Father John Cavanaugh tells a story about himself that affords a valuable insight about trust. Long ago he spent a month working at the “house of the dying” in Calcutta. He had gone there on a sort of retreat, seeking a sure answer about his future.

After Mass on his first morning there he met Mother Teresa who asked him: “What can I  do for you?”  He said to pray for him.  “What do you want me to pray for?” responded Mother Teresa.  “Pray that I have clarity,” he replied.  She said no.  When he asked why, she said clarity was the last thing he was clinging to and had to let go.  When he replied that she always seemed to have the clarity he longed for, she laughed and said: “I have never had clarity.  What I always had was trust.  I will pray that you have trust.”

She could just as well have said I pray that you have faith.  No two words have exactly the same meaning.  Faith and trust, however, are very close to being synonyms. That wonderful definition of faith offered by St. Paul surely provides grounds for taking trust and faith as synonyms. “Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for and conviction about things we do not see.”

Trust is also strongly reflected in the concept of the other theological virtues of hope and charity.  When we pray “Into your hands I commend my spirit”  we express our confident hope in God’s providence.   When we pray “Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in you”, we express our confidence in God’s love as symbolized by the Sacred Heart.

Faith/trust assures us of God’s providence is ever present. As the Irish proverb has it, “there is an ebb and flow to everything, except God’s grace.”  Cardinal Newman expressed his trust in God in these words.  “Whatever, where ever I am, I can never    be thrown away.  If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him.  He does nothing in vain.  He knows what he is about.  He may take away my friends.   He may throw me among strangers.  He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me, still he knows what he is about.”

Someone has expressed that sentiment in a brief verse.
I know not where His islands lift
their fronded palms in air.
I only know I cannot drift
beyond His love and care.