Seek First the Kingdom of God / Praying for Our Temporal Necessities ~ The Book of Confidence, Fr. Thomas de St. Laurent


by Fr. Thomas de St. Laurent, The Book of Confidence

Seeking First the Kingdom of God and His Justice

“Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God and His justice: and all these things shall be added unto you.”

With these words Our Lord concluded His discourse on the Providence of God. A consoling conclusion, to which is attached a conditional promise, the fulfilment of which depends upon ourselves.

The Lord will occupy Himself all the more with our interests when we concern ourselves with His interests. Let us pause here to meditate on the words of our Divine Master.

A question immediately presents itself: Where is the Kingdom of God which we must seek before all things?

“Within you,” the Gospel answers. “Regnum Dei intra vos est.”

To seek the Kingdom of God, therefore, is to erect a throne for God within our souls; it is to submit ourselves wholly to His supreme authority. Let us keep all our faculties under the merciful sceptre of the Most High.

Let our intelligence ever remember His constant Presence; let our will be conformed in all things to His adorable will; let us lift up our hearts frequently to Him by acts of ardent and sincere charity.

Thus we shall practice that “justice” which, in the language of the Scriptures, signifies the perfection of the interior life.

In this way we shall follow to the letter Our Lord’s counsel: we shall seek the Kingdom “and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Here we have a kind of bilateral contract: On our part we must work for the glory of our heavenly Father; on His part, the Father commits Himself to provide for our necessities.

“Cast thy care upon the Lord.”

Fulfill the contract which He proposes to you. He will keep His word. He will watch over you, and “He shall sustain thee.”

“Think of Me,” said Our Lord to St. Catherine of Sienna, “and I will think of thee.”

And centuries later, in the convent of Paray-le-Monial, He promised St. Margaret Mary that to those who were particularly devoted to His Sacred Heart, He would grant success in their undertakings.

Happy the Christian who acts according to this maxim of the Gospel. He seeks God, and God takes his affairs into His omnipotent Hands; and what can be lacking to him?

“The Lord ruleth me and I shall want nothing.”

Practice the solid interior virtues, and thus avoid the disorders, the sins and the vices which are the most common causes of failure and ruin.

Praying for Our Temporal Necessities

Confidence, such as we have described, does not dispense us from the obligation of prayer. In all our temporal necessities, it is not enough to expect help from God; we must also ask Him to grant it to us.

Jesus Christ has left us in the Our Father a perfect model of prayer. Therein He makes us ask for our “daily bread”:

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

Do we not often neglect this great duty? What imprudence and what folly! By our carelessness, we thus deprive ourselves of the divine protection that alone is supremely efficacious.

The Capuchins, the legend says, never die of hunger because they always say the Our Father devoutly. Let us imitate them, and the Most High will never leave us lacking in the necessities of life. Let us ask, then, for our daily bread. It is a duty to ourselves imposed on us by faith and charity.

Can we increase our claims, however, and ask for riches? There is nothing to prevent our doing so, provided that our prayer is inspired by supernatural motives, and that we remain fully submissive to the will of God.

The Lord does not forbid us to express to Him our desires; on the contrary, He would have us act as children with their father. However, let us not expect that He will gratify all our fancies; His goodness prevents Him from doing this.

He knows what is good for us. He will not grant us earthly riches unless they will serve for our sanctification.

Let us, then, abandon ourselves completely to the guidance of Divine Providence, and repeat the prayer of the wise man: “Remove far from me vanity and lying words. Give me neither beggary nor riches; give me only the necessaries of life. Lest perhaps being filled, I should be tempted to deny and say: ‘Who is the Lord?’ or being compelled by poverty, I should steal, and forswear the name of my God.”

Never weary in cheering your family with your smile. It is not enough to avoid depressing them; you must brighten them up and let their spirits expand. Be especially vigilant when the little ones are around. Give them the alms of a smile, hard though it be at times. What a pity when children have to say, “I don’t like it at home.” – Christ in the Home, Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J.

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