Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Novena for Order 2017, Day 2

Sometimes we live in God and sometimes God lives in us. These are very different states. When God lives in us, we should abandon ourselves completely to him, but when we live in him, we have to take care to employ every possible means to achieve a complete surrender to him. These mean are clear enough: courses of reading, self-analysis, regular examination of our progress -- everything is done by rule. Even the hours for conversation are fixed, and a spiritual director is always available. But when God lives in us, we have nothing to help us beyond what he gives us moment by moment. Nothing else is provided and no road is marked out. We are like a child who can be led about wherever one wishes and who is ignorant of everything except what is put in front of it. We are given no books with carefully marked passages, and very often we have no regular director, for God leaves us without any support except himself. We are abandoned and live in darkness. We are forgotten. Death and nothingness are our portion. We are aware of our needs and of our wretchedness, but we do not know from where or if any help will come. Meanwhile we do not worry and we wait quietly for someone to come and help us, and we keep our thoughts fixed on heaven. 
God sees nothing better in us that this total resignation of ourselves, and he himself provides us with books, gives us insight into our souls, together with advice and examples from the lives of the good and wise. Other people have great difficulty in discovering spiritual truths, but we, who have given ourselves to God, have no trouble. These others hold on to their spiritual discoveries, keep coming back and brooding over them, but we in whom God lives seize what each moment brings and then forget it, eager only to be alert to respond to God and live for him alone. They who live in God perform countless good works for his glory, but those in whom God lives are often flung into a corner like a useless bit of broken pottery. There they lie, forsaken by everyone, but yet enjoying God's very real and active love and knowing they have to do nothing but stay in his hands and be used as he wishes. Often they have no idea how they will be used, but he knows. The world thinks them useless and it seems as if they are. Yet is quite certain that by various means and through hidden channels they pour out spiritual help on people who are often quite unaware of it and of whom they themselves never think. For those who have surrendered themselves completely to God, all they are and do has power. Their lives are sermons. They are apostles. God gives a special force to all they say and do, even to their silence, their tranquillity and their detachment, which, quite unknown to them, profoundly influences other people. They themselves are influenced by others who by grace unknowingly benefit them; and in turn, they are used to guide and support other people who have no direct connection with them. God works through them by unexpected and hidden impulses. In this respect, they are like Jesus, who produced a secret healing power. The difference between him and them is that they are often unaware of this discharge of power and so do not co-operate with it. It is like a hidden scent which gives off its sweetness unknowingly and is quite ignorant of its strength. 
--Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Chapter 3, 1
Paul, six weeks old today, has not yet developed the ability to anticipate. One reason I have to watch him constantly is that he has no way to defend himself against the loving predations of his brother. The baby doesn't know to protect his head or cry out when he sees the three-year-old approaching. Even when he does get whapped, he doesn't see it coming in advance to worry about, and, if I comfort him quickly enough, he doesn't remember the pain past the moment he was hit. Although he doesn't know it, he is abandoned to my will. Not totally, of course -- he knows when he is hungry or when his diaper is uncomfortable, and his instincts lead him to anticipate being fed whenever something brushes his cheek. But he is the quintessential innocent child of the gospels, completely trusting, yet unaware that he trusts. He has no idea of the harms he's sheltered from, or the good that is coming to him. All his needs are provided for, past his expectations of comfort and safety and full tummy. Most of what I provide him he can't see, and won't understand until he's older, perhaps not even until he has a child himself.

Prayer for Ordering a Life Wisely