Perfect Conformity to the Will of God is Happiness and Bliss on Earth

by admin on November 7, 2010

HE who shall attain to this entire conformity to the will of God, taking all that happens as coming from His hand and conforming himself therein to His most holy and divine will, will have gained happiness and bliss here on earth, will enjoy very great peace and tranquillity, will ever have perpetual joy and gladness in his soul, which is the happiness and bliss of the blessed enjoyed here by the great servants of God: The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom. xiv. 17). This is the kingdom of God on earth and the paradise of delights which we are able to enjoy here. And rightly is it called bliss, because it makes us in some sort like to the blessed. For as there in heaven there are no changes nor fluctuations, but the blessed ever remain in one frame of mind, rejoicing in God, so here on earth those who have attained to such entire and perfect conform­ity that all their satisfaction is the satisfaction and will of God, are not disturbed or troubled by the changes of this life or by the various ways in which things turn out. Their will and heart are so united and conformed to the divine will that their seeing that all comes from His hand and that the will and satisfaction of God is accomplished therein, changes afflictions into joys and discomforts into mirth, since they seek and will rather the will of their Beloved than their own. Thus there is nothing that can disturb such people: if anything could disturb them and give them pain, it would be afflictions, adversities, and contumelies; but such things they take for a special delight and conso­lation, since they come from the hand of God and such is His will. Thus there is nothing left that can possibly dis­turb or banish the peace and restfulness of their soul.

This is the cause of that unbroken peace and cheerfulness in which we read that those saints of old always lived—a St. Anthony, a St. Dominic, a St. Francis, and others like them. The same we read of our blessed Father Ignatius and we see it ordinarily in the great servants of God. Do you think those saints had not their troubles? Had they no temptations or infirmities such as we have? Did they not pass through various and diversified changes of for­tune? Certainly they did, and through much more trying circumstances than we encounter, since it is the greatest saints that God usually exercises and tries with such things. How, then, did they keep ever in the same frame of mind, with the same countenance and deportment, with an inte­rior and exterior serenity and cheerfulness as if it were always Easter with them ? The cause thereof was what we are saying, that they had come to attain to an entire con­formity to the will of God and placed all their joy in the accomplishment thereof; thus everything turned out to their satisfaction. To them that love God all things work together unto good (Rom. viii. 28). The just shall not be saddened by anything that happens to him (Prov. xii. 21). Labor, temptation, mortification, all was converted for them into joy because they understood that such was the will of God, in which all their satisfaction lay. They had gained already that happiness and bliss which can be tasted in this life and so they walked as if in glory. St. Catherine of Siena says very well on this point that the just are like Christ our Redeemer, Who never lost the blessedness of His soul for all His many griefs and pains. There the just never lose that blessedness which consists in conformity to the will of God, for all their many afflictions. There ever lasts and remains in them that joy and satisfaction, which con­sists in the will and good pleasure of God being accom­plished in them.

Perfect Conformity Leads to Peace that Surpasses All Understanding

This is a peace so exalted and so extraordinary that St. Paul says of it: The peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and intelligences in Christ Jesus (Phil. iv. 7). He says that this peace surpasses all understanding, because it is so high and supernatural a gift that human understanding cannot of itself compre­hend how it is possible for a heart of flesh to be quiet, peace­ful, and full of consolation in the midst of the whirlwinds and storms of temptation and affliction there are in this life. This appears in the marvel of the bush that burned and was not consumed, and in the miracle of the three youths in the Babylonian furnace, who in the midst of the fire remained whole and entire, praising God. This it is that holy Job said, speaking to God: Lord, thou tormentest me marvelously (Job x. 16), giving us to understand on the one hand the great affliction and pain that he was suffering and on the other hand the great content and satisfaction that he had in suffering, since such was the will and good pleasure of God.

This Peace From God is Miraculous

Cassian relates that an old man of Alexandria, being surrounded by a great multitude of unbelievers uttering curses against him, stood in the midst of them like a lamb, suffering in silence with great peacefulness of heart. They mocked him, gave him buffets and blows, and did him other grievous injuries. Among other things, they said to him with scorn: “What miracles has Jesus Christ wrought?” He answered: “The miracles that He has wrought are that, suffering the injuries that you are doing me, even if they were greater, still I feel no indignation nor anger against you nor any trouble of passion.” This is a great marvel and a very high and extraordinary perfection.

Of that mountain of Macedonia called Olympus the ancients say, and St. Augustine refers to it in many places, that it is so high that there is no experience up there of winds or rains or clouds. Even birds cannot harbor there, since it is so high as to rise above the first region of the air and reach to the second; and so the air there is so pure and refined that clouds cannot form and float in it, as they require a more dense atmosphere. And for the same rea­son birds cannot hold on their way there nor can men live there either, the air being too subtle and refined for respir­ation. Information of this was given by certain climbers who went up there year after year to offer certain sacri­fices. They carried with them moist sponges to put to their nostrils, and so condense the air as to make it breathable. These people wrote up there in the dust certain alphabetic characters, which they found next year as clean-cut and entire as they had left them, which could not be if there were winds and rains. Now this is the state of perfection to which they have mounted up and attained, who have this entire conformity to the will of God. They have mounted and risen so high, they have gained by this time such a per­fect peace, that there are no clouds nor winds nor rains to reach them there, nor birds of prey to attack and rob them of the peace and joy of their heart.

St. Augustine on those words: Blessed are the peace­makers, for they shall be called the children of God (Matt. v. 9), says that Christ our Redeemer calls peacemakers blessed and children of God because there is nothing in them that contradicts or resists the will of God, but in all things they are conformable like good sons, who in every­thing seek to be like their father, having no other will this way or that but what their father has this way or that.

This is one of the most spiritual and essential points of spiritual life. He that shall arrive at the pitch of taking all things that befall him, great and small, as coming from the hand of God and so conforming himself to the divine will therein as that all his satisfaction is the satisfaction of God and the fulfilment of His most holy will—such a one has found a paradise on earth, Plis abode is in peace and his dwelling on Mount Sion (Psalm Ixxv. 3). Such a one, says St. Bernard, may in all security and confidence sing the canticle of the Wise Man: In all things I have sought rest, and shall dwell in the inheritance of the Lord (Bcclus. xxiv. 11) because I have found the true repose and full and com­plete joy that no one can take away: that your joy be fullf and your joy no man shall take away from you (John xvi. 22, 24). Oh, if we could succeed in placing all our satisfac­tion in the fulfilment of the will of God, so that our will should be ever His will and our satisfaction His satisfac­tion! Oh, that I were minded, O Lord, never to will or will not except as Thou willest and willest not, and that that were my consolation in all things! It is good for me to cleave unto God, and put my hope in the Lord God (Psalm Ixxii. 28). Oh, what a good thing it would be for my soul to be thus united to God! Oh, how well off should we be, if we were always so united with Him as in all that we did and suffered to regard nothing but the accomplishment of the will of God, and that was all our satisfaction and delight! This is what that holy man, Thomas a Kempis, said: “He to whom all things are one and all lead to one and all things are seen in one, can be steady in heart and rest peacefully on God.”

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: