NOTE: Another excerpt from Caryll Houselander's The Reed of God, read to us at dinner last evening in the monastery refectory. Good stuff! -- Br. Francis
No one can be so recollected, so tranquil, that he can be a contemplative in the world, a contemplative of Christ in his own heart, unless at the very outset he finds a cure for fear.
There is only one cure for fear--trust in God. That is why the beginning of Christ's being formed in us consists in echoing Our Lady's fiat: it is a surrender, a handing over of everything to God.
Many people feel that they could achieve heroic sanctity if they could do it in the way that appeals to them, for example, by being martyred. They can picture themselves going cheerfully to the stake; they can positively revel in being hanged, drawn, and quartered; but if God makes no revelation but just lets them go on carrying out an insignificant job in the office day after day, or asks them to go on being gentle to a crotchety husband or to continue to be a conscientious housewife, they are not willing. They do not trust God to know his own will for them.
Most people trust finite, helpless creatures more than they trust God, and this for the oddest of reasons--namely, that the finite, helpless creature is as frightened as they are; both are clinging to the same insecurities.
We are afraid of birth, of life, of pain, of loss, of death.
All through life we are dogged with fear. Some fears knit us together in sympathy, make us aware of our dependence upon one another. We sense vaguely that we belong to one family, but not always that we have one Father, God.
We have had it instilled into us since we were in the cradle that the one security is money, money alone can save us. We are dependent on bought things: drugs, anesthetics, alcohol, distractions, escapes from ourselves, escapes from our humiliations. We are afraid for ourselves, but a thousand times more afraid for those we love. Gradually, without knowing it, we have come to trust more in money than in God.
The remedy for fear is trust in God. If we fear for ourselves or if we fear for others, it is all the same: trust in God is the only remedy.
Powerful to alleviate, to delay, to camouflage, though money is, in the end it lets us down. Even when we have it we are continually anxious about losing it.
God is everlasting, certain, unchanging.
What is certain about God is that he is Love, that he loves both you and the person that you love, more than you do.
"Be it done unto me according to they word" surrenders yourself and all that is dear to you to God, and the trust which it implies does not mean just trusting God to look after you and yours, to keep you and them in health and prosperity and honor.
It means much more, it means trusting that whatever God does with you and with yours is the act of an infinitely loving Father.
-- Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God