How many of us have read and heard of abandoning ourselves totally to God. And how many of us are then gripped with a deep-down fear that God is going to take something away from us that we do not want to do without, or that something bad is going to happen! This is a great excerpt from the wonderful book Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart:
With regard to what we have just considered, it is important to know how to unmask a frequent and very clever trick of the devil to trouble and discourage us.
Faced with certain goods that we possess (a material good, a friendship, an activity that we enjoy, etc.), the devil, in an effort to prevent us from abandoning ourselves to God causes us to imagine that if we put everything in God’s Hands, God will effectively take everything and “ruin” everything in our lives! And this arouses a sense of terror that completely paralyzes us.
But we must not fall into this trap.
Very frequently, on the contrary, the Lord asks only an attitude of detachment at the level of the heart, a disposition to give Him everything. But He doesn’t necessarily “take” everything. He leaves us in peaceful possession of many things when they are not bad in themselves and can serve His designs, knowing how to reassure us with respect to scruples that we might have in enjoying certain goods, certain human joys, scruples that one frequently finds in those who love the Lord and want to do his will.
And we must firmly believe that if God requires effective detachment of us, relative to this or that reality, He will have us clearly understand this in good time. He will give us the necessary strength.
And this detachment, even though it is painful at the moment, will be followed by a profound peace. The proper attitude then is simply to be disposed to give everything to God, without panic, and to allow Him to do things his way, in total confidence.
What to do when you are unable to abandon yourself?
We posed this question to Marthe Robin. Her response was: “Abandon yourself anyway!”
This is the response of a saint and I cannot permit myself to propose another. She adds her voice to that of St. Therese of the Child Jesus: “Total abandonment; that’s my only law!”
Abandonment is not natural; it is a grace to be asked of God. He will give it to us, if we pray with perseverance: Ask, and it will be given to you (Matthew 7:7).
Abandonment is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, but the Lord does not refuse this Spirit to those who ask with faith: if you, then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him! (Luke 11:13)