Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Abandonment to Divine Providence

Perhaps you've heard of Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade's Abandonment to Divine Providence. It's a work of spiritual theology which I have not yet read. Nevertheless, I have thought of it a number of times. Perhaps you know of situations in which you're not completely familiar with something or someone's particular take on something, but you yet have a sufficient grasp to understand the general concept. Well, this is the case for me with Fr. de Caussade's Abandonment. I often think of it when I am being reminded (or reminding myself) to let go, and abandon my own soul.

This past summer (and perhaps for long into the future) de Caussade's Abandonment came into my mind often during the liturgy, during Mass. Usually, it would be during the Eucharistic Prayer, and even more specifically, during the words of consecration - I remember this because I was usually kneeling when it would come to mind. As an aside, why is it that sometimes the most mundane or even absurd things fly into our minds during the words of consecration? Well, anyhow.

The particular reason for needing to abandon myself to providence was that I wouldn't let go of the homily I had just given. Oftentimes, without attempting to, I would find myself thinking about various ways in which I said something wrong, or ways in which I could have made my point more clearly, or the simple fact that I should not have been playing with the ribbons on the lectionary as I spoke, or whatever. Only once or twice was I distracted by hoping that I hadn't offended people. But because of all of this, I continually needed to remind myself, "Gregory. It's done. It's over. It's in the past. You cannot change it." And then somehow I would recall de Caussade's book to mind.

I think it's quite true, though, and perhaps this is much of the work of the Christian way. Oftentimes we do things we wish we hadn't done. Sometimes we fear the unforseeable repercussions of our actions. Sometimes we wish we had done this or that better. Whatever the case may be, it is helpful to be reminded that the past is the past. I can only account for the present. Sometimes that involves righting the past, but perhaps more often it involves letting go of the past and simply entrusting it all to God, being ever more responsible and deliberate in the present. Though he is speaking of the future, it applies as well to the past: "Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil" (Matthew 26:34).


Deacon Tyler said...

As I recall. O'Gorman was also home to a high school seminary in the not so distant past. . .

Deacon David said...

Hey! I just picked up a copy of this. It's re-titled as "Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence" in a brand-new printing.

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