Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Another Mystic--Jean Pierre de Caussade....

In spite of the sudden stops and starts and rabbit trails here and there I am (admittedly in a haphazard fashion) writing a series of posts about several mystics...recommended by Gregory Boyd as an alternative to the writings of Eckhart Tolle. Brother Lawrence, Frank Laubach, Jean Pierre de Caussade. Boyd believes that these mystics will "encourage people to cultivate an on-going awareness of the presence of God and to surrender to this presence on a moment-by-moment basis. Tolle aims at experiencing one’s own divine “I AM” on a moment-by-moment basis. Brother Lawrence and Frank Laubach aim at experiencing a loving relationship with the I AM on a moment-by-moment basis."

And it is that final sentence that rings true with me. As much as Tolle's writings helped me understand the very Biblical concept of the adamic man/christ man....flesh/spirit.....soulish man/spirit man I am still drawn to the relationship with the I AM as opposed to seeing myself as my own little self propelling, self sustaining god. Tolle is not exactly Biblical...but via his writings I was better able to understand an important...perhaps THE most important Biblical truth. Yes, I know I've said this a dozen times on this blog. Sorry...digressers do that.

So anyway...today's post...and an as yet undetermined number of posts to follow....is about Jean Pierre de Caussade. He is French and with the name Caussade that is probably not a huge surprise. He was a Jesuit who lived a long, long time ago.....1675-1751. He is known for his writing Abandonment to Divine Providence.

Tonight, as I was reading some excerpts from Caussade's manuscript, I came upon one that resonated with the way I (and my cyber buddies) have come to see God's communication with us. Rather than believing he sewed it all up in the Bible and the teachings and preachings of the early church fathers and the saints, we think he is still speaking. And not just from the pages of the Bible. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, many things can be scripture. In fact, ANYTHING that he breathes the breath of understanding on IS scripture. Apparently, Caussade ran into folks way back when who thought God only spoke through the Bible. He said the following:

"Spiritual reading with the divine action, often contains a meaning that the author never thought of. God makes use of the words and actions of others to infuse truths which might otherwise have remained hidden. If He wishes to impart light in this way, it is for the submissive soul to avail itself of this light. Every expedient of the divine action has an efficacy which always surpasses its apparent and natural virtue."

In other words...He IS GOD...he gets to talk to us however he wants...using whatever means he deems acceptable. Caussade also writes:

"O unknown Love! it seems as if Your wonders were finished and nothing remained but to copy Your ancient works, and to quote Your past discourses! And no one sees that Your inexhaustible activity is a source of new thoughts, of fresh sufferings and further actions: of new Patriarchs, Apostles, Prophets, and Saints who have no need to copy the lives and writings of the others, but only to live in perpetual abandonment to Your secret operations. We hear of nothing on all sides but ‘the first centuries,’ ‘the time of the Saints.’ What a strange way of talking! Is not all time a succession of the effects of the divine operation, working at every instant, filling, sanctifying, and supernaturalising them all? Has there ever been an ancient method of abandonment to this operation which is now out of season? Had the Saints of the first ages any other secret than that of becoming from moment to moment whatever the divine power willed to make them? And will this power cease to pour forth its glory on the souls which abandon themselves to it without reserve."

Or as the United Church of Christ declares....

God is still speaking.

On their website you will find two quotes about God's willingness....his intent....to continue the "conversation."

There is more truth and light yet to break forth from God's holy word.
- John Robinson, 17th century pastor to the Pilgrims

and one that I particularly like.....

Never place a period where God has placed a comma.
- Gracie Allen, 20th century American comedian

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