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Abandonment to Divine Providence
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SECTION VII.—Trust in the guidance of God.

The docile soul will not seek to learn by what road God is conducting it.


When God makes Himself the guide of a soul He exacts from it an absolute confidence in Him, and a freedom from any sort of disquietude as to the way in which He conducts it. This soul, therefore, is urged on without perceiving the path traced out before it. It does not imitate either what it has seen, or what it has read, but proceeds by its own action, and cannot do otherwise without grave risk. The divine action is ever fresh, it never retraces its steps, but always marks out new ways. Souls that are conducted by it never know where they are going; their ways are neither to be found in books, nor in their own minds; the divine action carries them step by step, and they progress only according to its movement.

When you are conducted by a guide who takes you through an unknown country at night across fields where there are no tracks, by his own skill, without asking advice from anyone, or giving you any inkling of his plans; how can you choose but abandon yourself? Of what use is it looking about to find out where you are, to ask the passers-by, or to consult maps and travellers? The plans or fancies of a guide who insists on being trusted would not allow of this. He would take pleasure in overcoming the anxiety and distrust of the soul, and would insist on an entire surrender to his guidance. If one is convinced that he is a good guide one must have faith in him, and abandon oneself to his care.

The divine action is essentially good; it does not need to be reformed or controlled. It began at the creation of the world; and to the present time has manifested ever fresh energy. Its operations are without limit, its fecundity inexhaustible. It acted in one way yesterday, to-day it acts differently. It is the same action applied at each moment to produce ever new effects, and it will extend from eternity to eternity. It has produced Abel, Noah, Abraham, all different types; Isaac, also original, and Jacob from no copy; neither does Joseph follow any prefigure. Moses has no prototype among his progenitors. David and the Prophets are quite apart from the Patriarchs. St. John the Baptist stands alone. Jesus Christ is the first-born; the Apostles act more by the guidance of His spirit than in imitation of His works.

Jesus Christ did not set a limit for Himself, neither did He follow all His own maxims to the letter. The Holy Spirit ever inspired His holy soul and, being entirely abandoned to its every breath, it had no need to consult the moment that had passed, to know how to act in that which was coming. The breath of grace shaped every moment according to the eternal truths subsisting in the invisible and unfathomable wisdom of the Blessed Trinity. The soul of Jesus Christ received these directions at every moment, and acted upon them externally. The Gospel shows in the life of Jesus Christ a succession of these truths; and this same Jesus who lives and works always, continues to live and work in the souls of His saints.

If you would live according to the Gospel, abandon yourself simply and entirely to the action of God. Jesus Christ is its supreme mouthpiece. “He was yesterday, is to-day, and will be for ever.” (Hebr. xiii, 8); continuing, not recommencing His life. What He has done is finished; what remains to be done is being carried on at every moment. Each saint receives a share in this divine life, and in each, Jesus Christ is different, although the same in Himself. The life of each saint is the life of Jesus Christ; it is a new gospel. The cheeks of the spouse are compared to beds of flowers, to gardens filled with fragrant blossoms. The divine action is the gardener, admirably arranging the flower beds. This garden resembles no other, for among all the flowers there are no two alike, or that can be described as being of the same species, except in the fidelity with which they respond to the action of the Creator, in leaving Him free to do as He pleases, and, on their side, obeying the laws imposed on them by their nature. Let God act, and let us do what He requires of us; this is the Gospel; this is the general Scripture, and the common law.

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