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SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence

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:  https://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

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