“Thy will be done.”

I don’t have enough time to write a solid post today, but I wanted to share this with you. I got a book of St. Francis de Sales’ letters at the local Catholic bookstore a few days ago, and the first letter inside is one he wrote to a young woman who wanted to be a nun but kept running into obstacles. It reads:


You should resign yourself entirely into the hands of the good God, who, when you have done your little duty about this inspiration and design which you have, will be pleased with whatever you do, even if it be much less. In a word, you must have courage to do everything to become a religious, since God gives you such a desire: but if after all your efforts you cannot succeed, you could not please our Lord more than by sacrificing to him your will, and remaining in tranquillity, humility, and devotion, entirely conformed and submissive to his divine will and good pleasure, which you will recognize clearly enough when, having done your best, you cannot fulfil your desires.

For our good God sometimes tries our courage and our love, depriving us of the things which seem to us, and which really are, very good for the soul; and if he sees us ardent in their pursuit, and yet humble, tranquil, and resigned to the doing without and to the privation of the thing sought, he gives us blessings greater in the privation than in the possession of the thing desired; for in all, and everywhere, God loves those who with good heart, and simply, on all occasions, and in all events, can say to him,


      -St. Francis de Sales, Letter XVIII

He writes about this often: God wants to be obeyed. He wants you to trust him. He appreciates it when you try to go and do something good…but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t necessarily mean you failed. It just means it isn’t what was meant to be right then.

It can sound fatalistic, but to me, it’s kind of comforting. No matter what you do, if it’s done with love, that’s your salvation.

Published by Catherine Addington

I am a translator from Spanish to English and a writer on saints, myths, and icons in both religious and secular contexts.

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