“If, devout soul, it is your will to please God and live a life of serenity in this world, unite yourself always and in all things to the divine will.”
Our Lord assured His apostles the reward of following his will, “Your joy no man shall take from you…your joy shall be full” (John 16:22).
One of the most popular little Catholic books ever produced was Uniformity with God’s Will by St. Alphonsus Liguori (published by TAN Books).
This little book takes as its subject the very core of our relationship with God – doing His will. St. Alphonsus teaches in this work that the perfection of the soul consists in doing God’s most holy will.
The opposite of doing God’s will is doing our own. St. Alphonsus teaches that “The man who follows his own will independently of God’s, is guilty of a kind of idolatry.”
This helpful booklet points out the proper path to follow Christ so as to attain Heaven. Christ Himself spent His entire life doing the will of the Father.
St. Alphonsus elaborates on the subject of God willing our good:
“O the supreme folly of those who resist the divine will! In God’s providence, no one can escape hardship: ‘Who resisteth his will?’ (Rom. 9:19).
A person who rails at God in adversity, suffers without merit; moreover by his lack of resignation he adds to his punishment in the next life and experiences greater disquietude of mind in this life: ‘Who resisteth him and hath had peace?’ (Job 9:4).
The screaming rage of the sick man in his pain, the whining complaints of the poor man in his destitution – what will they avail these people, except increase their unhappiness and bring them no relief?
‘Little man,’ says St. Augustine, ‘grow up. What are you seeking in your search for happiness? Seek the one good that embraces all others.’ Whom do you seek, friend, if you seek not God? Seek him, find him, cleave to him; bind your will to his with bands of steel and you will live always at peace in this life and in the next.
God wills only our good: God loves us more than anybody else can or does love us. His will is that no one should lose his soul, that everyone should save and sanctify his soul: ‘Not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance’ (2 Peter 3:9).
‘This is the will of God, your sanctification’ (1 Thess. 4:3). God has made the attainment of our happiness his glory. Since he is by his nature infinite goodness, and since as St. Leo says goodness is diffusive of itself, God has a supreme desire to make us sharers of his goods and of his happiness.
If then he sends us suffering in this life, it is for our own good: ‘All things work together unto goods’ (Romans 8:28). Even chastisements come to us, not to crush us, but to make us mend our ways and save our souls: ‘Let us believe that these scourges of the Lord have happened for our amendment and not for our destruction’ (Judith 8:27).
God surrounds us with his loving care lest we suffer eternal damnation: ‘O Lord, thou has crowned us as with a shield of they good will’ (Psalm 5:13). He is most solicitous for our welfare: ‘The Lord is solicitous for me’ (Psalm 39:18). What can God deny us when he has given us his own son? ‘He that spared not even his own son, but delivered him up for us all, how hath he not also, with him, given us all thins?’ (Romans 8:32).
Therefore we should most confidently abandon ourselves to all the dispositions of divine providence, since they are for our own good. In all that happens to us, let us say: “In peace, in the self same I will sleep, and I will rest: Because thou, O Lord, hast singularly settled me in hope’ (Psalm 4:9, 10).
Let us place ourselves unreservedly in his hands because he will not fail to have care of us: ‘Casting all your care upon him, for he hath care of you’ (1 Peter 5:7).
Let us keep God in our thoughts and carry out his will, and he will think of us and of our welfare. Our Lord said to St. Catherine of Siena, “Daughter, think of me, and I will always think of you.’
Let us often repeat with the Spouse of the Canticle: ‘My beloved to me, and I to him’ (Cant. 2:6).
St. Niles, abbot, used to say that our petitions should be, not that our wishes be done, but that God’s holy will should be fulfilled in us and by us.
When, therefore, something adverse happens to us, let us accept it from his hands, not only patiently, but even with gladness, as did the apostles ‘who went from the presence of the council rejoicing, that they were accounted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus’ (Acts 5:41).
What greater consolation can come to a soul than to know that by patiently bearing some tribulation, it gives God the greatest pleasure in its power?
Spiritual writers tell us that though the desire of certain souls to please God by their sufferings is acceptable to him, still more pleasing to him is the union of certain others with his will, so that their will is neither to rejoice nor to suffer, but to hold themselves completely amenable to his will, and they desire only that his holy will be fulfilled.”
Source: Uniformity with God’s Will, pp. 14-16.