The Life of God in the Soul
God sees nothing better in us than this total resignation of ourselves, and he himself provides us with books, gives us insight into our souls, together with advice and examples from the lives of the good and wise. Other people have great difficulty in discovering spiritual truths, but we, who have given ourselves to God, have no trouble. These others hold on to their spiritual discoveries, keep coming back and brooding over them, but we in whom God lives seize what each moment brings and then forget it, eager only to be alert to respond to God and live for him alone. They who live in God perform countless good works for his glory, but those in whom God lives are often flung into a corner like a useless bit of broken pottery. There they lie, forsaken by everyone, but yet enjoying God�s very real and active love and knowing they have to do nothing but stay in his hands and be used as he wishes. The world thinks them useless and it seems as if they are. Yet it is quite certain that by various means and through hidden channels they pour out spiritual help on people who are often quite unaware of it and of whom they themselves never think. For those who have surrendered themselves completely to God, all they are and do has power. Their lives are sermons. They are apostles. God gives a special force to all they say and do, even to their silence, their tranquility and their detachment, which, quite unknown to them, profoundly influences other people. God works through them by unexpected and hidden impulses�.
The moment the soul comes closely under the influence of God, it forsakes all its good works, its devotional practices, its methods of prayer, its books, its ideas and its discussions with other religious persons so that it can be alone and rely on the guidance of God, which is, henceforth, the unique source of its holiness. It is in his hands....realizing that God alone knows what is right for it, and that if it relied on human guidance it would inevitably lose its way in that unknown land into which God conducts it. It is the will of God which guides souls along paths which it alone knows.
When the wind is shifting, one can be sure of its direction only from moment to moment. So it is with these souls. They too have their course continually altered by the will of God, and his will can be understood only by its effects, by what it accomplishes in these souls either through secret, hidden promptings or through the duties of their state of life. This is all the spiritual knowledge they have; it is the sum total of their visions and revelations, all their wisdom and instruction. They need nothing more. Faith assures them that what they do is good. If they read, talk, write or seek advice, it is only to enable them to recognize God's will more clearly. They accept all these means as part of God's activity, but do not become attached to them....This power of God they perceive and enjoy in all things, from the smallest to the greatest, and it serves them continually�..
Whatever the world offers them is nothing. They judge all things by God�s standards. If he takes from them their powers of thought and speech, their books, their food, their friends, their health, and even life itself, it means no more to them than if he did the exact opposite. They love all he does and find his activity always sanctifying. They do not reason about what he does, but approve of it. They know it is never without significance.
This state of abandonment is a blending of faith, hope and love in one single act which unites us to God and all his activities�.those three virtues enable us to possess and enjoy, in one single impulse, God and his will. We see and love him and hope to receive all things from him�..
What a desirable unity is the trinity of these most excellent virtues! So let us believe, hope and love, because of the simple prompting of the Holy Spirit. Then the fervor inspired by the name of God will be diffused throughout our whole being by the Holy Spirit�.The divine touch can blend these three virtues differently and create all the varieties of spiritual conditions; and as God can arrange them in an infinite diversity, there is not a single soul which is not given the divine imprint in a way which best suits its own individuality�.
There is nothing more generous than a soul which, afire with faith, sees only the working of God in all troubles and the most deadly dangers�..the soul finds the fullness of divine life, not offered drop by drop, but engulfing it instantly. An army of soldiers with such a spirit would be invincible. For faith lifts and expands the heart above and beyond all that the senses fear. The life of faith and the instinct of faith are one and the same thing. It is delight in the friendship of God and confidence in his protection which makes everything acceptable and to be received with good grace. Faith also produces a certain detachment of soul which enables us to handle any situation and every kind of person. With faith we are never unhappy and never weak. The soul, with its living faith in God, always sees him acting behind happenings which bewilder our senses�.
When our hearts are truly abandoned, we embrace every possible kind of spirituality, for our whole being gives itself up to God�s will, and this act of surrender, prompted by pure love, means that we involve ourselves in all that pleases him. There is not a moment when we are not abandoned without the slightest reservation, and so, inevitably, the nature of this abandonment comprises every variety of the spiritual life.
Jean-Pierre de Caussade