My husband and I were out with our two youngest children last evening. We were picking wild blueberries.
Imagine! In the 21st century, is is still possible to get food for free. And organic food at that.
The blueberries are abundant this year. I have been told of a woman who over two days has picked 25 quarts of them!
Things such as this are a gift of God. We do nothing to prepare gifts like this. They are just given to us. All we need to do is to find them.
I do not think most people are aware of Divine Providence. What is it?
Divine Providence is how God cares for us. If we let Him.
I have a good friend who made the decision (in conjunction with his wife!) at his marriage, to keep the family God would give him entirely on Divine Providence. He and his wife would later consecrate their family to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
What did this mean? It meant that the couple and later their family would rely totally on God for their needs. Imagine! No salary. No regular income.
Could you do it?
I do not think everyone is called to this kind of radical faith, but I think we can be awed by this sort of trust. We might even be rather impressed by how well it worked! My friend's wife died a few years ago and I did not meet her. I have heard many a tale of their life together.
This family had a music ministry. They travelled quite widely within Canada and even internationally, as a family and as a couple after the family was grown.
A large part of this sort of trust in God's providence is humility. God works through other people. Peoples' kindness and generosity, and the family's own creativity is how the family raised four faith filled children. But the family had to be willing to accept the gifts they were given, or to rely on their own talents to 'barter' for something they needed. How many are too proud, even when they are in need only temporarily, to ask for or accept help?
How does this differ from a sort of unofficial welfare?
As I see it, the basic difference is that this is a consecrated lifestyle. The couple made the decision after much prayer and spiritual direction. It was not done to enable a slotheful lifestyle. One way of looking at it is that it was partly done to allow others to do God's work.
Was it entirely easy? From what I hear, there were more than few difficult times. The key was trust and prayer. They had what they needed.
Those of us who do not feel we are called to this rather radical sort of trust also need to examine our lives. Are we certain we are not being called to this sort of example? If we are sure it is not for us, how can we train ourselves to rely on Divine Providence in our own 'ordinary' lives?
There are many ways to do this. First make sure you are 'prayed up' as some Protestant friends of mine would say. Stay in touch with your Father...and your Mother, Mary. She knows all about trust, as she relied on God to get her through what was, after all, the very unusual situation of her pregnancy by a Heavenly Father. She also knew about the practical bits of running a household on very little.
Look at your lifestyle. Are you working as much or more for 'wants' rather than 'needs'? Perhaps your children would rather have your time to play a game at home than the skating lesson you work extra time to pay for. Are you trusting God with your fertility, allowing to be born the children He thinks you should have? If you are part of a couple which has decided at some point to permanently end your fertility, are you being called to reverse this? Or can you make some other sort of reparation, such as assisting a large family in some way? Adopting a child? When you have a decision to make, do you even call on God for input?
If you are a single person, are you collecting things you can't 'take with you' when you die? Is there time and money you could spend on a worthy cause rather than on collecting the latest gadget or trendiest wardrobe item?
So how did I get here from picking blueberries? Free material gifts, like food, are from God, whether we go and find them in the woods or someone gives them to us. It's something to remember.