The Life of God in the Soul

There is a time when the soul lives in God, and a time when God lives in the soul. What is appropriate to one state is inconsistent with the other.

When God lives in the soul it ought to abandon itself entirely to his providence. When the soul lives in God it is obliged to procure for itself carefully and very regularly, every means it can devise by which to arrive at the divine union. The whole procedure is marked out; the readings, the examinations, the resolutions. The guide is always at hand and everything is by rule, even the hours for conversation.

When God lives in the soul it has nothing left of self, but only that which the spirit which actuates it imparts to it at each moment. Nothing is provided for the future, no road is marked out . . . No more books with marked passages for such a soul; often enough it is even deprived of a regular directior, for God allows it no other support than that which he gives it himself. Its dwelling is in darkness, forgetfulness, abandonment, death and nothingness. . .

Everything that others discover with great difficulty this soul finds in abandonment, and what they guard with care in order to be able to find it again, this soul receives at the moment there is occasion for it, and afterwards relinquishes so as to admit nothing but exactly what God desires it to have in order to live by him alone.

The former soul undertakes an infinity of good works for the glory of God, the latter is often cast aside in a corner of the world like a bit of broken crockery, apparently of no use to anyone. There, this soul, forsaken by creatures but in the enjoyment of God by a very real, true, and active love (active though infused in repose), does not attempt anything by its own impulse; it only knows that it has to abandon itself and to remain in the hands of God to be used by him as he pleases.

Often it is ignorant of its use, but God knows well. The world thinks it is useless, and appearances give colour to this judgment, but nevertheless it is very certain that in mysterious ways and by unknown channels, it spreads abroad an infinite amount of grace on persons who often have no idea of it, and of whom it never thinks . . .

. . . Often they do not perceive the outflow of this virtue and even contribute nothing by cooperation: it is like a hidden balm, the perfume of which is exhaled without being recognized, and which knows not its own virtue.

– by Jean-Pierre de Caussade, in Abandonment to Divine Providence

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