Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Being Held Back

I recently learned that the Spiritual Direction course I've been wanting to take for a year has postponed its start date from this coming September to the Fall of 2013.  I didn't realize how much I was looking forward to this and counting on it as being my next step.  In spiritual direction yesterday, my director told me "You are being held back for some reason."  This has been apparent to me and I know it will make sense looking back, but it's a little stifling moving forward.  I'm embarrassed to admit I feel a little aimless.  When I try to guess at what God is doing (which you are not supposed to do and is proof of my self-love), I can think of a lot of reasons why this might be happening:  to temper my impetuousity, increase my patience, increase my detachment to all things - including things that I believe are His will for me, increase life experience, increase and purify my desire, increase my knowledge of the spiritual life, etc...

I think I must also overcome the subtle temptation to believe I must be doing something that feels like spiritual progress to be making spiritual progress!  Ultimately, I must abandon my will to God's will and wait patiently on Him.  This is a definitive and recurring theme in my life!!

Jean-Pierre de Caussade in Abandonment to Divine Providence, has many powerful and illuminating things to say about this:

"Review your life.  Is it not composed of innumerable actions of very little importance?  Well, God is quite satisfied with these.  They are the share that the soul must take in the work of its perfection." 

"Perfection is neither more nor less than the faithful co-operation of the soul with this work of God, and is begun, grows, and is consummated in the soul unperceived and in secret."

"God makes saints as He pleases, but they are made always according to His plan, and in submission to His will."

"The docile soul will not seek to learn by what road God is conducting it."

"There cannot be anything great in us in the sight of God except our passive endurance.  Therefore let us think of it no more, let us leave the care of our sanctification to God who well knows how to effect it.  It all depends on the watchful care, and particular operation of divine Providence, and is accomplished in a great measure without our knowledge, and even in a way that is unexpected, and disagreeable to us."

"When one loves God, one does not wish to make greater progress than God wills..."

"...for nothing is so opposed to the Spirit of God and to the marks of His grace, than interior distress, produced by a too great eagerness for even the best and holiest things.  Moderate this indiscreet zeal, this too impetuous impulsiveness, and direct all your efforts to the fulfillment of the holy will of God in all things, renouncing your own will however holy and reasonable it may appear to you."

"Now you must seek, in all things, not your own satisfaction however spiritual it may be, but the perfect satisfaction of God."

Today my prayer is a modification from yet another quote in this must-read book:

Dear Heavenly Father, Do not let me think so much of my own interests; my business is to occupy myself simply and quietly with You, to accomplish Your will in all that You require at present.  That is my task, all the rest I leave to You; my progress is Your business, as mine is to busy myself for You and to obey Your orders.  Thank you for loving me.  I love you and trust your plans for my life.  Amen.

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