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True Contentment in This Life and the Next

Conformity to God’s Will Makes Us Happy in This Life as Well

The conforming of our will to God’s is not limited to the attainment of our eternal salvation. It also has the effect of making us happy on this earth. It will give us the most perfect peace it is possible to experience in life and is the means of making this world a foretaste of Heaven.

O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! God said to Israel, Thy peace had been as a river.

Eliphaz, one of Job’s three friends, likewise says to him: Come to terms with him to be at peace . . . for then you shall delight in the Almighty and you shall lift up your face towards God.

It is this that the angels sang at the birth of our Savior: Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will.

Who are these men of good will but those whose wills are in harmony with the supremely good will of God? A will that is otherwise disposed must necessarily be a bad will, incapable of obtaining the peace promised to men of good will. In order for us to enjoy peace and calm, we need to have nothing opposing our will and everything done in the way we want it. But who can expect to have such happiness except the man whose will is entirely conformed to the will of God?

Remember the former age, for I am God, and there is no God besides… Who show from the beginning the things that shall be at last, and from ancient times the things that as yet are not done, saying: My counsel shall stand, and all my will shall be done.

Every will that tries to oppose the will of God is bound to be overcome and broken, and instead of peace and happiness its effort can only end in humiliation and bitterness. God is wise in heart and mighty in strength. Who has withstood him and remained unscathed? He, and he alone, whose will is perfectly united to God’s possesses the peace of God which surpasses all understanding. He alone can say with God Himself all my will shall be done, because wishing all that God wishes and only what God wishes, his wishes are always fulfilled and nothing can happen that he does not wish.

No harm befalls the just, or disturbs the serenity of his mind, for if he has exactly what he wishes, he cannot be unhappy in spite of himself. It is obvious that unhappiness comes not from what others feel but from what we feel ourselves. Whatever our situation is, we must be happy if we are just as we wish to be.

Certainly we will still feel pain and sorrow, but they affect us only in the lower part of our being without being able to influence the mind. Obedient and resigned to the will of His Father, our Savior did not cease to be filled with the utmost joy and happiness in the midst of the most grievous sufferings it is possible to imagine.

It cannot be denied however that human nature finds the idea of suffering, humiliation, even poverty, almost incompatible with the idea of happiness, so that it is really a miracle of grace when we can be happy in such circumstances. But this miracle always mercifully accompanies the sacrifices of one who seeks to do the will of God in all things, for it is to God’s honor and glory that those who give themselves generously to His service should be content with their lot.

This article is taken from a chapter in Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence by Fr. Jean Baptiste Saint-Jure, S.J. and St. Claude de la Colombière, S.J., which is available from TAN Books.

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