Not going to lie. Life is hard. Sometimes I get discouraged. I do not want, nor do I need, to complain about it on social media. The world desperately needs hope. Articulating my dark thoughts does nobody any good – especially not me. It almost seems to strengthen and embolden them. That is the opposite of what I seek. Self-absorbed laments rarely do anything but fan the flames of narcissism. Self-pity is a deadly poison.

To combat such evil inclinations, I turn to those who are wiser and more virtuous than me. Tonight it is Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade in a classic passage from a book aptly entitled, “Abandonment to Divine Providence.” It almost perfectly addresses the dark thoughts I sometimes have that come and go.

img_2795-1“It is true that a canvas simply and blindly offered to the brush feels at each moment only the stroke of the brush. It is the same with a lump of stone. Each blow from the hammering of the sculptor’s chisel makes it feel – if it could – as if it were being destroyed. As blow after blow descends, the stone knows nothing of how the sculptor is shaping it. All it feels is a chisel chopping away at it, cutting it and mutilating it.

For example, let’s take a piece of stone destined to be carved into a crucifix or a statue. We might ask it: ‘What do you think is happening to you?’ And, it might answer: ‘Don’t ask me. All I know is that I must stay immovable in the hands of the sculptor, and I must love him and endure all he inflicts on me to produce the figure he has in mind. He knows how to do it. As for me, I have no idea what he is doing, nor do I know what he will make of me. But what I do know is that his work is the best possible. It is perfect. I welcome each blow of his chisel as the best thing that could happen to me, although, if I’m to be truthful, I feel that every one of these blows is ruining me, destroying me and disfiguring me. But, I remain unconcerned. I concentrate on the present moment, think only of my duty, and suffer all that this master sculptor inflicts on me without knowing his purpose or fretting about it.” (Page 82)


I am not seeking any words of comfort. My suffering is not exceptional nor is it insurmountable. I simply share these thoughts because I feel prompted. My hope is that Fr. Jean-Pierre’s words might offer a path to hope for one of my fellow travelers in this journey of life.

On the Side of the House, the crickets chirp. The bells of Holy Cross College ring sweetly in the distance. I am tired.

Good-night. May our merciful Lord bless you abundantly.