Abandonment XX – God’s Will Effects Sanctification

s_ caterina da siena 3It is only because they do not know how to make use of God’s action that so many Christians spend their lives anxiously pursuing a multitude of methods of perfection. These might prove useful if ordained by God’s will, but they actually become injurious the moment they keep us from simply surrendering ourselves to God’s will. These multiplied means cannot give what we find only in the will of God – that principle of all life which is constantly with us, and which stamps each of its instruments with its own character and causes its original and unique action in us.

Jesus has given us a teacher whom we do not heed sufficiently. He speaks to every heart and to each one he utters the word of life, the only word applicable to us. But we do not hear it. We want to know what he has said to others and do not listen to what has said to us. We do not sufficiently regard circumstances as having been given a supernatural significance by God’s action. We should always accept them with the perfect confidence they merit, with an open heart and with generosity, sure that nothing will harm those who receive them this way. This limitless activity, which is the same from the beginning to the end of time, goes on every moment, giving itself in all its greatness and strength to the simple soul who adores it, loves it, and rejoices in it alone.

You would be delighted, you say, to find an opportunity of dying for God’s sake. Such heroism enchants you. To lose all, to die, forsaken and alone, to sacrifice your life for others – such are the glorious deeds that charm you!

As for me, O Lord, let me glorify Your will in all things. In it I find all the happiness of martyrdom, bodily austerities, and the sacrifice of self for others. Your will is enough, and I am content to live and die as it decrees. It pleases me more for its own sake than all the means it uses and the effects it produces, because it permeates all things and makes them divine, and transforms them all into itself. It is heaven on earth to me, and all my moments are full of God’s action. So living or dying, I shall always remain content with that.

Yes, my Beloved, I shall no longer single out times or ways but shall welcome You always and in any fashion. It seems to me, O divine Will, as if You had revealed your immensity to me. I will walk henceforth in the bosom of Your infinity, You who are the same today, yesterday, and forever. Streams of mercy never-ceasing have their springs in You. From You they begin and continue, and they are changed at Your will. No longer will I seek You within narrow limits of a book or the life of a saint, or of some sublime idea. No, these are but drops of that great ocean that covers every created thing. Your divine will floods them all. They are but atoms that disappear in this unfathomable sea. I will no longer look for Your will merely in the thoughts of spiritual persons. No longer will I beg my bread from door to door. I will depend on no creature, but I will live as the child of an infinitely good, wise and powerful Father whom I desire to please and make happy. I would live as I believe, and since Your activity works in everything and at every moment for my sanctification, I will draw my life from this great and boundless reservoir, ever present and ever available in the most practical way.

Is there any creature anywhere whose action equals that of God? And since this uncreated Hand directs all that comes to me shall I go in search of aid from created things? Such creatures are powerless, ignorant, and indifferent to me, and I should die of thirst rushing from one fountain to another, from one stream to another, when there is a sea at hand whose waters surround me on every side.

Yes, all that happens to me becomes bread to nourish me, soap to cleanse me, fire to purify me, a chisel to carve heavenly features on me. Everything is a channel of grace for my needs. The very thing I sought everywhere else seeks me incessantly, and gives itself to me by means of all created things.

O Love of God, will men never see that You meet them at every step, while they seek You here and there, where You are not to be found? How foolish to be in open country and not breathe its pure air! to search for a spot on which to place my foot when I may find Him and taste Him and find His will present in everything!

Good people, do you seek the secret of belonging to God? The only way is to make use of everything He sends you. Everything leads to this union. Everything may perfect it except sin and that which is contrary to your duty. You have but to accept all that he sends and let it do its work in you.

Everything is intended to guide, uphold and support you. Everything is the hand of God. God’s action is vaster and more present to you than the elements of earth, air, and water. God will even enter by means of all the senses, provided you use them only as He ordains, because you must guard them and close them to all that is contrary to His will. There is not a single atom in your frame, even the marrow of your bones, that is not formed by divine power. From that power everything proceeds. By it all things are made. Your very life-blood flows through your veins by movement His power imparts. All the variations of your system, between strength and weakness, sluggishness and liveliness, life and death are divine means put in motion to effect your sanctification. Under His will, every bodily state becomes an operation of grace. All your thoughts, all your emotions, whatever their apparent source, proceed from this invisible hand. No created mind or heart can teach you what His divine action will do in you. You will learn it through experience. Your life flows on unceasingly into this unfathomable Sea, where we have but to love and accept at best what each present moment brings, with perfect trust in God’s divine action, His will which can only work for good.

Yes, divine Love! All souls might attain supernatural, praiseworthy, incomparably sublime states if they would only be satisfied with Your will in action!

Yes, if they would but leave matters in this divine hand, they would attain a notable degree of holiness! Everyone would arrive at it because it is offered to all. You have but to open your heart and God will act. Every soul possesses in You, O God, an infinitely perfect model, and by Your action You work ceaselessly to make us in Your image. If we were faithful, we would all live, act and speak divinely. We would not need to copy one another, but would be shaped individually through the most ordinary things.

How, O my God, can I make your children appreciate what is offered to them? Must I, possessing a treasure that could make the whole world rich, see beloved souls perish in poverty? Must I watch them withering like plants in a desert when I can show them the source of living waters?

Come, simple souls, you who have no feeling of devotion, no talent, not even the first elements of instruction – you who cannot understand a single spiritual term, who stand astonished at the eloquence of the learned whom you admire; come, and I will teach you a secret which will place you far beyond these clever minds. I will make perfection so easy you will find it everywhere and in everything. I will unite you to God, and He will hold you by the hand from the moment you begin to practice what I tell you. Come, not to learn the map of this spiritual country, but to possess it, to walk in it at your ease without fear of losing your way. Come, not to study the theory of God’s grace, or to learn what it has done in the past and is still doing, but simply to be open yourself to what it can do. You do not need to know what it has said to others, or repeat words intended only for them which you have overheard. His grace will speak to you, yourself, what is best for you.

Father Jean-Pierre de Caussade – Click here to purchase The Joy of Full Surrender

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