Consolation and Abandonment
Presence of God – Into Your hands, O Lord, I abandon myself with all confidence.
“There are many who desire to make progress [in the spiritual way] and constantly entreat God to draw them and let them advance to this state of perfection [the state of union], but when it pleases God to begin to bring them through the first trials and mortifications, as is necessary, they are unwilling to pass through them, and flee away, to escape from the narrow road of life and to seek the broad road of their own consolation” (John of the Cross, Living Flame of Love, 2,27). This is the reason why many souls do not reach union with God; they are not willing to tread the way of the Cross, the only way which leads to it.
You also desire to arrive at divine union, but perhaps you, too, think to reach it by a broad, sunny, pleasant way, by the way of success, where one goes from victory to victory, where one enjoys abundant spiritual consolations, where one finds the applause, support, and esteem of creatures. But by now you must certainly have understood that it is necessary to take quite another way: the narrow and obscure way where the soul discovers all its misery, experiences all its powerlessness, where consolation from God and men is wanting. You know, too, that you must accept having to walk on this road for as long as it will please God. How many months or years will suffice? Only God knows. He often keeps souls a long time in the dark night of the spirit, and it might even be said that, in general, even after the principal stages have been passed, there is always a little of the night as long as one lives upon earth. The wisest course to take is to surrender yourself completely to the divine will of God, without setting limits either to the duration or the nature of your trials. God knows what is best for you; He, who knows so well the weaknesses and necessities of your soul, will know how to prescribe exactly the treatment to cure your evils. Do not be hasty, but, on the contrary, have much patience, and you will not expose yourself to deception. Let your patience be long-suffering and trustful because, although you truly suffer, these sufferings do not come to you from an enemy but from your greatest Friend, from God, who loves you much more than you could love yourself, who wills your good, your happiness, your sanctification much more than you could ever desire them. Hope in Him and you will never be confounded; entrust yourself to Him blindly and you will have nothing to fear.
“O my God, where is the sun of Your grace? It seems to me that it is darkened. You seem to have wholly withdrawn Your goodness from my soul. I am abandoned now, like a body which, deprived of its members, cannot help itself, or like a sterile tree trunk, for, Your grace being taken away, I can do nothing. O my God, stretch out Your right hand to me and give me strength.
“O eternal Father, if Your Word is with me, who can be against me? What can move me, cast me down, or vanquish me? Storms will beat against me exteriorly, but will not touch my inmost heart. They may make me suffer, and I accept it willingly because You so will, but they can never trouble my soul, ever abandoned to Your divine good pleasure. I shall still every storm, thinking that these sorrows come by Your will, and I shall immerse myself in the lowliness of my being. If these troubles swallow me up in hell, I shall raise myself up again to heaven with Your help, and in Your name I shall overcome every conflict.
“Nevertheless, I know my weakness and during this trial, which may be long or short according to Your good pleasure, while many battles rage, I know well what I must do; I shall trust in You and I shall never be moved” (St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi).
“Blessed Master, grant that the divine good pleasure may be my food and daily bread; may I let myself be immolated according to the Father’s every wish, after Your example, O adored Christ. If at times what He wills is more crucifying, no doubt I may say with You: ‘Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me,’ but I shall immediately add: ‘not as I will, but as Thou wilt’; and calmly and steadfastly I shall climb my Calvary with You, singing in my inmost soul, sending up to the Father a hymn of thanksgiving. For those who tread that Way of Sorrows are those ‘whom He foreknew and predestined to be made conformable to the image of His divine Son,’ who was crucified for love!” (Elisabeth of the Trinity, First Retreat, 3 – 8).
Note from Dan: This posts on Consolation and Abandonment is provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contains one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.
Art: St. John of the Cross, Francisco de Zurbarán, 1656, PD-US, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.