Third Sunday of Lent (March 4, 2018)

Today’s Gospel speaks to the catechumens who are preparing for baptism. Jesus, reaching out to a woman rejected by society, offers her “a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” St. Francis de Sales speaks often of how Jesus calls us out of slavery to sin into a life of holiness that leads to eternal happiness:

There are many who aspire to holiness but few attain it because they do not walk as they ought—ardently, yet tranquilly; carefully, but confidently. That is to say, we must rely more on the Divine Goodness and Providence than on ourselves and our good works. We must be very faithful, but without anxiety or eagerness.

Yet God wants us to do all that lies in our power. That is, God wants us to use the ordinary means to attain holiness. We must use the means that are given to us according to our vocation, and then remain in peace concerning all the rest. If these should fail, God will never fail to assist us as long as we are open to the divine will. God, under whose guidance we have embarked, will always be attentive to provide us with whatever is necessary. Therefore, when human aid fails us, God’s special providence takes over and takes care of us. God would sooner work miracles than leave without assistance, either spiritual or temporal, those who trust entirely in Divine Providence.

We say that we do not know whether the will to please God that we now have will remain with us during our whole life. Alas! It is true, for there is nothing so weak and changeable as we are. But nevertheless let us not be troubled. Let us rather frequently lay this good will before Our Lord. Let us place it in His hands and He will renew it as often as is necessary that we may have enough for our whole mortal life. After this mortal life there will be no cause for fear, for we shall be in a safe place.

(L. Fiorelli, ed., Lenten Sermons of St. Francis de Sales.)