All creatures are living in the hand of God. The senses perceive only the physical causes, but faith sees God’s hand in all things. Faith believes that Jesus Christ lives in all things and that His divine operation continues to the end of time; that every passing moment and the tiniest atom contain a portion of this hidden life and mysterious action. The physical creation is a veil concealing the profound mysteries of the divine work. After the resurrection, Jesus took His disciples by surprise in His various appearances. He showed Himself to them under forms they did not recognize, and, in the very act of making himself known to them, disappeared from their sight. This same Jesus, every living, ever working, still surprises the soul whose faith is weak and wavering.
There is not a moment in which God is not present with us under the cover of some pain to be endured, some obligation or some duty to be performed, or some consolation to be enjoyed. All that takes place within us, around us, or through us involves and conceals His divine hand.
His hand is really and truly there, but it is invisibly present, so that we are always surprised and do not recognize His operation until it has ceased. If we could lift the veil, and if we were attentive and watchful, God would continually reveal Himself to us, and we should see His hand in everything that happens to us, and rejoice in it. At every event we would exclaim, “It is the Lord!” and we should accept every fresh circumstance as a gift from God. We should consider physical causes as very feeble instruments in the hands of an all-powerful Workman, and we should easily find that we lack nothing, and that God’s watchful care disposes Him to supply whatever we need at every moment. If only we had faith we should be grateful to all the external means He uses. We would cherish them, and be thankful for them in our hearts, because in the hand of God they have been so useful to us, so favorable to the work of our perfection.
If we lived an uninterrupted life of faith, we would be in uninterrupted fellowship with God and speak to Him face to face. Just as the air transmits our words and thoughts, so would all that we are called to do and to suffer transmit the words and thoughts of God to us. All that came to us would be but the embodiment of His word, and in all external events we should see nothing but what was excellent and holy. The glory of God makes the state of the blessed in heaven, and faith would make it our state on earth. There would be only the difference of means.
Faith is God’s interpreter. Without the light of faith, creation speaks to us in vain. It is a writing in cypher in which we can find nothing but confusion, a mass of thorns from which no one would expect to hear the voice of God. But faith reveals to us, as it did Moses, the fire of divine love burning in the midst of the thorn bush. It gives the clue to the cypher, and reveals to us in the midst of confusion, the wonders of divine wisdom. Faith gives a heavenly face to the whole earth. By faith the heart is raised, enraputured, and becomes conversant with heavenly things.
Faith is our light in this life. Faith alone grasps the truth without seeing it. By faith we touch what we cannot feel, and see what is invisible to the eye. By faith we view the world as though it did not exist. It is the key to the treasure house, the key to the depths of divine wisdom, the key to the knowledge of God. It is faith that teaches us the emptiness, the falseness of created things. By it God reveals and manifests Himself in all things. It is faith that tears the veil aside to reveal the eternal reality.
All that we see is nothing but vanity and falsehood. Reality can be found only in God. How far above our illusions are the ways of God! How is it that although continually warned that everything that happens in the world is but a shadow, a figure, a mystery of faith, we are guided by human feelings and judge events by the natural sense of things, which after all is but an enigma?
We fall into this trap like fools, instead of raising our eyes to the principle, the source, the origin of things; where they all have other names and other qualities; where everything is supernatural, divine, sanctifying; where everything is part of the plentitude of Jesus Christ, and each circumstance is as a stone towards the building of heavenly Jerusalem, and everything helps to build a dwelling for us in that marvelous city.
We live according to what we see and feel, and wander like madmen in a labyrinth of darkness and illusion for lack of the light of faith which would guide us safely through it. By means of faith we would be able to aspire after God and live for Him alone, unheeding and rising above mere figures of the senses.
Father Jean-Pierre de Caussade – Click here to purchase The Joy of Full Surrender