Working in Quiet Cooperation with God


blackberriesThis passage from St. Francis de Sales (An Introduction to the Devout Life) has been keeping me sane as I second-guess most of the substantial decisions I have made in the last two weeks:

Flies harass us more by their numbers than by their sting. Similarly, great matters disturb us less than a multitude of small affairs. Accept the duties which are entrusted to you quietly, and try to fulfill them methodically, one after another. If you attempt to do everything at once, or with confusion, you will only burden yourself with your own exertions, and by entangling your mind, you will probably be overwhelmed and accomplish nothing.

In all your affairs rely on God’s Providence, through which alone your plans can succeed. Meanwhile, on your part, work on in quiet cooperation with God, and then rest satisfied that if you have entrusted your work entirely to God, you will always obtain that measure of success which is best for you, whether it seems so or not in your own judgment.

Imitate a little child, who holds tight with one hand to his father’s, while with the other gathers blackberries from the wayside hedge. Even so, while you gather and use this world’s goods with one hand, always let the other be secure in your Heavenly Father’s hand, and look round from time to time to make sure that he is satisfied with what you are doing, at home or abroad. Beware of letting his hand go, seeking to make or receive more – if God forsakes you, you will fall to the ground at the very first step. When your ordinary work or business is not particularly engrossing, let your heart be fixed more on God than on it; and if the work be such as to require your undivided attention, then pause from time to time and look to God, even as navigators do who set their course for the harbor by looking up at the heavens rather than down into the deeps on which they sail. Doing this, you will see that God will work with you, in you, and for you, and your work will be blessed.


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Therese Borchard
I am a writer and chaplain trying to live a simple life in Annapolis, Maryland.

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1 Response
  1. Jim Hawkins

    A poignant message, Therese,

    I love your of the child holding his father’s hand while picking blackberries. I remind myself frequently every day to thank God for the beauty of this world and his support to me and to all of us — lest I forget how inadequate I am by myself.

    Thanks for your reminders,