This Sunday is one of my favorite feasts, Our Lady of Sorrows. Our Blessed Mother, the one who was promised that a sword would pierce Her heart because of Her perfect love with her Son, has shown us the way to deal with unexpected hardships or loss…to trust in Emmanuel, because the God-with-us will always give us what we need to save us. Our parish patron and the patron of Spiritual Directors was inspired with our Sorrowful Mother’s trust in Her Son’s providential love. Maybe it is time to end your last week of summer by opening your life to St. Francis de Sale’s words and writings of hope. He knew not only how to praise God during times of joy, but he also knew what it meant to trust in The Father, especially when he felt abandoned and uncertain of what’s to come. He wrote that to embrace the devout life, so much comes to remembering how God desires us to be gentle toward oneself. He also wrote on overcoming anxieties, on the need for good friendships, and not treating temptations as sins. Little consoling phrases still speak to us today: “we must not fret over our own imperfections,” “let us be of good heart,” “God will help us; we will do better,” “[have] great courage and confidence in His mercy,” “do not be solicitous and worried,” “you will receive countless blessings,” “by means of the continued practice of prayer, the Sacraments, and confidence in God… we will live a healthful and happy life.” Best of all he speaks directly to what we need to hear today:
“In all your affairs, rely wholly on God’s providence, through which alone you must look for success. Nevertheless, strive quietly on your part to cooperate with its designs…. Imitate little children who with one hand hold fast to their father while with the other they gather strawberries or blackberries from the hedges.”
(St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, III.10)
This week, be sure to imitate little children and just trust that the hand of the Father will always lead us to where we need to be.
Pax, Fr. Bline