"Let no one wear a mask, otherwise he will do ill; and if he has one, let him burn it."

St Philip Neri

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"To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself. "

Thomas á Kempis

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"He who wishes to be perfectly obeyed, should give but few orders."

St Philip Neri

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Fr Jean-Pierre de Caussade, SJ   (1675 - 1751)

 

ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE (cont)

 

by Fr Jean-Pierre de Caussade, SJ

Book 2  - On the state of abandonment
 

Ch 1. On the nature and excellence of the state of abandonment


Section 4 - Abandonment a Source of Joy.

The state of abandonment comprises the most heroic generosity.

There is nothing more generous than the way in which a soul having faith, accepts the most deadly perils and troubles, beholding in them something divine of the spiritual life. When it is a question of swallowing poison, of filling a breach, of slaving, for the plague-stricken; in all this they find a plenitude of divine life, not given to them drop by drop, but in floods which inundate and engulf the soul in an instant.

If an army were animated by the same ideals it would be invincible. This is because the instinct of faith is an elevation and enlargement of the heart above and beyond all that is presented to the senses.

The life of faith, and the instinct of faith are one and the same. It is an enjoyment of the goods of God, and a confidence founded on the expectation of His protection, making everything pleasant and received with a good grace. It is indifference to, and at the same time a preparation for every place, state, or person.

Faith is never unhappy even when the senses are most desolate. This lively faith is always in God, always in His action above contrary appearances by which the senses are darkened. The senses, in terror, suddenly cry to the soul, "Unhappy one! You have now no resource, you are lost," and instantly faith with a stronger voice answers: "Keep firm, go on, and fear nothing."

Section 5 - The Great Merit of Pure Faith.

By the state of abandonment and of pure faith the soul gains more merit than by the most eminent good works.

Whatever we find extraordinary in the lives of the saints, such as revelations, visions and interior locutions, is but a glimpse of that excellence of their state which is contained and hidden in the exercise of faith; because faith possesses all this by knowing how to see and hear God in that which happens from moment to moment.

When these favours are manifested visibly it does not mean that by faith they have not been already possessed, but in order to make the excellence of faith visible for the purpose of attracting souls to the practice of it; just as the glory of Thabor, and the miracles of Jesus Christ were not from any increase of His intrinsic excellence, but from the light which from time to time escaped from the dark cloud of His humanity to make it an object of veneration and love to others.

That which is wonderful in the saints is the constancy of their faith under every circumstance; without this there would be no sanctity. In the loving faith which makes them rejoice in God for everything, their sanctity has no need of any extraordinary manifestation; this could only prove useful to others who might require the testimony of such signs; but the soul in this state, happy in its obscurity, does in no way rely on these brilliant manifestations; it allows them to show outwardly for the profit of others, but keeps for itself what all have in common, the will of God, and His good pleasure. Its faith is proved in hiding, and not in manifesting itself, and those who require more proof have less faith.

Those who live by faith receive proofs, not as such, but as favours from the hand of God, and in this sense things that are extraordinary are not in contradiction to the state of pure faith.

But there are many saints whom God sets up for the salvation of souls, and from whose faces He causes rays of glory to stream for the enlightenment of the most blind. Of such were the Prophets and the Apostles and all those saints chosen by God to be set in the candlestick of the Church. There will ever be such, as there ever have been.

There is also an infinity of others who, having been created to shine in the heavens give no light in this world, but live and die in profound obscurity.