“I am grateful to the Lord Jesus for this illness, because it gave me an opportunity to complete what you ordered me to do, dear Father; that is, to put both Diaries in order and to underline what is not of me but of the Lord Jesus. I carried out everything as best I could, even though with a certain clumsiness. I have already filled these two notebooks and begun the third one. If I had not been ill, I would not have had the time to do this. The Lord Jesus knows what He is doing; we should simply know how to submit to His holy will in everything.”
– letter to Father Sopocko
Pradnik Sanatorium, 24th March 1937
Submission to the will of God in all things is part and parcel of the life of every Religious; it is the constant goal, the horizon toward which the soul walks, the result of daily battle to overcome self. And it is the same for every baptised Christian – this, too, should be our goal, always and everywhere. The reality is not always quite so straight-forward for us; we deviate from this singular path in so very many ways, day in and day out.
We are human beings, and this means we have a necessarily limited vision – sometimes, seeing no more than what is directly in front of us, and then only when it is very well lit. The Lord takes a broader view of things. Everything is subject to His divine will, which holds the Universe in existence. And His vision extends through all moments of human history, while we often see only the present moment. If we genuinely seek to submit ourselves to the will of the Lord, then it means accepting those things we would not necessarily choose for ourselves.
In this fragment of a letter from Saint Faustina to Blessed Father Sopocko, our Saint reminds us that those things too, the things we would not choose, all have a part in God’s plan for us. In this instance, it is illness to which she refers. And immediately, she is able to see the positive effect of something we perceive to be negative – she notes that the illness allows her the time needed to do something very important, time she would not otherwise have had.
Looking today at our own lives, what do we see which we think of as being negative, placed upon us unwillingly, rather than embraced as a positive opportunity? What good are we able to see as coming from this circumstance? Can we see that what we think of initially as a trial to be borne, might actually be an opportunity to be grasped?
It takes grace and it takes trust to see life in this way; today, let us pray that we might be granted this grace.