this life path is confusing. (I think this book is seriously pivotal for people who want to make Jesus the Lord of their lives. I think I am very lucky to have been inspired by all of you to read it! :o) I have already created a list of friends to whom I hope to give it as gifts for their encouragement, peace and that excitement and joy so many of you have shared here!)

    • Becky Ward

      This idea of happiness IS a key to knowing if we are doing the Lord’s will or not. St. Ignatius of Loyola developed his spiritual exercises based upon (my paraphrasing) seeing happiness lingering in himself after contemplating doing something for God, vs. dryness and apathy after contemplating something worldly, even though the thoughts and imaginings of both were equally pleasant.
      Fr. Pinto tells a story of when he was young and got a chocolate bar all to himself. This didn’t happen often in India. Anyway he didn’t have to share it with anybody, so he went somewhere alone and ate the whole thing…but he felt lousy…so he asked the Lord, and Jesus told him that He should have asked Him about the candy before he ate it….and suggested that the next time he got chocolate, he might share it.
      The next time he DID share it…he didn’t eat any of it himself but went around the neighborhood giving pieces to other children and old people until it was all gone…..and BOY was he HAPPY after he had done so!
      From then on he had chocolate available most of the time…people would just give it to him…….
      If we frail and faulty humans want our children to be happy….how much more Our Father and Creator?

      • $1650412

        Now, I will always remember that story about the chocolate as an illustration!!!! 🙂

    • Victoria Campbell

      Jo, your post was very insightful. If you are anything like me we tend to feel the burdens personally of all the trials that come our way and personally take on trying to fix things and feeling the responsibility for the outcome. We struggle with our desires and wishing for an outcome that conforms to our wishes. Taking to heart all the insight that this book offers us it is this lack of surrender together with the firm belief that God is responsible for the outcome that steals our peace, joy and serenity. Does this in anyway address what you were trying to say in your post? If not it has given me some more food for thought…thank you and bless you:)

      • $1650412

        I think you are correct Victoria!

  • Sanctus 3

    Somewhere I read that a saint is someone who is CONVINCED that God loves him/her. If we truly believed this, wouldn’t that make it a little bit “easier” to surrender to Him!?

    May I also mention some other books in this same topic that I have found very helpful:

    Heliotropium, by Fr. Jeremias Drexelius, SJ

    Holy Abandonment, by Dom Vitalis Lehodey, OCR

    The Gift of Oneself, by Fr. Joseph Schryvers, CSsR
    (This one, in particular, could be useful for those dealing with scruples or depression, or for those who need a boost into accepting the fact that the Lord is THRILLED to have them as a child/friend/lover.)

  • Don Schwab, ofs

    Though I have not commented much – I have enjoyed the last two books tremendously and visit the site regularly to read others’ comments. Trustful Surrender… has been a very thought provoking read and I look forward to the Journal of the Soul – Thank you; Peace & all good

    • Becky Ward

      Welcome Donald! Good to have you with us.

  • Are there still problems with the website. I have been trying to access the third post on Trustful Surrender, but I am getting an error message through the one link I have found that may be it. Also, if I just go through the previous article links on the blog I do not find the post at all. I’m assuming a post was done on the 28th. I’m a little behind and trying to catch up. Thanks!

  • Ran across this in my regular reading of ‘The Imitation of Christ’:
    “On the Need to Examine and Moderate the Desires of the Heart

    Christ: My Child, you still have many things to learn, which you have not yet learned well.

    Disciple: What are these things, Lord?

    Christ: That you conform your desires and affections to My good pleasure, that you be not full of self-love, but a zealous follower of My will in all things. I understand well how desires sway you this way or that; but you should consider whether you are moved mainly for My honor or for your own interests.
    If I am the cause, you will be at peace whatever I do with you. But if self-interest is your motive, this will hinder you and drag you down.
    Be careful, therfore, not to rely too much on your own desire without consulting Me, lest perhaps you regret it later on, or be dissatisfied with what pleased you at first. Not every inclination which appears to be goood and holy should be followed at once; on the other hand, neither is every undesirable inclination hastily to be rejected.
    Sometimes it is well for people to restrain those inclinations and desires – good in themselves – lest through impulsiveness they become distracted in mind, or an obstacle to the spiritual progresss of others; or again, through the opposition of others, become disturbed and fall.
    There are times when we must use violence and courageously resist our sensual appetite, having no regard for the likes and dislikes of the flesh; but rather, making sure that the body, despite its protests, becomes subject to the spirit.
    It must be chastised and compelled to serve, until it is ready to obey in all things what the soul commands, and until it learns to be content with little, to delight in simple things, and not to complain at any inconvenience.” Book 3 Chapter 11
    This seemed to go well with our readings in this group, so I thought I would share.
    I still can’t link to the last post on Trustful Surr. 🙁 But, I will trust in God’s time it will be available to me. And see, there I go complaining again. Have a great day!

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