Missionary statesman and theologian E. Stanley Jones told of browsing in a bookstore and seeing a set of books on a table with a sign reading: SECOND HAND THEOLOGY FOR SALE. Jones said that upon seeing that sign he vowed never...
“Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the LORD is in this place—and I did not know it!’”
I love this Biblical scene in which patriarch-in-the-making, Jacob, comes awake! Surprisingly this comes to him at the low point of his life. He is on the run, leaving family and home behind, having stolen the birthright of his brother Esau. Now as the sun goes down the renegade takes a wilderness stone for a pillow, falls asleep, and dreams of a ladder connecting heaven and earth. He dreams of God’s angels descending and ascending on a ladder. Heaven is joined to earth! Jacob rouses from the dream a new man, coming to finally realize that God was with Him. From this awakening Jacob will go at life knowing God is everywhere present to him.
This wondrous archetypal story helps awaken me to
Whatever one’s church, denomination or non-denomination, a sacrament is looked upon as an outward visible sign of an inward invisible grace. Thus, the bread and wine of Communion are received as a sacrament from God, as are the waters of baptism. Each communicates to us an inward and invisible grace from God. Caussade teaches that every moment of our lives communicates to us inward and invisible grace. Right now, in this present moment, God gives Himself to you!
Notice the similarities of Caussade’s thinking with his older contemporary, Brother Lawrence (1614-1691), who taught us to treasure and savor every moment by “practicing the presence of God.” Brother Lawrence was an uneducated monk and cook in a monastery. Amidst the “noise and clatter” of the kitchen he sought to be present to God who was always present to him. Like friends of Caussade, friends of Brother Lawrence collected his teachings and put them into the book, The Practice of the Presence of God. God is always coming to us in each and every present moment. Why not take the present moment to reflect on the following few lines from Caussade’s letters:
- “God speaks to every individual through what happens to them moment by moment.”
- “There is no moment when God is not manifest in the form of some affliction, obligation, or duty.”
- “No moment is trivial since each one contains a divine
kingdom,and heavenly sustenance.”
- “The present moment holds riches beyond your wildest dreams.”
Caussaude advises that in the present moment we give ourselves to God who gives Himself to us. Thus, the book is titled Abandonment to God’s Providence. This present moment comes to me as a sacrament of God’s will. Centuries before Caussade and Brother Lawrence, the apostle Paul spoke of God “in whom we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). We cannot run from God or find a place or a moment not filled with His universal and loving presence. Give yourself to God, to this moment, reflecting on these final thoughts from Caussade:
“Present moment, how small in the eyes of my head, and how great in those of my heart, the means whereby I receive small things from the Father who reigns in the heavens! Everything that falls from there is very excellent; everything bears the mark of its Maker.”
A fellow traveler,