Unseen Warfare - Chapter 3.
On hope in God alone and on confidence in Him
Although, as we have said, it is very important not to rely on our own efforts in this unseen warfare, at the same time, if we merely give up all hope of ourselves and despair of ourselves without having found another support, we are certain to flee immediately from the battlefield or to be overcome and taken prisoner by our enemies. Therefore, together with complete renunciation of ourselves, “we should plant in our heart a perfect trust in God and a complete confidence in Him. In other words we should feel with our whole heart that we have no one to rely on except God, and that from Him and Him alone can we expect every kind of good, every manner of help, and victory. Since we are nothing, we can expect nothing from ourselves, except stumblings and falls, which make us relinquish all hope of ourselves. On the other hand, we are certain always to be granted victory by God, if we arm our heart with a living trust in Him and an unshakable certainty that we will receive His help) according to the psalm: ‘My heart trusted in him, and I am helped’ (Ps. xxviii. 7).
The following thoughts will help you to be grounded in this hope and, thereby, to receive help:
- that we seek help from God, Who is Omnipotent and can do all that chooses, and therefore can also help us.
- that we seek it from God, Who, being Omniscient and Wise, knows all in the most perfect manner, and therefore knows fully what Is best for the salvation of each one of us.
- that we seek help from God, Who is infinitely Good and Who comes to us with ineffable love, always desirous and ready from hour to hour and from moment to moment to give us all the help we need for complete victory in the spiritual warfare which takes place in us, as soon as we run with firm trust to the protection of His arms. And how is it possible that our good Shepherd, Who for three years went in search of sheep that had gone astray, calling so loudly that His throat became parched, and following ways so hard and thorny that He shed all His blood and gave up His life; how is it possible, I repeat, that now, if His sheep follow Him, turn to Him with love and call for His help with hope, He should fail to turn His eyes to the lost sheep, take it into His divine arms and, placing it among the heavenly angels, make a welcoming feast for its sake? If our God never ceases to search diligently and lovingly for the blind and deaf sinner (like the woman for the piece of silver in the Gospels), how is it possible to suppose that He would abandon him now when, like a lost sheep, he cries out calling for his Shepherd? And who will ever believe that God, Who, according to the Revelation, constantly stands at the door of a man’s heart, and knocks, wishing to come in and sup with him (Rev. iii. 20), and bestow His gifts upon him, who will believe that this same God should remain deaf and refuse to enter if a man opens to Him the door of his heart and invites Him in?
- And the fourth method of maintaining a lively trust in God and of attracting His speedy help is to review in our memory all I the instances of speedy divine help described in the Scriptures. These instances, which are so numerous, show us clearly that no one, who put his trust in God, was ever left confounded and without help. ‘Look at the generations of old”, says the wise Sirach, ‘and see; did ever any trust in the Lord, and was confounded?” (Ecclesiasticus ii. 10).
Armed with these four weapons, enter the battle with courage, my brother, and wage war watchfully with the full conviction that victory will be granted you. For with their help you will most certainly acquire perfect trust in God, and this trust will never fail to attract God’s help and invest you with unconquerable power. These two together will in the end make complete distrust of yourself deeply rooted in you. I omit no occasion in this chapter of reminding you to distrust yourself, for I know no one who has no need to be reminded of it. Self-esteem is so deeply rooted in us and so firmly enmeshed in us, making us think that we are some- thing, and something not unimportant, that it always hides in our heart as a subtle and imperceptible movement, even when we are sure that we do not trust ourselves and are, on the contrary, filled I / with complete trust in God alone. In order to avoid this conceit of the heart and act without any self-reliance, led only by your , trust in God, take care always to preserve an attitude in which the consciousness and feeling of your weakness always precede in you the contemplation of God’s omnipotence, and let both alike precede your every action.