This book is only 103 pages, but it feels like very thick book. After I read 5 pages, I felt like I had read fifty and I really struggled to get into the meat of the text. It took me a week an half just to read the opening chapters!
I generally write these posts on Sunday afternoons and let them ferment for a few day before publishing them on Tuesday. Since this is such a difficult book for me, unless there is some miracle that occurs in my reading habits, I am officially behind schedule.
Jean-Pierre De Caussade spends the first 14 pages convincing us that Saintliness may not look like what we usually think of as saintliness or what the institutional church may tell us it looks like. In other words, stop trying to be a “Saint” and stop comparing yourself to other Christians and focus on your own spirituality.
Here are a few quotes that I found helpful in what I have read so far:
“He [God] is by your side, over you around you and in you. Here is his dwelling and yet you still seek him. Ah! You are searching for God, the of God in the essential being. You seek perfection and it lies in everything that happens to you-your suffering, your actions, your impulses are the mysteries under which God reveals himself to you. But he will never disclose himself in the shape of that exalted image to which you so vainly cling.” (18, emphasis mine)
“. . . the Holy Spirit makes the diversity of all transcendental states. As God is able to blend them in an infinite number of ways, every soul receives this precious touch in a unique and special way which nevertheless always remains faith, hope and charity.” (29)
“I wish to make all see that everyone can aspire, not to the same specific things, but to the same love, the same surrender, the same God and his work . . . ” (31)