To trust in Divine Providence is to seek the will of God. This trust does not come for free – we must invest in it our patience, humility, gratitude, and hope.
St. Louise advised the Daughters to “remain at peace until Divine Providence lets you know what It is asking of you.” [Sp. Wri., 249] Often filled with anxiety when things did not go according to her own plans, Louise had learned that abandonment to God’s will requires patience for God’s timing, even when we have already embarked on God’s work.
As Vincentians, we know that in serving the least among us, we are doing God’s will, because he very specifically, and explicitly told us to do exactly this! So, when we run into things that feel like obstacles in the course of our works, we must not be discouraged or anxious. “Having begun His work in us,” St. Vincent taught, “He will complete it.” [CCD XI:31]
If the money seems low in the treasury, but it is enough to help the needs before us now, then it is enough. God knows and will provide for our needs, now and next week, “particularly those which human prudence can neither foresee nor meet,” as St. Louise put it. [Sp. Wri., 174]
As Frédéric put it, we should remain “content to see the stone on which we should step without wanting to discover all at once and completely the windings of the road.” [Letter 136]
Or to use an old cowboy saying, “Dance with the one that brung ya.”
It takes great humility to set aside our own prudence and foresight, earned over many years of worldly experience, with faith that God will provide. At the same time, it is an act of profound gratitude.
If we are thankful, as we pray at every Conference meeting, for the many blessings he has already bestowed on us, then as St. Louise explained “we would be the greatest ingrates in the world” if at the first obstacle we were to abandon our trust in the Providence which has so far given us all that we need. [Sp. Wri., 174]
Trust in Providence is not only for the work of our Conferences, but for every part of our lives. For each time we set aside our anxieties, for each day we let the day’s own troubles suffice, we will be reassured once again of God’s abundance and love, which we receive that we might share.
And in time we will say with Bl. Frédéric that Providence “has for some time granted me so many favors that I would be ungrateful not to hope.” [Letter 365]
Do I sometimes let pride in my own wisdom override my trust in Providence?
15 Days of Prayer with Bl. Frédéric Ozanam (especially 14 – Providence)