The family of Louis and Zelie – Letter #24
April 13, 2019
Thy Will Be Done
“We must be open to generously accepting God’s will, whatever it may be, because it will always be what’s best for us.” Zélie to her daughter, Pauline, May 1877, CF 204
These words of Zélie can be puzzling to us if we forget that such a faith went hand in hand with regular requests for graces for her and her family. Think of the prayers and many pilgrimages made on behalf of their sick children, for Léonie, Marie … but also for Zélie herself in Lourdes. Abandonment into the hands of God did not prevent Zélie from having recourse to her brother Isidore, a pharmacist, to obtain addresses of doctors and take their prescribed medicines. By saying, « thy will be done, » it does not mean falling into a fatalism that is unchristian nor becoming utterly resigned, but rather it means experiencing abandonment in trust.
At the moment these lines are written, we are between the Annunciation and Good Friday. At a request that exceeds her (to be the mother of the Son of God) Mary asks the Angel Gabriel: « How will it be done? » Then at the end of the visit from the messenger of God, she says: « Thy will be done. » These are also the words of Jesus in Gethsemane.
Zélie does not give us a kind of « magic recipe » but rather she speaks of a journey in faith, especially when she begins her sentence with: « We must be open to generously accepting … » Does this not mean: « Let’s look, day after day, in whom we put our hope? » The Lord does not disappoint.
Let us continue our reflection with Zélie
“When I think of what God, in whom I’ve put all my trust and in whose hands I’ve put the care of my whole life, has done for me and my husband, I don’t doubt that His Divine Providence watches over His children with special care. « […] » I have reason to have trust in the Blessed Mother, I’ve received favors from her that only I know.”
Zelie to her brother, Isidore, January 1864, CF 1
Zélie also writes: « The Blessed Mother didn’t cure me in Lourdes. What can you do, my time is at an end, and God wants me to rest elsewhere other than on earth.”
Zelie to her brother, Isidore, July 27, 1877, CF 216
To go further and put into practice
When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, realize that there are three requests to God:
- Hallowed be thy name
- Thy kingdom come
- Thy will be done.
And four supplications concerning us:
- Give us our daily bread
- Forgive us our trespasses
- Do not lead us into temptation
- Deliver us from evil.
During this month, let us take the time to internalize this prayer that Jesus taught us.
Let us pray with Charles de Foucault (born in 1858, on the anniversary of the marriage of Louis and Zélie)
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.”
Guy Fournier, Deacon
Administrator of the Shrine of Alençon
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