......when God whaps you up the side of the head with something?
I am on the Adoration roster at my parish. Every Friday for the past 4 years or so I have been a regular at Eucharistic adoration. Sometimes I come and just "rest in the Lord." Sometimes I come and bawl like a baby. Sometimes I come and prepare for my weekly Bible study, asking Jesus to give me the insight I need to lead the group. Sometimes I randomly read the Bible (mostly the Gospels and the Psalms).
Sometimes I take whatever spiritual reading I am attempting and read that. Last Friday, I took my Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence by Fr. J. P. de Caussade, S. J. [A book, by the way, that is restoring my faith in Jesuits--at least the old ones!]
I prayed for awhile over some issues that I'm dealing with, then asked Jesus to open my heart to what I needed to learn from Fr. Caussade. I opened the book to page 114 and read:
...but see how divine Providence has come to my aid. God gives me the grace to remain unattached to all these affairs, so that my spirit remains always free. I leave their successful issue to his paternal care, so that nothing distresses me. Often things go all right and I give thanks to God; sometimes everything goes wrong, I again bless his holy name and offer him the sacrifice of my efforts. Once this sacrifice has been made, God arranges everything.
You see, that little paragraph told me something that I had never been able to deal with before--that is, what to do with the efforts that DIDN'T turn out to be successful (or at least at the time don't look to be successful). Offering up the sacrifice of my efforts, the time spent, the work done, IN AND OF ITSELF, makes my attempt pleasing to God. He can bring out of it what HE chooses.
And then another punch to the gut:
I am firmly convinced that we should all be lost if God gave us all our desires, and that is why, as St. Augustine says, God, in his mercy and compassion for our blindness, does not always grant our prayers, and sometimes gives us the contrary of what we ask as being in reality better for us.
and then again:
Remember that great word of Fenelon: "It is a great grace from God to be able to suffer, not courageously on the grand scale, but in a small and humble manner, for thus we become patient, small and humble all at once."
....and then I realized how worried I had been, how invested I had become in the outcome of a hundred little things that were going on in my life. I had spent 15 minutes complaining to God about the gazillion ordinary, tiny, inconsequential, silly little headaches that I can't even suffer through without being a giant whining baby.
So, now I've reoriented. I'm still telling him I don't like those trials and tribulations--but I suspect he knows that. ;-) Now I'm asking for the grace to suffer the little things with humble patience.
Patience. That's a new one.