Daily Thought For April 19, 2019

Overcoming Trivial Things

Let me warn you, Theotimus, of a troublesome temptation that frequently comes to those who have a strong desire to do God's will: They fret over trifles. Should I accept this invitation to dinner? Should I wear gray or black clothes? Should I fast on Friday or Saturday? Should I play a game or not? This takes their time and energy. While trying to determine what is best, they miss opportunities to do something good. 

We don't weigh small change. Commerce would become very inefficient and cumbersome if we did. There is nothing to be gained by weighing every little action to know whether it may be of more value than some other action. Is it better to attend one church than another? Is it better to spin than to sew? It is poor service to a master to spend as much time considering what is to be done as actually doing it. Our attention is to be in proportion to the importance of what we are doing. 

Some things need serious consideration: the choice of a vocation, a significant business deal, a lengthy labor, a huge expense, moving to a new location, the choice of friends, and similar issues. But there is no reason to scrutinize every little thing we face on a daily basis. Even a mistake in these will not lead to any disastrous consequences. It wastes two people's time to ask advice regarding such things. Why should I torture myself wondering whether God would rather I say the Rosary or Our Lady's Office? What difference does it make? Should I visit the sick in the hospital or attend vespers? Should I attend one church or another? Ordinarily one such alternative is no better than the other. There is no need to deliberate at great length. 

We will not discover God's will through the power of examination and the subtlety of dialogue. Once we have prayed for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and listened to the counsel of our spiritual director and two or three others, we need to make a decision. Once it is made, don't look back. Devoutly, peacefully, and confidently get it done. You may be hindered by unexpected problems as you work at it. Don't let that stop you. Keep at it. Realize that if you had made another choice it could possibly be a hundred times more difficult. We don't know whether God's will is to be accomplished in comfort or in anguish, in peace or in war. Once we make a holy resolution, never doubt the holiness of it. Unless we fail, it cannot fail. To behave in any other way indicates selfishness, childishness, weakness, and silliness of spirit. 

from Living Love — A Modern Edition of Treatise On The Love of God by St. Francis de Sales pp. 81-22

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