Sunday 18 June 2017

Abandonment to Divine Providence- Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Abandonment to Divine Providence
Jean-Pierre de Caussade
Rev. J. Ramiere (Editor)
Matthew Kelly (Forward)

Wellspring Publishing
Beacon Publishing for
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781942611523

I have had interest in this book for a number of years now, but just never got around to reading it. In part because there are a few main editions all translated nearly 100 years ago, and so many different editions of it, some abridged and some not, some abridged and some not, some reformatted and updated and many not. So when a new edition became available, with an introduction by Matthew Kelly, I read it within days of it being available. This is the first book in a new series called Dynamic Catholic Classics. And unlike many editions that are currently available this one has been redone, with new typeset, formatting and layout. This book is a classic and has been for over 250 years, but this new edition brings the classic to new life.

Matthew Kelly in the introduction states:

"To discover God's dreams for us-this is a worthy pursuit! But in order to discover them we have to get out of our own way, and get out of God's way. Abandonment to Divine Providence has been leading people along a sure path for more than 250 years. The words this book contains are as true today as they were when they were written, though perhaps needed more today than ever before."
And after reading it I believe that it will live up to those words. Kelly also states:
"This book is an invitation to develop a singular focus: Seek and do the will of God. In every moment of every day, we are called to seek God's will and to carry out our part in his plan, which immediately liberates us from worrying about things we cannot do anything about. This focus on doing the next right thing pushes aside all the distractions that take us into the future or the past. Seeking to do God's will right now is an invitation to experience fully the present moment. Incidentally, that is always where we find God. We cannot find him by trying to hurry into the future or by thrashing our way back into the past. God is always in the now."
And that is the focus of the book, learning to live in God and live in the here and now. This book is broken into 2 books, 6 chapters and 54 sections. In fact the sections in the book are:

On the Virtue of Abandonment to
Divine Providence, Its Nature and Excellence

Chapter 1

I. Hidden Operations of God
II. The Duties of Each Moment
III. The Work of Our Sanctification
IV. In What Perfection Consists
V. The Divine Influence Alone Can Sanctify Us
VI. On the Use of Mental Faculties
VII. On the Attainment of Peace
VIII. To Estimate Degrees of Excellence
IX. Sanctity Made Easy

Chapter 2
I. The Divine Action
II. By Faith the Operation of God Is Recognized
III. How to Discover What Is the Will of God
IV. The Revelations of God
V. The Action of Jesus Christ in the Souls of Men
VI. The Treatment of the Divine Action
VII. The Hidden Work of Divine Love
VIII. Experimental Science
IX. The Will of God in the Present Moment Is the Source of Sanctity
X. God Makes Known His Will Through Creatures
XI. Everything Is Supernaturalized by the Divine Action
XII. The Divine Word Our Model

On the State of Abandonment

Chapter 1
I. The Life of God in the Soul
II. The Most Perfect Way
III. Abandonment a Pledge of Predestination
IV. Abandonment a Source of Joy
V. The Great Merit of Pure Faith
VI. Submission a Free Gift to God
VII. Divine Favors Offered to All
VIII. God Reigns in a Pure Heart

Chapter 2

I. Sacrifice, the Foundation of Sanctity
II. The Pains and Consolations of Abandonment
III. The Different Duties of Abandonment
IV. God Does All for a Soul of Goodwill
V. The Common Way of All Souls
VI. The Duty of the Present Moment the Only Rule
VII. Trust in the Guidance of God
VIII. Great Faith Is Necessary

Chapter 3

I. Unwise Interference
II. Unjust Judgments
III. Self-Contempt
IV. Distrust of Self
V. The Life of Faith

Chapter 4
I. Confidence in God
II. Diversity of Grace
III. The Generosity of God
IV. The Most Ordinary Things Are Channels of Grace
V. Nature and Grace the Instruments of God
VI. Supernatural Prudence
VII. Conviction of Weakness
VIII. Self-Guidance a Mistake
IX. Divine Love, the Principle of All Good
X. We Must See God in All His Creatures
XI. The Strength of Simplicity
XII. The Triumph of Humility

One of the passages from this book that really spoke to me is: "No reading, nor any other exercise can sanctify us except in so far as they are the channels of the divine influence." And as a bibliophile who reads a lot of books, this thought has had a large impact. There are many book I have read in the past, that I would not read today with where I am at spiritually. There are whole authors that I will no longer touch their books because they do not really have a positive impact. A further quote on this topic of reading is:

"Our whole science consists in recognising the designs of God for the present moment. All reading not intended for us by God is dangerous. It is by doing the will of God and obeying His holy inspirations that we obtain grace, and this grace works in our hearts through our reading or any other employment. Apart from God reading is empty and vain and, being deprived for us of the life-giving power of the action of God, only succeeds in emptying the heart by the very fullness it gives to the mind."
This book has so much sound advice in a small slim volume. I am thankful to Matthew Kelly for bringing out this new edition. If not it might have remained one of those books I would read someday. But someday might never have come. I strongly encourage anyone serious about their faith journey to give this book a read and see what sort of immediate impact it has on your life, all areas of your life.  The heading of the final section in the book states: "To the souls which are faithful to Him, God promises a glorious victory over the powers of the world and of hell." And this book will help you live that life.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

For a list of all books that are part of Father Mark Goring's Saint Mark’s School of Reading click here.

Dynamic Catholic Classics:

Abandonment to Divine Providence - Jean-Pierre de Caussade
The Spiritual Exercises - St. Ignatius of Loyola
Confessions - St. Augustine
Introduction to the Devout Life - St. Francis de Sales
Dark Night of the Soul - St. John of the Cross
Imitation of Christ - Thomas à Kempis
The Divine Comedy - Dante Alighieri
The Interior Castle - St. Teresa of Avila
The Way of Perfection - St. Teresa of Avila
True Devotion to Mary - St. Louis de Montfort
The Story of a Soul - St. Thérèse of Lisieux

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