Faith and Life,  Spiritual Devotions,  World View

A Golden Thread of Trust

It is hard to deny with any credibility that the world in which we live, although “very good” as described in Genesis, is also a dark place – and that darkness seems only to deepen with each passing day. Seeing ourselves stumbling through this darkness whilst feeling completely unable to do much to improve things, we see our limitations and feel powerless.

These thoughts are often on my mind as I read the Psalms. There, I notice that the sense of powerlessness, of littleness, is actually nothing new – even as we think that our present travails have never been equalled at any time in the past. The Psalms offer songs of praise, of lament, of thanksgiving; running through all of them is the sense of trust in the Lord.

The Psalmist (Ps.28: 6-7) is clear that the Lord is faithful – He does not forget His promise to His people. The people, of course, often forget the Lord – usually at great cost to themselves. But He never fails.

Blessed be the Lord,
Who has heard the sound of my pleading;
the Lord is my strength and my shield,
in Whom my heart trusts.

This golden thread of trust, which is woven throughout the Psalms, speaks to us today in our own littleness, in our faithlessness, in our forgetfulness of the Lord. As much as His faithfulness to His own people is recounted in the Psalms and the other Scriptures, so He is faithful to us, too; the Lord does not forget His promises.

We see a modern-day echo of this faithfulness in the Divine Mercy devotion. Revealed to Saint Faustina Kowalska in the first half of the Twentieth Century, this devotion is based on one thing alone – trust in the Lord.

That trust is the very heart of the Divine Mercy devotion and the prayers associated with it explicitly reference this trust over and over again. The Image which forms the central facet of the devotion contains the words ‘Jesus, I trust in You’. The whole point of the devotion is that we make this trust our own, that we live it out in our daily lives.

Going back to the sense of darkness we perceive in the present day, trust is not easy; we prefer to rely on ourselves, on our own abilities and our own resources. The author of the Book of Proverbs (cf. Prov.3:5-6) has something to say on this temptation to be self-reliant –

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
on your own intelligence, do not rely;
in all your ways be mindful of Him
and He will make straight your paths.

It is easy to profess trust in another when things are going well. It is less easy to do so when things are difficult and when there seems to be little hope for what is to come. And so, real trust is like that gold which the Scriptures tell us is tested and purified by fire. And such trust is without price. With such trust, we divest ourselves entirely of our self-reliance and place all our trust in the Lord alone.

The Divine Mercy devotion was given to the world just before the Second World War, a time in which terrible global horror was unleashed upon humanity. The Lord planned well, giving us precisely what was needed for that moment. And he gave the Church and the world a great Saint – Sister Faustina – as the example of how to abandon ourselves to this trust and how to live it out. Such was the power of her example that Pope John Paul II placed her example before all the world as the first Saint of the Third Millennium. Her Diary – ‘Divine Mercy In My Soul’ – contains the story of the Divine Mercy devotion and everything related to it, as well as her personal testimony of what the devotion means in practice. It is one of those rarest of books which can properly be called ‘life-changing’.

For all of us, living in a moment of human history where there is such evil loose in the world, and where even the threat of annihilation seems much less remote than before, trust becomes ever more necessary.

Our trust is in the Lord, Who is ever-faithful, always mindful of His covenant with humanity and of the promises He has made to us, despite the great ease with which we stop our ears to His voice. God whispers quietly to us in many different moments of life; and sometimes, He shouts more insistently in order to gain our attention. I have a sense that this is perhaps such a moment.

And in such moments, that is the time to trust in Him.

 

Catholic | Retired Nurse | UK

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