Sunday, August 5, 2012

Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J.

Jean-Pierre de Caussade, born in Toulouse, France, was ordained a member of the Society of Jesus in 1708. His little book, The Sacrament of the Present Moment, is basically a series of addresses he shared with a group of nuns under his spiritual direction. It was recommended to me some time ago by my own spiritual director.

I'm re-reading parts of it and pondering these words from the ninth chapter, "The Secret of Discovering God's Transcendent Will in the Present Moment:"
Recognizing God in the Most Trivial
...[the one] who recognizes a king in disguise treats him very differently from he who sees before him only the figure of an ordinary man and treats him accordingly. Likewise, souls who can recognize God in the most trivial, the most grievous, and the most mortifying things that happen to them in their lives, honour everything equally with delight and rejoicing, and welcome with open arms what others dread and avoid. The senses despise mean trappings but the heart worships this royal majesty in whatever form it appears, and the more humble its disguise the more the heart is pierced through with love. How can what the heart feels be described when it perceives God's divine word so shrunken, so beggarly, so prostrated? Ah! The poverty, the humility of God reduced to lying on straw in a manger, crying and trembling and breaking Mary's noble heart. Ask the inhabitants of Bethlehem what they would think; if that child had been born in a place in princely surroundings they would worship him. But ask Mary, Joseph, the Magi, the priests, and they will tell you that they see in this dire poverty something which makes God more glorious, more adorable. What is deprivation to the senses nourishes and strengthens faith. The less there is for them, the more there is for the soul. To adore Jesus at the transfiguration, to love God in great things, is not so perfect an act of faith as to worship them in small discover God in the smallest and most ordinary things, as well as in the greatest, is to possess a rare and sublime faith. To find contentment in the present moment is to relish and adore the divine will in the succession of all the things to be done and suffered which make up the duty to the present moment...Wherever you go, [Christ] has gone before. Only follow him and you will find him everywhere.

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