The workings of God within us carry out in the course of time the designs which Eternal Wisdom has formed in regard to everything. In God all things have their own design, and His wisdom alone knows what that is. Though you read the will of God in regard to others, this knowledge cannot direct you in anything. In the Incarnate Word, in God Himself, is the design after which you were meant to be formed and which is the model of His work in you. In the Word, the divine action sees that to which every soul must be conformed. The Holy Scriptures contain one part of this design, and the divine activity formed by the Holy Spirit within the soul completes the design set forth by the Word. We must understand that the only way of receiving the impression of this eternal design is to remain quietly submissive to it, and that neither effort nor mental speculation can help us to attain it.
Is it not evident that a work such as this cannot be effected by subtlety of mind, skill, or intelligence, but can only follow on our submissive self-surrender to God’s will, yielding ourselves like metal to a mold, or canvas to the brush, or stone in the hands of the sculptor. Is it not clear that a knowledge of all the divine mysteries which the will of God carries out in all ages is not what makes us conformable to the design the Word has conceived for us? No, it is the impress of the divine Hand. This imprint is not graven on our minds by ideas, but in the will by its submission to the will of God.
The wisdom of the simple soul consists in being content with its own business, in confining itself within the boundary of its path, and not going beyond its limits. It is not curious about God’s ways of acting, but is content with God’s will in regard to itself, making no effort to discover hidden meanings by comparisons or conjectures, but only desiring to understand what each moment reveals. It listens to the voice of the Word when it sounds in the depths of the heart. It does not ask what the divine Bridegroom has said to others, but is satisfied with what it receives for itself, so that moment by moment by everything, however insignificant or whatever its nature, the soul is sanctified without knowing it. In this way the Bridegroom speaks to His Bride, by the solid effects of His actions which the soul accepts with loving gratitude without curious scrutiny.
Thus the spirituality of such a soul is perfectly simple, absolutely solid, permeating its whole being. Its actions are not determined by ideas or by a tumult of words, which by themselves would only serve to inflate pride. People make a great use of the intellect in piety, yet it is of little use, and often detrimental to true piety. We must make use only of what God’s will gives us to do or to suffer, and not forsake this divine essential to occupy our minds with the historic wonders of God’s work, but rather we should increase these wonders by our own faithfulness.
The marvels of these works of God, which we read about to satisfy our curiosity, often tend only to disgust us with things that seem trifling, but by which, if we do not despise them, God’s love effects very great things in us. Foolish creatures that we are! We admire, we bless God’s action in written history, but when His love is ready to continue this writing on our hearts, we keep moving the paper and preventing its writing by our curiosity, to see what it is doing in us and what is is accomplishing elsewhere.
Forgive, divine Love, these defects; I can see them all in myself, and I have not yet learned what it is to abandon myself to Your hand. I have not yet yielded myself to the mold. I have walked through all Your workshops and admired all Your works of art, but have not as yet had the self-surrender needed to receive even the bare outlines of your brush. But at last I have found You, my dear Master, Teacher, Father, my beloved Friend.
Now I will be Your disciple; I will attend to no other school than Yours. I return, like the prodigal, hungering for Your bread. I relinquish the ideas which tend only to satisfy my curiosity. I will no longer run after teachers and books; no, I will use them only as Your holy will ordains them, not for my gratification but to obey You, by accepting all that You send me. I will confine myself solely to the duty of the present moment in order to prove my love and leave You free to do with me what You will.
Father Jean-Pierre de Caussade – Click here to purchase The Joy of Full Surrender