"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Friday, April 20, 2018

Trusting in God by the Priests of the Congregation of St. Paul, 1893

Trusting in God 
"Casting all your care upon him, for he hath care of you."--1. St. Peter v. 7.

This spiritual direction of the chief of the Apostles should bring to our inmost souls the greatest consolation. If we but keep these words in our hearts and recall them to our minds the moment we need them, they will increase our faith, arouse our spiritual energies, and secure to us that victory which we must gain in order to possess even a small part of the peace of God in our souls. 

But what is meant by ''Casting all your care upon Him"? These words mean that we are to cast all of our care upon God; not merely a part of it, not merely this or that care, but all care without exception. What are the things that become a care to us? First, our immortal souls. These are a care to us, the greatest of all our cares and the source of our greatest anxiety.

Why is this? Because eternal joy or woe depends upon our own actions in life; because we do not know with positive certainty that the salvation of our souls will be secured. The thought of this makes all tremble, even with terror at times, for their salvation. We examine our consciences and recall all the sins of our past lives. These show to us how small the amount of our merit is. Temptation to give up all and to despair begins to assault us. How are we to do then? Cast even that care upon God. But how? By remembering that God's mercy is exalted by Him above His justice. Therefore, making an act of contrition, we must then cast the care of our salvation upon that mercy that is never withheld when asked for in sincerity; by remembering the fact that ''by grace we are saved," and by going to confession to get that very grace which is the eternal life of our souls, insuring our salvation. Follow this by a good Communion, that by receiving worthily we may again begin fervently a persevering reunion with God. The light by which we, see our past lives, our little merit and our great demerit—that light is sent into our souls in order to make us, to drive us to confession, Communion, and a new life. But, some may say, I am sure to do these things again; what is the use of going to confession and Communion? This is a lie of the evil one and a deceit of our own weakness. If we cast this care and fear upon God, he will take care of us and we shall not do these things again. Fidelity to-day wins grace for to-morrow. God's grace will not be wanting, but is sure. Those who talk in that way yield to their temptations before they come. This is a form of despair. We are commanded most stringently and most positively never to despair of our salvation at any time, in any place, nor under any circumstances. To do so is to add to the list of our sins the gravest of all, final impenitence. Despair of our salvation is the same thing.

What other things are a great care to us? Our bodies, our human life in this world, with all that belongs to it, called worldly advancement and success. We must remember, however, that the great care these things give us comes in great part from our making too much of them. Practically, the vast majority of mankind, and of Catholics also, seem to think and act as if life in this world is our all, and that success, honor, wealth, and social position once secured here, men can die in peace, without any thought of that great future eternity. When the vast majority start out in life in this world they find they cannot get these things; try and try again as they may, they fail as often, even when about to succeed, because of these failures, in many cases, even they turn against God and lose their faith. And why? Simply because they did not and do not ''cast the care of these things upon God," who would not and will not permit success in this world to be enjoyed by those he loves with a special love, when that success will be sure to ruin their souls in this life and in eternity. Let us, then, stop for a moment and examine our hearts in order to see if we have been regarding this life, with its concerns, as if it be our all. If we have, let us cease to care so much for it, commit our success or defeat in this human life and its concerns to the loving providence of God, so far, at least, as to be able to say from our hearts when we fail: "God knows what is best for me. I am contented." In success we should tremble lest we offend, and in defeat bless God, who has kept us from many temptations and sins by sending defeat instead of success. The unsuccessful can say always, ''At any rate, my soul is safe from any new sin." But how are we to know that we love this life and its concerns too much? By the way we act as Christians. If we are careless about our duties to God, if we do not obey the laws of our holy religion, if we follow the ways of the world and feel ashamed to acknowledge courageously that we are Catholics, then we know that the world has almost overcome us. And how has this come to pass? It is the result of our failure to desire only what God desires us to have, of our failure to live always under his providential care, by checking our desires and aspirations so as not to be driven too far by them, and because we have thrown aside God's care of us.

But how are we to remedy as well as prevent this unholy state of soul? Only by ceasing to pursue too eagerly anything that can last only the few short years of human life in this world, by subjecting all things to the rule we must follow in order to lead good lives as good Catholics, and by doing as the text tells us: casting all our care upon God, for He hath care of us.