Words to live by: “The lesson to learn is a complete and unbounded trust in the guiding hand of Providence”

Total abandonment to the Divine Providence is the most uplifting, fulfilling, stress-relieving thing you can do for yourself. “For my yoke is sweet, and my burden light.” (Matt 11:30)

God is in control, whether or not what anyone thinks. God is in control, so why not just hand it over? Your straining against the yoke is literally the stupidest thing you can do. Resolve to conform your will to His, and then turn it over to Him. He loves you with infinite love, a depth of love impossible to comprehend until we reside inside of it, within the Beatific Vision, God willing.

Everything happening to you and all around you was foreseen by God before He created the universe, and permitted by Him in the present, for your benefit. God exists outside of time, so the metaphor is imperfect, but as the old soap opera says, “Like sands through the hourglass…” Recognize that all the events through the course of your life, all your joys and sorrows, were BY DESIGN. Remember that two sparrows are sold for a farthing, yet the Father knows when one falls, and all the hairs of your head have been numbered. Our free will, the choices we make, are known to God ahead of time, and He constantly and lovingly provides the necessary tools for us to choose wisely (in other words, to love Him back) so that we can be with Him forever. Many times these tools are difficult to bear, but bearing them well, it is precisely in their difficulty that we obtain further graces. God will never give you a burden too great; they are always custom made. Everyone who makes it to Heaven gets there by harnessing suffering, responding to grace, and pressing forward.

Total abandonment to the Divine Providence is not passive; it becomes a sort of bearing. It does NOT mean throwing up your hands, saying there is nothing we can do, being tempted to hopelessness, despair, loss of faith, nor even worse, scandalizing others into these temptations. Total abandonment is an act of the will, so it starts with you. There is always something you can do, and your rightly ordered actions will be rewarded. This can also be viewed from the perspective of fraternal charity, and helping others on their path towards sanctification. It’s that idea of, “secure your own mask first, before helping others.”

Your role, first and foremost: Stay close to the sacraments, daily Mass if at all possible, frequent confession. Daily Rosary is a must. Have you started honing your Adoration skills? Have you begun the transformative shift to contemplative prayer before the Blessed Sacrament? You shouldn’t be the one doing all the talking; still yourself, surrender, and listen. Have you begun to yearn for His presence anytime you are away? Have you reached the point where you really just don’t want to leave the chapel, and feel torn in tending to the needs of the world?

If any of this sounds unfamiliar, now you have some Lent goals.

Memento Mori means “Remember you die.” It serves us well to be ever mindful of this ancient formula. While those lost to worldly folly use it to justify all manner of bad behavior, YOLO style, the Catholic sense is quite the opposite. Essentially we need to be spiritual preppers, because we know not the hour nor the day. Don’t be one of those poor virgins who didn’t bring enough oil. You need to live your life like death is seconds away. You need to treat every confession and every Holy Communion like it might be your last. Try practicing memento mori in combination with total abandonment to the Divine Providence. You may be surprised its effect on everyday behavior.

Blessed Lent, everyone. 38 days to go… make the most of it.

Vanitas, Philippe de Champaigne, c. 1671

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