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 2. The duties of those souls called by God to the state of abandonment
The conduct of a soul raised to a state of abandonment with regard to this twofold manifestation of the good pleasure of God.
Souls called by God to a life of perfect abandonment resemble in this respect our Lord, His holy Mother, and St. Joseph. The will of God was, to them, the fulness of life. Submitting entirely to this will as to precept and inspiration directly it was made manifest to them, they were always in complete dependence on, what we might call, the purely providential will of God.
From this it follows that their lives,
although extraordinary in perfection, showed outwardly nothing
that is not common to all, and quite ordinary. They fulfilled the
duties of religion, and of their state as others do, and in,
apparently, the same way. For the rest, if one scrutinizes their
conduct, nothing can be discovered either striking or peculiar;
all follows the same course of ordinary events. That which might
single them out is not discernible; it is that dependence on the
supreme will which arranges all things for them, and in which they
habitually live. The divine will confers on them a complete
self-mastery on account of the habitual submission of their
present moment, then, is like a desert in which the soul sees only
God whom it enjoys; and is only occupied about those things which
He requires of it, leaving and forgetting all else, and abandoning
it to Providence. This soul, like an instrument, neither receives
interiorly more than the operation of God effects passively, nor
gives exteriorly more than this same operation applies actively.
It is as though someone, seeing a friend preparing for a troublesome journey, would go in his stead, so that the friend would have the intention of going, but he spared the trouble of the journey; yet by this impersonation he would have gone himself, at least virtually. This journey would be free because it would be the result of a free determination taken beforehand to please the friend who then takes upon himself the trouble and expense; it would also be active because it will be a real advance; and it will be interior because effected without outward activity; and, finally, it will be mystical because of the hidden principle it contains.
But to return to that kind of co-operation that we have explained by this imaginary journey; you will observe that it is entirely different from fidelity in the fulfilment of obligations. The work of fulfilling these is neither mystical nor infused, but free and active as commonly understood. Therefore abandonment to the good pleasure of God contains activity as well as passivity. In it there is nothing of self, but an habitual general goodwill, which like an instrument, has no action of itself, but responds to the touch of the master. While in his hands it fulfils all the purposes for which it was formed. Intentional and determined obedience to the will of God is, in the ordinary order of vigilance, care, attention, prudence, and discretion; although ordinary efforts are sensibly aided, or begun by grace.
Leaving God, then, to act for all the rest, reserve for
yourself at the present moment, only love and obedience, which
virtues the soul will practise eternally. This love, infused into
the soul in silence, is a real action of which it makes a
perpetual obligation. It ought, in fact, to preserve it
faithfully, and to maintain itself constantly in those
dispositions resulting from it, all of which, it is evident,
cannot be done without action. The action, however, is quite
different to obedience to the present duty, by which the soul so
disposes its faculties as to fulfil perfectly the will of God made
manifest to it exteriorly, without expecting anything