Saturday, October 6, 2012

Infinite Riches in the Present Moment

From Abandonment to Divine Providence, by Jean-Pierre de Caussade, SJ (Book I; Chapter 2; Section 3):

If we understood how to see in each moment some manifestation of the will of God we should find therein also all that our hearts could desire. In fact there could be nothing more reasonable, more perfect, more divine than the will of God. Could any change of time, place, or circumstance alter or increase its infinite value?

If you possess the secret of discovering it at every moment and in everything, then you possess all that is most precious, and most worthy to be desired. What is it that you desire, you who aim at perfection? Give yourselves full scope. Your wishes need have no measure, no limit. However much you may desire I can show you how to attain it, even though it be infinite. There is never a moment in which I cannot enable you to obtain all that you can desire. The present is ever filled with infinite treasure, it contains more than you have capacity to hold.

Faith is the measure. Believe, and it will be done to you accordingly. Love also is the measure. The more the heart loves, the more it desires; and the more it desires, so much the more will it receive. The will of God is at each moment before us like an immense, inexhaustible ocean that no human heart can fathom; but none can receive from it more than he has capacity to contain, it is necessary to enlarge this capacity by faith, confidence, and love.

The whole creation cannot fill the human heart, for it is greater than all that is not God. It is on a higher plane than the material creation, and for this reason nothing material can satisfy it. The divine will is a deep abyss of which the present moment is the entrance. If you plunge into this abyss you will find it infinitely more vast than your desires.

Do not flatter anyone, nor worship your own illusions, they can neither give you anything nor receive anything from you. Receive your fullness from the will of God alone, it will not leave you empty. Adore it, put it first, before all things; tear all disguises from vain pretenses and forsake them all going straight to the sole reality.

When a soul recognizes the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances. Thus it experiences a great happiness in this coming of God, and enjoys it the more, the more it has learnt to abandon itself at every moment to His adorable will.

In commenting on these paragraphs, Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP, says (in Providence):

How sublime is this doctrine! As the present minute is passing, let us likewise bear in mind that what exists is not merely our body with its sensibility, its varying emotions of pain and pleasure; but also our spiritual and immortal soul, and the actual grace we receive, and Christ who exerts His influence upon us, and the Blessed Trinity dwelling within us. We shall then have some idea of the infinite riches contained in the present moment and the connection it has with the unchanging instant of eternity into which we are some day to enter. We should not be satisfied with viewing the present moment along the horizontal line of time, as the connecting link between a vanished past and an uncertain temporal future; we ought rather to view it along that vertical line of time which links it up with the unique instant of unchanging eternity. Whatever happens, let us say to ourselves: At this moment God is present and desires to draw me to Himself. In one of the most painful moments of St. Alphonsus' life, when the beloved congregation he had just founded seemed all but lost, he heard these words from the lips of a lay friend of his: "God is always present, Father Alphonsus." Not only did he renew his courage, but that hour of pain became one of the most fruitful of his life.

Let us in all reverses give heed to the actual graces offered us with each passing minute for the fulfillment of present duty. We shall thus realize more and more how great must be our fidelity in little things as well as in great.

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