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Thursday, August 01, 2019    

Listen to God in silence when we have spoken to Him, for he speaks in His turn during prayer.
  --Jean Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751)

(91:3.7) Enlightened prayer must recognize not only an external and personal God but also an internal and impersonal Divinity, the indwelling Adjuster. It is altogether fitting that man, when he prays, should strive to grasp the concept of the Universal Father on Paradise; but the more effective technique for most practical purposes will be to revert to the concept of a near-by alter ego, just as the primitive mind was wont to do, and then to recognize that the idea of this alter ego has evolved from a mere fiction to the truth of God's indwelling mortal man in the factual presence of the Adjuster so that man can talk face to face, as it were, with a real and genuine and divine alter ego that indwells him and is the very presence and essence of the living God, the Universal Father.

(146:2.17) 16. Jesus taught his followers that, when they had made their prayers to the Father, they should remain for a time in silent receptivity to afford the indwelling spirit the better opportunity to speak to the listening soul. The spirit of the Father speaks best to man when the human mind is in an attitude of true worship.

   Jean Pierre de Caussade was a French Jesuit priest and writer. He is especially known for the work ascribed to him, Abandonment to Divine Providence, and also his work with the Nuns of the Visitation in Nancy, France.

   Jean Pierre de Caussade Caussade was born in Cahors, now in Lot, France. He was spiritual director to the Nuns of the Visitation in Nancy, France, from 1733 to 1740. During this time and after he left Nancy, he wrote letters of instruction to the nuns. Some material ascribed to him was first published in 1861 by Henri Ramière under the title " L’Abandon à la providence divine".

   However, according to research on The Treatise on Abandonment to Divine Providence, discussed in a paper by Dominique Salin SJ, emeritus professor at the Faculty of Theology at the Centre Sèvres, published in The Way, 46/2 (Apr 2007), pp. 21–36, "it now seems almost impossible that the author was in fact the Jesuit Jean-Pierre de Caussade" as "[n]othing in de Caussade's biography would suggest that this man was the author of a famous treatise" and the style of letters of spiritual direction that can genuinely be attributed to de Caussade "is far removed from the lyricism" marking it.

Whoever the author was, he or she believed that the present moment is a sacrament from God and that self-abandonment to it and its needs is a holy state – a belief which, in the theological climate of France at the time, was considered close to Quietist heresy. In fact, because of this fear (especially with the Church's condemnation of the Quietist movement), the work was kept unpublished until 1861, and even then they were edited by Ramière to protect them from charges of Quietism. A more authoritative version of these notes was published only in 1966. In his writings, the author is aware of the Quietists and rejects their perspective. Abandonment to Divine Providence has now been read widely for many year and is considered a classic in the spiritual life by Catholics and many others. Caussade spent years as preacher in southern and central France, as a college rector (at Perpignan and at Albi), and as the director of theological students at the Jesuit house in Toulouse, which is where he died.



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