Abandonment to Divine Providence
By Jean-Pierre De Caussade
How foolish to refuse to breathe the open air! to search for a spot on which to place the foot when there is the whole countryside before you; to be unable to find water when there is a whole deluge at your service, nor to possess and enjoy God, nor to recognize His action when it is present in all things. You search for hidden ways of belonging to God, good people, but the only way is that of making use of whatever He sends you. All leads to union, to perfection, except what is sinful or not a duty. All that is necessary is to accept everything, placing no obstacle in the way of its action but letting it accomplish its work. All things are intended to guide, raise, and support you, and are in the hand of God whose action is vaster and more present than the elements of earth, air, and water. Even by means of the senses God will enter, provided they are used only as He ordains, because everything contrary to His will must be resisted. There is not a single atom that goes to form part of your being, even to the marrow of the bones that is not formed by the divine power. From it all things proceed, by it all things are made. Your very life-blood flows through your veins by the movement this power imparts to it, and all the fluctuations that exist between strength and weakness, languor and liveliness, life and death, are divine instruments put in motion to effect your sanctification.
Under its influence all bodily states become operations of grace. From this invisible hand come all your opinions, all your ideas on whatever subject they may be formed. What this action will effect in you, you will learn by successive experiences, for there is no created heart or mind that can teach it to you. Your life flows on uninterruptedly in this unsounded abyss in which each present moment contains all that is best for you, and as such must be loved and esteemed. It is necessary to have a perfect confidence in this action which of itself can do nothing but what is good. Yes, divine Love! To what heights of supernatural, sublime, admirable and incomparable virtue would all souls arrive if they would but be satisfied with Your action! Yes, if they would leave the matter in this divine hand they would attain to an eminent degree of perfection! Everyone would arrive at it because it is offered to all.
No effort is required because the work accomplishes itself. Every soul possesses in You an infinitely perfect model, and by your action which works ceaselessly to this end, is rendered like this model. If all souls were faithful copies of this divine example they would all speak, act, and live divinely. They would not require to copy each other, but would be singled out by the divine influence, and each would be rendered unique by the most simple and ordinary things.
By what means, O my God, I can make your creatures appreciate what is offered to them? Must I who possess so great a treasure with which I could enrich the whole world, see souls perish in poverty? Must I behold them withering like plants in a desert when I can show them the source of living waters?
Come, foolish souls, you who have not an atom of sensible devotion, you too who possess no talent nor even the rudiments of education, 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 to you that you will find it everywhere and in everything. I will unite you to God, and make you walk hand in hand with Him from the moment that you begin practicing what I will teach you. Come, not to study the map of the 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 divine grace, nor to find out what it has accomplished in the past and still continues to accomplish; but to become simply subject to its operations. It is not necessary that you should understand what it has said to others, nor to repeat the words intended only for them and which you have overheard, but you, yourself, will receive from it what is best for you. The divine action alone can sanctify us, for that alone can make us imitate the divine Example of our perfection.