Catholic belief, prayers and spiritual teaching
ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE (cont)
by Fr Jean-Pierre de Caussade, SJ
Book I. On the virtue of abandonment to Divine
Providence. Its nature and excellence.
Ch 2. The Divine action works unceasingly for the sanctification of souls
It is only from want of knowing how to make use of the divine action that so many Christians pass their lives in anxiously pursuing a multitude of methods which might prove useful if ordained by this divine action, but which by preventing a simple union with it, become positively harmful.
All this multiplicity fails to impart that which can only be found in the principle of all life, that which is continually present with us, and which stamps each of its tools with a character of its own and makes it work with an incomparable fitness. Jesus is sent to us as a Master to whom we do not sufficiently attend.
He speaks to every heart, and to each He utters the word of life, the only word applicable to us, but we do not hear it. We want to know what He has said to others and do not listen when He speaks to ourselves. We do not sufficiently regard things as having been supernaturalised by the divine action. We should always accept them with the perfect confidence they merit; with an open mind and with generosity, and be sure that nothing will harm those who act thus.
This vast activity, which is in
itself ever the same from the beginning to the end of time, is
employed with every moment, pouring its immensity and virtue on
the souls which adore it, love it, and rejoice in it alone.
In itself it is more pleasing to me than all the attributes of the instruments of which it makes use, or than their effects, because it pervades all, makes all divine, and changes all into itself. It is all heavenly to me, and every one of my moments is a genuine divine action, and living or dying I shall always be satisfied with it.
Yes, divine Love, I shall no longer single out times or ways, but shall welcome You always and in any fashion. It seems to me, O divine Will, as if You had revealed Your immensity to me; I will therefore take no steps save in the bosom of Your infinity, You who are the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. The unceasing torrent of graces has its rise in You. It is from You that it flows, is carried on, and made active.
Therefore it is not within the narrow limits of a book, or the life of a saint, or in some sublime idea that I ought to seek You. These are but drops of that ocean which is poured out over every creature and in which they are all immersed. They are mere atoms that disappear in this deep abyss. I will no longer seek this action in the thoughts of spiritual persons. I will no longer beg my bread from door to door, nor pay court to creatures, but I will live as the child of an infinitely good, wise, and powerful father whom I desire to please, and to make happy.
I wish to live according to my faith,
and since the divine action is applied by every single thing and
at every moment for my perfection, I will live on this immense
fortune, this certain income, and in the most profitable manner.
You search for hidden ways of belonging to God, good people, but the only way is that of making use of whatever He sends you. All leads to union, to perfection, except what is sinful or not a duty. All that is necessary is to accept everything, placing no obstacle in the way of its action but letting it accomplish its work. All things are intended to guide, raise, and support you, and are in the hand of God whose action is vaster and more present than the elements of earth, air, and water.
Even by means of the senses God will enter, provided they are used only as He ordains, because everything contrary to His will must be resisted. There is not a single atom that goes to form part of your being, even to the marrow of the bones, that is not formed by the divine power. From it all things proceed, by it all things are made. Your very life-blood flows through your veins by the movement this power imparts to it, and all the fluctuations that exist between strength and weakness, languor and liveliness, life and death, are divine instruments put in motion to effect your sanctification. Under its influence all bodily states become operations of grace.
From this invisible hand come all your opinions, all your ideas on
whatever subject they may be formed. What this action will effect
in you, you will learn by successive experiences, for there is no
created heart or mind that can teach it to you. Your life flows on
uninterruptedly in this unsounded abyss in which each present
moment contains all that is best for you, and as such must be
loved and esteemed. It is necessary to have a perfect confidence
in this action which of itself can do nothing but what is good.
I will make
perfection so easy to you that you will find it everywhere and in
everything. I will unite you to God, and make you walk hand in
hand with Him from the moment that you begin practising what I
will teach you. Come, not to study the map of the spiritual
country, but to possess it, to walk in it at your ease without
fear of losing your way. Come, not to study the theory of divine
grace, nor to find out what it has accomplished in the past and
still continues to accomplish; but to become simply subject to its
operations. It is not necessary that you should understand what it
has said to others, nor to repeat the words intended only for them
and which you have overheard, but you, yourself, will receive from
it what is best for you.