It is well to choose some one good devotion, and to stick to it, and never to abandon it.
So St Philip Neri said in his maxim for today, January 5th, from his Maxims and Sayings. This is exactly what the problem has been for me. Instead of sticking to one good devotion I have jumped all over the place. Of course the result of that has been that nothing has taken root.
I decided that I must follow the saint’s advice and choose one good devotion. What should it be? I was not looking for a devotion like the rosary or the Liturgy of the Hours, but more a way of living my life day by day, moment by moment. Much of this blog so far has been a record of my searching for just such a devotion. How could I decide what the right one was for me?
There are two books (apart from the Bible itself) which I have read over and over again in my Christian life. One is de Caussade’s Self Abandonment to Divine Providence and the other is Schryvers’ The Gift of Oneself. Of all the books I have read, those are the two I keep coming back to. It seemed to me that the right answer to my search must lie in one or other of these two. In fact they are both probably describing exactly the same thing - but there is no doubt that I find The Gift of Oneself easier to understand and to follow.
So I have decided that my “one good devotion” will be the path described in The Gift:
Poor scrupulous Soul, learn to serve God in peace and tranquility!
The obligation of the present moment ceases to be a duty for thee when thou dost not recognize it. If thy mind does not perceive it, for thee it is no longer the Will of God. It is not necessary to devote long efforts to this examination. A second suffices, time to look toward God. Conscience will give the answer. If it is affirmative, the will accepts it; if the answer is negative, the will gives up the idea; if it is doubtful, the will goes on without being disturbed.
When God wishes to give us a command, He does so clearly. He does not desire us to be troubled; for trouble is a cloud that hides Him from our view.
Take each action by itself, and perform it as if thou hadst nothing else to do today. Work diligently, without laziness, without slowness; but do not be tormented by the desire of finishing. The first action done, raise thine eyes for a moment to the Divine Master; then begin another duty.
There is far more in the book of course than these two quotations, but they are a good starting point. Anyway one of my two Epiphany resolutions is to stick to this and never to abandon it. My other resolution is to write about my experiences daily on this blog. Which will be the easier to keep to, I wonder?
Speravit anima mea in Domino
In the meantime the snow has been quietly falling outside.