July 8, 2015, in Kampala, Uganda:
De Caussade: “No one becomes learned in the science of God either by the reading of books, or by the inquisitive investigation of history. The science that is acquired by such means is vain and confused, producing much pride. That which instructs us is what happens from one moment to another, producing in us that experimental science which Jesus Christ himself willed to acquire before instructing others.”
“Reading and seeing become fruitful and possess virtue and light only by the acquisition of this divine science [of experience], otherwise they are like dough to which leaven is necessary, and the salt of experience to season it. And since without this salt we have only vague ideas to act upon, we are like visionaries, who, through knowing the roads that lead to all the towns, yet lose their way going to their own house.”
A good warning for the theological journey I am on: it must always be matched with an experimental and experiential science of what happens in me and to me and through me on a moment-by-moment basis. The real domain of the LOGOS is the present moment – He is always speaking/acting in the NOW. We must become phenomenologically hyperliterate.
De Caussade is really hitting the point home…addressing something I’ve felt for a long time: however prophets of old could become prophets, so could we. However disciples became disciples, so could we. However apostles became apostles, so could we. However saints became saints, so could we. There is so much emphasis in Christianity on reading ancient texts and trying to partially (not fully!) emulate ancient inspired ones, as if we can only have spiritual lives through them.
“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 Your inexhaustible activity as a source of new thoughts, of fresh sufferings, of further actions: of new Patriarchs, Apostles, Prophets, and Saints who have no need to copy the lives and writings of others, but only life in perpetual abandonment to Your secret operations…
“We hear 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 supernaturalizing them all?
“O Love eternal, adorable, ever fruitful, and ever marvelous! May the divine operation of my God be my book, my doctrine, my science. In it are my thoughts, my words, my actions, and my sufferings.
“Not by consulting Your former works shall I become what You would have me to be; but by receiving You in everything.”