From Abandonment to the Divine Providence VI.5 (ca. 1740)

Since we know that the activity of God embraces everything, directs everything, indeed does everything (apart from sin) faith has the duty of adoring, loving, and welcoming it in everything. We should do so full of joy and confidence, rising in everything above appearances, the very obscurity of which provokes the triumph of faith. This is the way to honor God and to treat him as God.

To live by faith is then to live joyfully, to live with assurance, untroubled by doubts, confident in what we have to do and suffer at each moment by the will of God. We should realize that it is in order to animate and sustain this life of faith that God permits the soul to be overwhelmed and carried away on the tumultuous waters of so many pains, troubles, embarrassments, weaknesses, and setbacks, for faith is needed to find God in all these things.

The divine life presents itself at every moment in an unknown but very certain manner under such appearances as physical death, torments in the soul, ruin in temporal affairs. In all this faith finds its nourishment and support. Faith cuts through these appearances and grasps the hand of God that keeps us alive. A faithful soul should walk on in confidence, where there is no prospect of sin, taking all these things as the various disguises of God, whose intimate presence at once alarms and reassures its faculties.

Indeed, the great God who consoles the humble gives the soul in the midst of our greatest desolations an intimate assurance that we have to abandon ourselves completely to him. In the midst of our affliction at the loss of the Beloved, something tells us that it is in possession of him. We are troubled and upset, and yet in the deep places of our heart there is a sort of fundamental weight which keeps us steadfastly rooted in God. As Jacob once said, “Truly, God is in this place and I did not know it.”

Jean Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751) was a French Jesuit priest and spiritual writer, who served as spiritual director of the nuns of the Community of the Visitation at Nancy. He is remembered for the treatise Abandonment to the Divine Providence and several letters of spiritual counsel which he sent to the nuns in his later ministry.