Catholic belief, prayers and spiritual teaching
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
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.
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.
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.