Let us do three things, my dearest daughter, and we will have peace: let us have the very pure intention of will to do all things for the honor and glory of God; let us do the little that we can toward that end, according to the advice of our spiritual director; and let us leave it to God to take care of all the rest.St. Francis de Sales
Intention. God can perform amazing works through us when we offer him our sincere desire and intention to do His will. Just this simple act of wanting to please God can help us to discern what steps we should take to achieve that goal, and furthermore, we can trust that He will give us the graces we need to accomplish it. In this instance, it really is the thought that counts. Our Heavenly Father knows that we will need His help in order to carry out His will, but He desires that, like obedient children, we be willing to say “yes” to His plan.
Action. Intentions are all well and good, but if we sit around all day, just waiting for a sign from Heaven or a voice to tell us what we should do, we’re never going to actually do anything. It is just as important to take action, trusting that God will use our actions for good. Father Jacques Philippe shares a helpful prayer in his treatise Searching for and Maintaining Peace:
"Lord, I have thought about it and prayed to know Your will. I do not see it clearly, but I am not going to trouble myself any further. I am not going to spend hours racking my brain. I am deciding such and such a thing because, all things carefully considered, it seems to me the best thing to do. And I leave everything in Your hands. I know well that, even if I am mistaken, You will not be displeased with me, for I have acted with good intentions. And if I have made a mistake, I know that You are able to draw good from this error. It will be for me a source of humility and I will learn something from it!"
Surrender. This is the hardest and, of course, most important step of all! Ultimately, we can’t control the outcome of our actions. Only God can do that. We can take action, with the best of intentions and after having prayed for guidance and right judgement, but it’s up to God to bring our works to fruition. Not knowing whether something we said or did helped someone can be challenging. When confusion and uncertainty threaten to steal our peace, knowing in our hearts that God can bring good out of our actions, done for His glory, gives us the assurance that we need to surrender control to the One who holds all things in His hands.
St. Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, pray for us!