“Acting according to this pattern [seeing and accepting God’s will in all things], one not only becomes holy but also enjoys perpetual serenity in this life.”
– St. Alphonsus
Those who do God’s will are the happiest of people. The saints are a testimony to this truth. The purpose of this article is: to inspire you with love of (and confidence in) God’s will, to show you that doing God’s will is necessary for your happiness and salvation, and to bring you consolation.
There is not a single suffering in our life that is “superfluous”, as Jesus revealed to Sr. Mary of the Trinity. God’s will is “love and mercy itself” (St. Faustina)! The weight of the Cross will never be heavier than our strength to bear it; we must trust in God’s infinite strength and love. On the contrary, if we love God and carry our cross with love and humility, our very sufferings will become a source of joy! St. Padre Pio was not lying when he said: “My sufferings are pleasing… I suffer only when I don’t suffer.”
Here are some simple, yet profound considerations on God’s will:
+ “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.” “This is the will of God, your sanctification.” 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 good.” 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.” – St. Alphonsus (Sufferings also merit eternal rewards, and they are used by God to bring souls to Him!)
+ St. Alphonsus relates the story of a holy monk who was a great miracle worker. By merely touching his garments, people were cured. Why? The humble monk said:
“Prosperity does not lift me up, nor adversity cast me down… God does all things, or permits all that happens, for his glory and for our greater good; thus I am always at peace, no matter what happens.”
This monk was accustomed to thanking God at all times.
+ St. Padre Pio gently reminds us that “On the Calvary Jesus redeemed us, and salvation must be accomplished there.” In a vision, St. Catherine of Siena saw a Cross bridging the gap between Heaven and Earth. If we are not willing to suffer for God, how can we say that we love Him? And if we do not love Him, how can we be saved? Let us know that “Bearing physical and spiritual ailments is the worthiest gift we can offer to Jesus.” (St. Padre Pio).
+ “Those who love God are always happy, because their whole happiness is to fulfil, even in adversity, the will of God. Afflictions do not mar their serenity, because by accepting misfortune, they know they give pleasure to their beloved Lord: “Whatever shall befall the just man, it shall not make him sad.” Indeed, what can be more satisfactory to a man than to experience the fulfillment of all his desires? This is the happy lot of the man who wills only what God wills, because everything that happens, save sin, happens through the will of God.” – St. Alphonsus
+ “The devout Father John Tauler relates this personal experience: For years he had prayed God to send him someone who would teach him the real spiritual life. One day, at prayer, he heard a voice saying: “Go to such and such a church and you will have the answer to your prayers.” He went and at the door of the church he found a beggar, barefooted and in rags. He greeted the mendicant saying: “Good day, my friend.”
“Thank you, sir, for your kind wishes, but I do not recall ever having had a ‘bad’ day.”
“Then God has certainly given you a very happy life.”
“That is very true, sir. I have never been unhappy. In saying this I am not making any rash statement either. This is the reason: When I have nothing to eat, I give thanks to God; when it rains or snows, I bless God’s providence; when someone insults me, drives me away, or otherwise mistreats me, I give glory to God. I said I’ve never had an unhappy day, and it’s the truth, because I am accustomed to will unreservedly what God wills. Whatever happens to me, sweet or bitter, I gladly receive from his hands as what is best for me. Hence my unvarying happiness.”
“Where did you find God?”
“I found him where I left creatures.”
“Who are you anyway?”
“I am a king.”
“And where is your kingdom?”
“In my soul, where everything is in good order; where the passions obey reason, and reason obeys God.”
“How have you come to such a state of perfection?”
“By silence. I practice silence towards men, while I cultivate the habit of speaking with God. Conversing with God is the way I found and maintain my peace of soul.”
Union with God brought this poor beggar to the very heights of perfection. In his poverty he was richer than the mightiest monarch; in his sufferings, he was vastly happier than worldlings amid their worldly delights.” – St. Alphonsus
“Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you!” – St. Augustine
* The words of St. Alphonsus have been taken from his work, ‘Conformity to the Will of God’, which can be found for free here: http://www.psalm40.org/conformity.html
It is very informative, consoling and profound. It is also quite brief, and it will be of profit to all; even scrupulous souls (although the latter should not read all his works).