Your Most Important Question
“There is not a moment in which God does not present Himself under the cover of some pain to be endured, of some consolation to be enjoyed, or some duty to be performed. All that takes place with us, around us, or through us, contains and reveals His divine action. If we understood how to see in each moment some manifestation of the will of God, we should find therein all that our hearts could desire.”—Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence
Reverend Jean-Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751), a French Jesuit writer, believed in the constant providence of God, that the divine action of God is everywhere and always present, that faith sees in all things the action of the Creator and a revelation of His will.
Caussade believed if we were attentive and watchful God would continually reveal Himself to us and see His divine action in everything that happened to us. That God has ordained, arranged, or permitted every event, everything about us, everything that happens to us to sanctify us and unite us with Himself and His will. Therefore, every moment is “supernaturalized” and can serve as an opportunity for divine direction and communion.
It is for this reason that Job blessed the name of God in his moment of ruin and desolation, that David blessed God at all times and in all places, that Mary praised and submitted to God in response to the angel’s revelation, that Jesus endured the cross, and that countless martyrs endured endless suffering.
We see in the lives of saints how God uses divine action in two ways: either to compel us to perform certain actions, or to simply work within us for our sanctification. Therefore, we submit in two ways, either by exteriorly accomplishing His will or interiorly embracing the sanctifying message of God. Therefore, abandonment to the good pleasure of God involves activity as well as passivity.
That is why the most important question any of us can ask throughout our days is:
How is God revealing Himself and His will in this moment, and how is He calling me to interiorly or exteriorly respond?
How do you know and see God’s divine action from moment to moment? How do you make use of and be guided by divine action? Caussade suggests to do so requires abandonment in pure faith to divine action in each moment and in each circumstance….a total surrender to His will to be used by Him as He pleases. Caussade says, “Faith opens the eyes of the soul to see God in all things and at every moment working within you and around you. In all things you are His subject and His instrument. He rules, leads, and guides you. You do not have to think because He thinks for you.”
My wife and I are on a quest to visit the nation’s National Parks and Monuments. The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, 2 million acres of protected land in Southern Utah, was on our list. The land is among the most remote in the country, the last to be mapped in the contiguous United States, and many explorers and hikers have lost their lives in its vastness. Our usual preference is to strike out on our own following a map as well as our instincts, but in this case we determined the better part of wisdom was to secure a guide. Without asking our advice or providing us an inkling of his plans, our guide insisted on our total surrender to his guidance. He seemed to sense our anxiety and took pleasure in overcoming our fears and distrust. And, without consulting a map and following no observable path, our guide led us on an unforgettable hike in a remote and remarkable wilderness like none other.
We learned that if one is convinced they have a good guide, you must have faith in him, and abandon yourself to his care if you are to fully experience the journey.
Likewise, great faith is required to see God in all things and to trust each moment as providential guidance from Him. At times on our journey we will be like Jacob when he said, “Truly,” God is in this place and I knew it not” (Genesis 28:16). But, consistently asking this most import question will over time allow us to recognize the activity of God in every event, accept every circumstance as a gift from God, and give meaning to Caussade’s words: “All that happens to me will be food for my nourishment, water for my cleansing, fire for my purification, and a channel of grace for all my needs, and a path for my actions. If you possess the secret of discovering God’s divine action at every moment and in everything, then you possess all that is most precious and most worthy to be desired.”
Posted on August 7, 2018