The idea of surrender to God is one of those “weird” moments in Matt’s life. Fear not, there are, tragically, not that many. Were that there were more! But, I recall some years ago being in the passenger seat of a car and either pulling out of a detached garage, I think it was my in-laws. They are the only ones I’ve known with a detached garage, very common in Chicago bungalows. But, I remember either pulling out of the garage forwards, or backing into the garage, God chooses when and where He will, and having what I call a grace, to be granted the insight and the commitment at the same time to surrender to God and to know this was right and desired by Him. And, have been convicted and blessed in that knowledge joyfully so ever since. Weird. I know.
-Donohue, Bill. The Catholic Advantage: Why Health, Happiness, and Heaven Await the Faithful (p. 171-174). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
“…We can offer ourselves up to God as well, (Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, SJ, Abandonment to Divine Providence) instructs, but to do so requires the combined exercise of faith, hope, and love. Our faith in God, our hope for eternal salvation, our love for God and neighbor, it is these virtues, when exercised in tandem, that constitute the makings of surrender. Absent their presence, true surrender is not possible.
Above all, surrender demands freedom from self-interest. “The free gifts He asks from us are self-denial, obedience, and love,” the French Jesuit tells us. Easier said than done, especially in our society today. American culture celebrates self-expression, self-autonomy, and narcissism, the exact opposite traits that are necessary to surrender to God. Indeed, we treat freedom from self-interest as a bizarre and completely unsatisfactory quality, something suited for masochists. But if we obsess with putting ourselves first, Father de Caussade writes, we have no room for God, and no capacity to love our neighbor.
…“Faith is never unhappy,”…“What is wonderful in the saints is their constancy of faith under every circumstance,”…saintly qualities have a way of capturing the hearts of all persons…
…there are obstacles to surrender, and they are formidable: unwise counsel; unjust judgments of others; interior humiliations; and distrust of self.
…We can learn from the saints how to perfect the practice of surrendering to God,…that their holiness is found in “their surrender to the will of God.”…Surrender also brings joy. What cannot be doubted is that we will be tested. “The state of full surrender is full of consolation for those who have reached it,” he says, “but in order to reach it we must pass through much anguish.”…
…On the Feast of All Saints in 2013, Pope Francis noted that saints are not “supermen” who were born “perfect.” No, he insists, they lived lives much like ours, full of “joy and griefs, struggles and hopes.” So what made them different? “They spent their lives in the service of others,” he says; “they endured suffering and adversity without hatred and responded to evil with good, spreading joy and peace.”
“The divine activity permeates the whole universe, it pervades every creature; wherever they are it is there; it goes before them, with them, and it follows them; all they have to do is to let the waves bear them on. Would to God that … all men could know how very easy it would be for them to arrive at a high degree of sanctity. They would only have to fulfill the simple duties of Christianity and of their state in life; to embrace with submission the crosses belonging to that state, and to submit with faith and love to the designs of Providence in all those things that have to be done or suffered without going out of their way to seek occasions for themselves. … This is the spirituality of all ages and of every state. No state of life can, assuredly, be sanctified in a more exalted manner, nor in a more wonderful and easy way than by the simple use of the means that God, the sovereign director of souls, gives them to do or to suffer at each moment.”
—Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence
Love, surrendering always to Him, or trying,