We are pilgrims on a journey. There are many paths we can take. Some are well paved, manicured, and have open canopy exposing the wide blue sky. These are consoling moments. We walk freely and easily. The sun’s rays fill us with renewed hope and great expectations for what is to come. We have confidence in the Lord and where we are headed.
Other paths are obscure. The entrance is cloaked with low hanging branches, tall grass and weeds. The path meanders mysteriously onward yet the only way is forward. Maybe we elected this path, choosing between well paved and the one less traveled. It may also be the case that there are no options. The well paved path becomes obscure. Life does not let us turn. We must go forward even though we think there is no way out, that life will not get better, that we are stuck.
Divine providence is our companion on life’s pilgrimage. There is a well-known prayer pilgrims are encouraged to carry with them along the way. I learned this prayer many years ago in a book called Trustful Surrender by Fr. Jean Baptist Saint-Jure, S.J. and St. Claude De La Colombiere, S.J. It is a prayer that provides sustenance when the provisions grow thin along the obscure path. As I’ve grown in faith and understanding it always meets me where I am. This prayer allows me to place our faith, hope, and charity in God in full confidence that He will provide:
“Lord, I make an act of faith in your divine providence. I have faith that your gracious hand guides us. I have faith that our dreams and desires, joys and sufferings, trials and tribulations are known to you and kept close to your divine heart. You never stop thinking about us and working for us.
Lord, I make an act of hope in your divine providence. I hope that you go before us making our crooked ways straight. I hope that as we strive to do your will – to reverence, praise, and serve you- that this pleases you. As long as we do this you will guide us, protect us, and provide for us and in the end everything will turn out for our advantage and your greater glory.
Lord, I make an act of charity in your divine providence. I love you above all things and know your ways to be true and wise. You have said that we are the ‘apple of your eye’, your ‘face will shine upon us and your peace dwell within us’. I dedicate myself to you. I know I can do all things through Christ and that I am surrounded by God’s favor. I pray for the grace of an open heart to hear your voice and discern your call.”
We can all too easily give up when life doesn’t go our way. We throw in the towel, stop searching for solutions, and have pity on ourselves. Too often we think the pilgrimage has reached a dead end. There is no further to go.
This is farthest from the truth. The path may be obscured or wind its way around a dark and foreboding bend. We must not give up on God. We must invoke and practice the three theological virtues to animate our spirit. Gives us the courage to keep moving forward. It is His divine Providence that will provide the navigation and the wind in our sails.