An analogous story

The daughter of a very able physician and surgeon, who knew that her father loved her perfectly, lay in continual fever and said to one of her friends: “I feel a great deal of pain, but I never think about any remedies, for I do not know what could bring about a cure. I might desire one thing, whereas another would be needed. Do I not gain more by leaving all this in my father’s care, since he has the knowledge, the ability, and the will to do for me whatever is necessary for my health? I would be wrong to give any thought to such things, since he will think of enough things for me. I would be wrong to want anything, for he will determine in sufficient measure all that will help me. I will only wait until he wills to do whatever he judges expedient. When he is with me, I will be content to look at him, show him my filial love, and make known my perfect confidence in him.”

After these words she fell asleep, while her father, who had decided that it was necessary to bleed her, arranged whatever was required. He then came to awaken her, questioned her as to how she had slept, and asked her if she was willing to be bled as a cure. “Father,” she said, “I am yours. I do not know what cure to wish for myself. It is for you to will and do for me whatever seems good to you. As for me, it is enough for me to love and honor you with all my heart, as I do.” Hence her arm was tied and her father himself applied the lancet to the vein.

While he made the incision and the blood flowed forth, his loving daughter never looked at her pierced arm or at the blood spurting from the vein, but kept her eyes fixed on her father’s face. From time to time she softly said only this: “My father loves me dearly, and I am wholly his.” When all this was finished, she did not thank him but only repeated once more those same words of filial affection and confidence.

Tell me Theotimus, my friend, did not this daughter show a more thoughtful and solid love for her father than if she had been very careful to ask him about remedies for her malady, watch him as he opened the vein and the blood flowed out, and say many words of thanks to him? There is no doubt whatever about it. If she had been thinking about herself, what would she have gained except unneeded care, since her father had care enough for her? What would she have gained from looking at her arm except fear? By thanking her father, what virtue but gratitude would she have practiced? Was it not better for her to concern herself entirely with the demonstration of her filial love, which as infinitely more pleasing to her father than every other virtue?

“My eyes are always toward the Lord, for He will free my feet from the snare” (Ps. 24:15) and from the nets. Have you fallen into the snare of adversity? Ah, do not look at your mishap or the snare in which you are caught. Look upon God and leave everything to Him, for He will take care of you. “Cast your care upon the Lord, and He will support you” (Ps 54:23) Why do you disturb yourself with willing or not willing the events and accidents of this world? You do not know what you ought to will and God will always will in sufficient measure all you could will for yourself without putting yourself in trouble.

(“Seek perfection in the submission to God’s will” pg 133-35 in “Finding God’s Will For You” by St Francis de Sales)

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