Saint Paul says that all things work together for good to them that love God.
And as this maxim is used very often, when we are treating of the spiritual life, it is important that we should understand the meaning of it, that we should discern the reason of it and examine its consequences. First, the Apostle says all things. He excepts nothing. All the events of Providence, whether fortunate or unfortunate, everything that has to do with health or wealth or reputation; every condition of life, all the different interior states through which we may have to pass — desolations, dryness, disgust, weariness, temptations — all this is to be for the advantage of those who love God; and more than this — even our faults, even our sins.
We must be resolved never to offend God willfully; but if unfortunately we do offend him, our very offenses, our very crimes, may be made use of for our advantage, if we really love God. We have only to remember David, we have only to remember Saint Peter, whose sins served only to make them holier afterward — that is to say, more humble, more grateful to God, more full of love.
All things work together for good. It is not a temporal good, not an earthly good. The Gospel warns us of that often enough. We are no longer under the dominion of the law, which promised temporal rewards to those who observed it; but we are under the rule of grace…. We must therefore believe — but with a belief that is born of faith and that does not rest on our own judgment — that our true good and our true advantage is found in the events of Divine Providence, and in all the different interior states through which God makes us pass, although often we cannot understand what God means to do with us…. But all these divine arrangements are a good only for those who love God — that is to say, for those whose will is united and submissive to the will of God, those who in his service consider before all things the interests of God, the glory of God, and the accomplishment of his good pleasure, who are ready to sacrifice to him everything without exception and who are persuaded that there is nothing better for a creature than to be lost in God and for God, because it is the only means of finding ourselves again in him.
Father Jean-Nicolas Grou, S.J. "Trusting that the Seed will Sprout and Grow." excerpt from The Spiritual Life: A Comprehensive Manual for Catholics Seeking Salvation (Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2002).
Reprinted with permission from Sophia Institute Press.
Father Jean-Nicolas Grou, S.J. (1731-1803) was a French Jesuit priest and mystic and a beloved spiritual master. He is the author, among other books, of The Spiritual Life: A Comprehensive Manual for Catholics Seeking Salvation, Meditations Upon The Love Of God, How To Pray, The practical science of the Cross in the use of the sacraments of penance and the eucharist. and The Spiritual Maxims of Pere Grou.Copyright © 2002 Sophia Institute Press
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