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An Exercise of Abandonment to Divine Providence

Making an act of conformity to Divine Providence is an exercise of great importance for the Christian. For the soul that devoutly undertakes this practice reaps abundant spiritual graces. In these excerpts, taken from Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, St. Claude de la Colombière and Fr. Jean Baptiste Saint-Jure provide an exercise to practice conformity to God’s Will and an explanation for its spiritual efficacy.

Act of Faith, Hope, and Charity

First make an act of faith in God’s Providence. Meditate well on the truth that God’s continual care extends not only to all things in general but to each particular thing, and especially to ourselves, our souls and bodies, and everything that concerns us. Nothing escapes His loving watchfulness—our work, our daily needs, our health as well as our infirmities, our life and our death, even the smallest hair on our head which cannot fall without His Permission.

After this act of faith, make an act of hope. Excite in yourself a firm trust that God will provide for all you need, will direct and protect you with more than a father’s love and vigilance, and guide you in such a way that, whatever happens, if you submit to Him everything will turn out for your happiness and advantage, even the things that may seem quite the opposite.

Act of Filial Submission to Providence

After repeating these acts several times with fervor, commit your soul lovingly to Divine Providence as a child rests and sleeps in its mother’s arms. Make your own the words of

David: I will lie down and sleep in peace, for thou alone, O Lord, hast established me in hope. Or again in the words of the psalm:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose; 
Beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul. 
He guides me in right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side 
With your rod and your staff that give me courage. 
You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup Overflows.
Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; 
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord For years to come.

Usefulness of This Exercise

What honor and glory is given to God by the soul that acts thus! It is a great glory for Him to have a creature so attached to His Providence, so dependent on Him, full of such firm hope and peace of mind in the expectation of what He will send. His concern for such a one is redoubled,

He watches over the slightest things that are of interest to him and inspires those who are over him to act prudently; and if for any reason they try to act in a manner harmful to him, He prevents them in the hidden ways of His Providence from carrying out their designs and compels them to do only what is to his advantage.

Thus the Lord keeps those who love him. If the Scriptures speak of God as having eyes, it is in order to watch over them; as having ears, to hear them; as having hands, to defend them. And those who touch them, touch the apple of His eye. I shall carry you in my arms, He says by the mouth of the prophet Isaias, I shall caress you upon my knees. As one whom his mother caresses, so will I comfort you. And in Osee: I was like a foster father to Ephraim, I carried them in my arms. Long before Moses had said: In the desert the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his child, all along your journey until you arrived at this place. Again God says in Isaias: You shall be nursed with the breasts of kings, and you shall know that I am the Lord your Saviour and your Redeemer.

A Final Exhortation 

Thus the man who entrusts himself to Providence, lets God be the pilot of his bark, floats tranquilly on the ocean of life in the midst of storm and tempest, while those who try to guide

themselves are in continual unrest, and their only pilot being their own blind and inconstant will, they are tossed about by sea and wind until they end in shipwreck.

Let us then trust ourselves entirely to God and His Providence and leave Him complete power to order our lives, turning to Him lovingly in every need and awaiting His help without anxiety. Leave everything to Him and He will provide us with everything, at the time and in the place and in the manner best suited. He will lead us on our way to that happiness and peace of mind for which we are destined in this life as a foretaste of the everlasting happiness we have been promised.

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

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