We Are Not to Choose the Manner in Which Our Blessings Shall Be Bestowed

It’s Fénelon Friday!

We Are Not to Choose the Manner in Which Our Blessings Shall Be Bestowed

I think you know what God requires of you. The question is, will you do it? You understand that your love of self is causing the struggle you are having with the will of God. So now what you must decide is this: are you going to allow pride and selfish ambitions to keep you from doing what God in His mercy wants you to do? You are so careful about passing thoughts which bob into your mind and out again, and worry about so many details that you should not be thinking about. Why are you not as careful about your continued resistance to the Holy Spirit? Is this continued resistance due to the fact that He has not given you what you want in a way that will flatter your ego?

What does it matter if you receive the gifts of grace as beggars receive bread? The gifts themselves are no less pure nor precious. God loves this beggar-like humility, and delights to send help to such people. Isn’t this the way you put off self by humbling yourself before God and confessing yourself helpless without Him? Isn’t humility an instrument of God which makes us have faith in Him rather than ourselves? Isn’t this the way that you die to the life of self within? And if not, then what do you expect to accomplish by all your reading about pure love and your frequent devotions? How can you read what condemns the very depths of your soul? You need to understand that you are being influenced by selfish pride when you reject the gifts of God, just because they do not come in a shape that suits your taste. It is difficult for me to understand how you can pray when you have an attitude like this. What is God telling you in the depths of your soul? He asks nothing but death, and you desire nothing but life. How can you send up to Him a prayer for His grace, with a restriction that He shall send it only by a channel demanding no sacrifice on your part? Can you expect God to minister to the gratification of selfish pride?

Francis Fénelon, Let Go (New Kensington: Whitaker House, 1973).


    1. Yup. We don’t choose them. But we need to choose to accept them, even when we don’t understand them. That is the rub. But as you say, “the blessings are incredible and generous in ways we least expect.”


  1. Your article brings to light how we should expect to receive our blessings. Sometimes we need to let go of some things in order to move ourselves into the place of blessing. Yet we do not consider this while we wait.


  2. A question for you sir, is this the Francis Fénelon who wrote “Spiritual Progress”. I only ask because the date seems awful recent and I was wondering if there were two theologians with the same name. I loved the article.


    1. This is probably the same one, born in 1651. The book I quoted in this post is a modern translation and paraphrase of his Spiritual Letters, often published under the title, Let Go.


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