Discover the transformative teachings of Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade on surrendering to God's will. Abandonment to Divine Providence is a timeless guide for spiritual growth and trust.

The Holy State Of Abandonment

With wisdom and care, Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade teaches the practice of total surrender to God’s will. For those in any season of the spiritual life, Abandonment to Divine Providence is the perfect guide to obedience and trust. In this excerpt, the author describes the perfect way and the merits of abandonment.

The Most Perfect Way

When the soul is moved by the divine influence, it forsakes all works, practices, methods, means, books, ideas, and spiritual persons in order to be guided by God alone by abandoning itself to that moving power which becomes the sole source of its perfection. It remains in His hands like all the saints, understanding that the divine action alone can guide it in the right path, and that if it were to seek other means it would inevitably go astray in that unknown country which God compels it to traverse. It is, therefore, the action of God which guides and conducts souls by ways which it alone understands. 

It is, with these souls, like the changes of the wind. The direction is only known in the present moment, and the effects follow their causes by the will of God, which is only explained by these effects because it acts in these souls and makes them act either by hidden undoubted instincts, or by the duties of their state. 

This is all the spirituality they know; these are their visions and revelations, this is the whole of their wisdom and counsel insomuch that nothing is ever wanting to them. Faith makes them certain that what they do is well, whether they read, speak, or write; and if they take counsel it is only to be able to distinguish more clearly the divine action. 

All this is laid down for them and they receive it like the rest, beholding beneath these things the divine motive power and not fastening on the things presented, but using or leaving them, always leaning by faith on the infallible, unruffled, immutable and ever efficacious action of God at each moment. This they perceive and enjoy in all things, the least as well as the greatest, for it is entirely at their service at every moment. 

Thus they make use of things not because they have any confidence in them, or for their own sake, but in submission to the divine ordinance, and to that interior operation which, even under contrary appearances, they discover with equal facility and certitude. Their life, therefore, is spent, not in investigations or desires, weariness or sighs, but in a settled assurance of being in the most perfect way.

Every state of body or soul, and whatever happens interiorly or exteriorly as revealed at each moment to these souls is, to them, the fullness of the divine action, and the fullness of their joy. Created things are, to them, nothing but misery and dearth; the only true and just measure is in the working of the divine action. Thus, if it takes away thoughts, words, books, food, persons, health, even life itself, it is exactly the same as if it did the contrary. The soul loves the divine action and finds it equally sanctifying under whatever shape it presents itself. It does not reason about the way it acts; it suffices for its approval that whatever comes is from this source.

The Merits Of Faith

Whatever we find extraordinary in the lives of the saints, such as revelations, visions and interior locutions, is but a glimpse of that excellence of their state which is contained and hidden in the exercise of faith; because faith possesses all this by knowing how to see and hear God in that which happens from moment to moment. 

When these favors are manifested visibly it does not mean that by faith they have not been already possessed, but in order to make the excellence of faith visible for the purpose of attracting souls to the practice of it; just as the glory of Tabor, and the miracles of Jesus Christ were not from any increase of His intrinsic excellence, but from the light which from time to time escaped from the dark cloud of His humanity to make it an object of veneration and love to others.

That which is wonderful in the saints is the constancy of their faith under every circumstance; without this there would be no sanctity. In the loving faith which makes them rejoice in God for everything, their sanctity has no need of any extraordinary manifestation; this could only prove useful to others who might require the testimony of such signs; but the soul in this state, happy in its obscurity, does in no way rely on these brilliant manifestations; it allows them to show outwardly for the profit of others, but keeps for itself what all have in common, the will of God, and His good pleasure. Its faith is proved in hiding, and not in manifesting itself, and those who require more proof have less faith. Those who live by faith receive proofs, not as such, but as favors from the hand of God, and in this sense things that are extraordinary are not in contradiction to the state of pure faith. 

But there are many saints whom God sets up for the salvation of souls, and from whose faces He causes rays of glory to stream for the enlightenment of the most blind. Of such were the Prophets and the Apostles and all those saints chosen by God to be set in the candlestick of the Church. There will ever be such, as there ever have been. There is also an infinity of others who, having been created to shine in the heavens give no light in this world, but live and die in profound obscurity.

This article is taken from a chapter in Abandonment to Divine Providence by Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade which is available from TAN Books



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