Blind and Blinkered
With a touching simplicity Our Lord says, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Lk 12:6-7). Dame Julian of Norwich puts it this way:
I saw in truth that God does all things, however small they may be. And I saw that nothing happens by chance, but by the far-sighted wisdom of God. If it seems like chance to us, it is because we are blind and blinkered.
In the Hand of His Providence
Saint Francis de Sales taught the same doctrine:
Do not look forward to the mishaps of this life with anxiety, but await them with perfect confidence so that when they do occur, God, to whom you belong, will deliver you from them. He has kept you up to the present; remain securely in the hand of His providence, and He will help you in all situations. When you cannot walk, He will carry you. Do not think about what will happen tomorrow, for the same eternal Father who takes care of you today will look out for you tomorrow and always.
Fruits of the Holy Ghost
Once we have accepted that all things are in the hand of God, and that the great events of history, like the smallest details of our own lives, are willed or permitted by Him, we begin to experience an unassailable peace of heart. “In everything, says Saint Paul, God works for good with those who love Him” (Rom 8:28). Worry has never advanced the kingdom of heaven. Worry has never made anyone holy. Panic, fretting, and anxiety are not fruits of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost produces confidence in God, trust in His mercy, abandonment to His designs, surrender to His will and, always, peace.
Again, Saint Francis de Sales has a word for people who have the need always to be in control:
When we let go of everything, our Lord takes care of all and manages all. If we hold back anything — this shows a lack of trust in Him — He lets us keep it. It is as if he said, “You think yourself wise enough to handle this matter without me; I allow you to do so; you will see how you come out in the end.”
It is a sound observation of human psychology that the more one feels that the big things in one’s life are spinning out of control, the more one grasps at the little things, trying desperately to control what one can.
Worry Impedes Thanksgiving
Nothing keeps us from full participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass — Christ’s Great Thanksgiving to the Father — as much as a stubborn attachment to worry. Worry impedes thanksgiving. Saint Pio said, “Guard yourselves against anxiety and worries, because there is nothing worse in the way of perfection than agitations, worries and anxieties of soul.”
The cry of the priest at the beginning of the Preface, Sursum corda, “All hearts on high!” — and the response of the people, Habemus ad Dominum, “We hold them towards the Lord!” is a way of proclaiming that all of history, and even the tiniest bits and scraps of our own lives, are part of a bigger plan. Nothing that befalls us can keep us from God; every little thing has Eucharistic potential. In all things there is a reason to give thanks.