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Attaining Lasting Peace

  • FATHER JEAN PIERRE DE CAUSSADE, S.J.

A soul could only be nourished, strengthened, purified, enriched and sanctified by the fullness of the present moment.

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The soul who is not committed solely to the will of God will find neither its satisfaction nor sanctification in the various methods — not even in the most excellent devotional exercises.  If that which God Himself chooses for you does not satisfy you, from whom do you expect to receive what you desire?  If you turn from the food prepared for you by God's own will, what food could satisfy a taste so depraved? 

A soul could only be nourished, strengthened, purified, enriched and sanctified by the fullness of the present moment. What more would you have? Since you can find all that is good here, why seek it anywhere else?  Do you know better than God? 

Since He ordains it this way, why do you want it to be different?  Can His wisdom and goodness be deceived?  When you find that something is in accord with His divine wisdom and goodness, should you not conclude that it must be the best that could happen?  Do you think you will find peace in struggling with the Almighty?  Is it not, rather, this resistance, this struggle, too often continued without admitting it even to ourselves, that is the cause of all our inward agitations?

It is only just therefore, that the soul which is not satisfied with the divine fullness of each present moment should be punished by being unable to find happiness in anything else.  If books, the example of the saints, and spiritual conversations take away our soul's peace — if they fill our mind without satisfying it   it is a sign that we have strayed from the path of simple surrender to God's will, and that we are seeking but to please ourselves. 

The very fullness they offer prevents God from finding an entrance, and we must get rid of these things because they are obstacles to the work of grace.  But if God's will ordains that we makes use of them, we may receive them just as we do everything else that is to say as the means ordained by God, which we accept simply to use as they are, and when their moment has passed, leave them for the duties of the next moment.  In fact, there is nothing really good that does not come to us from the order of God, and nothing, however good in itself, can be more effectual for our sanctification or more capable of giving peace to our souls.

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Acknowledgement

Father Jean Pierre de Caussade, S.J. "Attaining Lasting Peace." excerpt from The Joy of Full Surrender (Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2008).

Reprinted with permission from Paraclete Press.

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The Author

Father Jean Pierre de Caussade, S.J. (1675-1751) was a French Jesuit priest and writer known for his work Abandonment to Divine Providence (also translated as The Joy of Full Surrender) and his posthumously-published letters of instruction to the Nuns of the Visitation at Nancy, Spiritual Letters of Jean-Pierre De Caussade, where he was spiritual director from 1733-1740. He also 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.

Copyright © 2008 Paraclete Press
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