“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and for ever, ” says the Apostle (Hebrews 13:8). From the beginning of the world He was, as God, the source of the life of righteous souls. From the first moment of His incarnation, His humanity shared this prerogative of His divinity. He is working within us throughout our whole lives. The time that will elapse till the end of the world is but as a day, and this day abounds with His action. Jesus Christ lived, and lives still. He began in Himself and He continues in His saints a life that will never end.
O life of Jesus! including and extending beyond all the ages of time! Life working new wonders of grace at every moment! If not one is capable of understanding all that could be written of the earthly life of Jesus, all that He did and said while He was on earth – if the Gospel merely outlines a few of its features – how many Gospels would have to be written to record the history of all the moments of this mystical life of Jesus Christ which multiplies miracles to infinity and eternity! If the beginning of His natural life is so hidden and yet so fruitful, what can be said of the effect of that life of which every age of the world is the history?
The Holy Spirit has pointed out some moments in the ocean of time in the infallible words of the Holy Scriptures. In them we see the hidden and mysterious ways by which He has manifested Jesus Christ to the world. Amid the confusion of the races of men, we can follow the channels and veigns that distinguish the origin, race and genealogy of the Firstborn. The entire Old Testament is but an outline of the profound mystery of this divine work; it contains only what is necessary to reach the advent of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit kept all the rest hidden among the treasures of His wisdom. From this vast sea of divine action, only a tiny stream appears, and when this has reached Jesus, it is lost again in the Apostles and swallowed up in the Book of Revelation; so that the history of this divine action, consisting of the life of Jesus in the souls of the righteous to the very end of time, can only be perceived by faith alone.
As the truth of God has been made known by word, the love of God is made known by deeds. The Holy Spirit continues to carry on the work of our Savior. While helping the Church to preach the Gospel of Christ, He himself is writing His own Gospel on the hearts of the faithful. All their actions, all the moments of their lives, make up the Gospel of the Holy Spirit. The souls of the saints are the paper, their sufferings and actions are the ink. The Holy Spirit by the pen of His actions, writes a living Gospel, but we can only read it when it has been taken out of the press of this life and published on the day of eternity.
Oh! wonderful story! What a glorious book the Holy Spirit is now writing! It is still on the press. There is never a day when the type is not being set, ink applied, and sheets printed. But we are still in the night of faith. The paper is blacker than the ink, and there is great confusion in the type. It is written in letters which belong to another world, and there is no understanding of it but in Heaven itself.
If we could perceive this life of God, and see all creatures, not as they are in themselves, but as instruments of His will, and if again, we could perceive His life in all His creatures and understand how His action animates and impels them all to press forward in different ways, mingling them, assembling them, scattering them, yet pushing them all to the same point by different means, we should recognize that everything in this divine work has its reason, its measure, its connection with God’s overall work. But how can we read this book whose letters are foreign to us, whose type is reversed and whose pages are blotted with ink? If the blending of the twenty-six letters of our alphabet results in such incomprehensible diversity that they can be used to write an almost infinite number of different volumes, all admirable, who can explain what God is doing in the universe? Who can read and understand the meaning of so vast a book in which every single letter has its own particular significance and contains in its littleness the most profound mysteries? Mysteries can neither be seen nor felt. They are objects of faith. Faith alone judges their worth and truth only by their source, because they are so obscure in themselves that all their external appearances serve only to conceal them and mislead those who judge by reason alone.
Teach me, Divine Spirit, to read in this book of life. I desire to become Your disciple and, like a little child, to believe what I cannot understand and cannot see. It is enough for me that it is my Lord who speaks. He says this! He pronounces that! He arranges the letters in such a fashion! He makes Himself heard in such a manner! That is enough. I judge that all is exactly as He says. I do not see the reason, but He is the infallible truth; therefore all that He says, all that He does is true. He groups His letters to form a word, and different letters again to form another word. The word may have three letters, or it may have six. Then no more are necessary, and fewer would be nonsense. He alone who knows all the thoughts of men can bring these letters together to express it. Everything has significance, everything has a perfect meaning. This line purposely ends here. Not a comma is missing nor is there one useless period. I believe that now, but in the glory to come, when so many mysteries will be revealed, I shall see plainly what I understand so dimly.
Then what appears so complicated, so perplexing, so foolish, so inconsistent, so imaginary, will charm and delight me eternally with the beauty, order, knowledge, wisdom and the inconceivable wonders I shall find in it.
Father Jean-Pierre de Caussade – Click here to purchase The Joy of Full Surrender