"Whoever wants to stand alone without the support of a master and guide will be like the tree that stands alone in a field without a proprietor. No matter how much the tree bears, passers-by will pick the fruit before it ripens. "

St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"Though the path is plain and smooth for people of good will, those who walk it will not travel far, and will do so only with difficulty if they do not have good feet, courage, and tenacity of spirit. "

St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"Whom do you seek, friend, if you seek not God? Seek him, find him, cleave to him; bind your will to his with bands of steel and you will live always at peace in this life and in the next."

St Alphonsus de Liguori

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




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 8 - God Reigns in a Pure Heart.

All the treasures of grace are the fruit of purity of heart and perfect abandonment.

He, therefore, who wishes to enjoy an abundance of all blessings had but one thing to do; to purify his heart by detaching it from creatures, and to abandon himself entirely to God.

In this purity and abandonment he will find all that he desires. "May others, Lord, ask You for all sorts of gifts, may they multiply their words and prayers; as for me, my God, I only ask one single gift, I have only one prayer to make - "give me a pure heart."

O pure heart! how happy you are; for by the liveliness of your faith you see God as He is in Himself. You see Him in all things and at every moment working within you and around you. In all things you are His subject and His instrument. He rules you and leads you. You have not to think because He thinks for you. Whatever happens to you, or may happen by His will, it is enough for Him that you will it also. He understands your readiness. In your salutary blindness you try to discover in yourself this desire, but you cannot see it, nevertheless He sees it quite clearly.

How foolish you are! a well-disposed heart is a heart in which God dwells. Seeing therefore the good inclinations in this heart God well knows that it will remain always submissive to His will; He knows also that you are ignorant of what would be useful to you and therefore He makes it His business to give you what is necessary.

It matters very little to Him whether you are thwarted or not. You imagine you are going East, He makes you go West. You are about to strike against a rock, He pushes the tiller and brings you into port. Without either map or a compass, wind or tide, the voyages you make are always fortunate. If you encounter pirates, an unexpected puff of wind instantly wafts you beyond their reach.

O good will! O pure heart! Jesus well knew where to place you when He ranked you among the Beatitudes. What greater happiness can there be than to possess God, if He mutually possesses you? It is a state full of charm and of joy, in which the soul reposes peacefully in the bosom of divine Providence where it sports innocently with the divine Wisdom, feeling no anxiety about the journey which suffers no interruption, but in spite of rocks and pirates and constant storms, ever continues as happy as possible.

O pure heart! O good will! the sole foundation of every spiritual state, to you are granted the gifts of firm faith, holy hope, perfect confidence and pure love, and by you are they made profitable.

On your stem are grafted the flowers of the desert; in other words, from you spring those priceless graces which blossom in souls entirely detached, where God, as in an uninhabited dwelling, takes up His abode to the exclusion of all else.

You are the faithful source from whence flow those streams that water the flower garden of the divine Spouse, and of His chosen one. Your voice calls all the souls of men saying to them, "Look well at me; it is I who impart fair love, that love which chooses the better part and lays hold of it. It is I who give birth to that fear, so gentle and efficacious, which produces a horror of evil, and makes it easy to avoid; I, who bring to light those fine perceptions by which are discovered the greatness of God and the value of virtue; in fine it is from me that those ardent desires take their rise, enkindled by holy hope.

It is I who cause virtue to be practised in expectation of the promised reward - that divine Object of our love, the possession of Whom will one day form the happiness of faithful souls.

Invite them all to come to you to be enriched with your inexhaustible treasures. All spiritual states and paths lead back to you. It is from you that they derive all that is beautiful, attractive, and charming, for all is drawn from your depths. Those marvellous fruits of grace, and of every kind of virtue that helps to nourish the soul, and that abounds on every side, are produced by you. Milk and honey flow in your land. Your breasts distil milk, and on your bosom is the bouquet of myrrh from which, under the pressure of your fingers, the aromatic liquid flows abundantly.

Let us go, then, let us run and fly to that ocean of love by which we are attracted! What are we waiting for? Let us start at once, let us lose ourselves in God, even in His heart, to become inebriated with the wine of His charity. We shall find in His heart the key of heavenly treasures. Let us begin at once our journey to Heaven.

There is no passage that we cannot discover, nothing is shut against us, neither the garden, nor the cellar, nor the vineyard. If we desire to breathe the fresh country air, we can go on our own feet and return when we please. With this key of David we can enter and depart; it is the key of science, and of that abyss in which are contained all the hidden treasures of divine Wisdom. With this heavenly key we also open the gates of mystical death with its sacred darkness. By it also we descend into the deep pools and into the den of lions. By it souls are thrust into those obscure prisons from whence they emerge unscathed. By it we are introduced into that joyful place where light and understanding have their dwelling, where the Spouse takes the midday rest in the open air, and where He reveals the secrets of His love to faithful souls.

O divine incommunicable secrets that no mortal tongue can describe! Since every good thing that it is possible to possess is given to those who love, let us love then, in order to be enriched with them; for love produces sanctity with all that accompanies it. It flows on every side, on the right hand and on the left, into those hearts open to receive this divine outpouring. O divine harvest for eternity! it is not possible to praise you sufficiently. And why speak so much about you? How much better to possess you in silence than to praise you with mere words.

But what am I saying? You must be praised but only because you take possession of us, for, from the moment you enter into possession of a heart, then reading, writing, speaking or silence are matters of complete indifference. One can take or leave anything, live in solitude, or as an apostle; one is well or ill, dull or eloquent, in fact anything that you will. That which you dictate, your faithful echo, the heart, repeats to all the faculties.

In that compound of matter and spirit, the heart, which you regard as your kingdom, you reign supreme, and as it has no other instincts than those which you inspire, all the things that you present are equally agreeable. Those things that nature, or the devil wish to substitute, cause nothing but disgust and horror. If you allow it to be occasionally overcome, it is only to make it wiser and more humble; but from the moment it realises its mistake it returns to you with renewed love, and clings to you with greater tenacity.