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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's about TRUST
My review is definitely influenced by the other reviews that I read. You can certainly tell those folks who live in their heads from those folks who live in their hearts. If you live in your head, you live in your own will. These folks have points and counterpoints, categories and subcategories, notes of historical interest, arguments and objections. Though they are just...
Published on Nov. 4 2002

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a look for historical perspective
For a divinity scholar to dislike DeCaussade is rather like a film buff's not caring for Citizen Kane - it just is not done, since it is universally considered a great classic. I would recommend this book as a means of seeing how a popular spirituality, in marked contrast to Jansenistic or eternal Pelagian thought, was quite popular in DeCaussade's time and place...
Published on Aug. 1 2001 by Elizabeth G. Melillo


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's about TRUST, Nov. 4 2002
By A Customer
My review is definitely influenced by the other reviews that I read. You can certainly tell those folks who live in their heads from those folks who live in their hearts. If you live in your head, you live in your own will. These folks have points and counterpoints, categories and subcategories, notes of historical interest, arguments and objections. Though they are just the ones who need the message of this book, they are the ones most resistant, the ones to completely miss the point. Our wills are not easily subdued. We identify our being with "our doing," "our opinions," "our judgments." We think that "me" equals "my will," "my way," "my view." These folks line up to inform God just how His Creation should run and, no doubt, they have very good arguments. ...This is not to demean the life of the mind, although it may sound that way. ... As Jean-Pierre de Caussade says, "The use of our reason and other faculties is profitable only when it serves as an instrument of God's activity." All too often the mind wants to serve as the instrument of its own and solely its own activity. So this book is not about fatalism or passivity. It's about TRUST. It's about believing that although all appears to be lost, God is working. It's about HOPE. It's about faith in yourself, though you appear to be a pretty poor instrument of goodness, God is using you---as much as you allow yourself to live in your heart. We fight, we struggle, we lose, or so we think. There are more than enough knocks in the most humdrum life. But everyday we get up, dust our bruised bodies off, and say a small prayer under our breath, "Not my will, But Yours." ...
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5.0 out of 5 stars I thought I knew all about this topic....., March 5 2013
By 
Carolina "Carolturkia" (Vancouver British Columbia) - See all my reviews
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This book will touch you to the deepest place in your heart! It will move you, it will change you. Buy it!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent spiritual book that balances contemporary thought, Jan. 22 2004
By 
C. Stephans - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
What is Divine Providence? Shakespeare writes that "there is a divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them how we will." (Hamlet) This book expands on the theme of allowing providence to shape our ends and trusting in the wisdom of providence.
Taken on its own, this book may inspire some readers to be passive regarding life's outcomes, as other reviewers have suggested, but we read this in light of so much contemporary preaching and Christian writing about being proactice and successful and prosperous and "blessed" in all we decide to do that reading this book gives us a different view that will provide balance to our spiritual lives. It is a view of contentment at the feet of God, a view of trusting in God's presence and compassion. I was thrilled while reading this book. It is a book to inspire us all to sit at Jesus' feet and listen to him, as Mary did, rather than asking Jesus to bless our busyness from a distance.
One must remember that this is a book of compiled letters to nuns and notes for lectures to a similar audience. These are exhortations to nuns who have devoted their lives to Christ. The casual Christian may find the exhortations extreme and that they do not fit into our Christian America mindset. The structure of the book does create a more laborious read than modern books that flow better due to proper formatting.
I recommend this book as I recommend Imitation of Christ by Thomas a'Kempis. They are books that are relevant and I think necessary to modern Christians, especially those caught up in the "Purpose-Driven Life" movement. I bought a copy for my pastor to read, because we plainly do not hear of this kind of devotion today. It is not a movement but a sacrificial life the author promotes.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a look for historical perspective, Aug. 1 2001
For a divinity scholar to dislike DeCaussade is rather like a film buff's not caring for Citizen Kane - it just is not done, since it is universally considered a great classic. I would recommend this book as a means of seeing how a popular spirituality, in marked contrast to Jansenistic or eternal Pelagian thought, was quite popular in DeCaussade's time and place. However, I have some serious problems with the work as a whole.
Essentially, DeCaussade's emphasis on how one may only serve God in the circumstances in which one finds oneself is wise - and indeed, with the proper disposition, offering of any "present moment" can be a gift of grace. Those who are fond of the writings of Thérèse of Lisieux will see that this viewpoint has a marked resemblance to her "little way." Nonetheless, where Thérèse's means of expression, and consideration of her circumstances, give this approach an enduring realism and charm, DeCaussade's presentation seems quite close to both quietism (a passivity which, apart from theological deficiencies, often can lead one to a sense of helplessness and despair) and rationalism.
Since the work is a collection of letters and conference notes, many readers undoubtedly will find it as ponderous as did I. It becomes tiresome when the same, single point is made, again and again.
The quasi-quietism which I previously mentioned may be useful to those of a particular spiritual mindset, in which there is a primary emphasis on resignation in suffering. For those who, by contrast, are searching for some sense of hope in a "present moment" that is hellish, DeCaussade often seems lacking in compassion, sometimes to a point of bordering on cruelty. For example, his words of "comfort" to one who is suffering the grief of bereavement are that "God wants to be your only friend." It is solid to believe that divine providence can work in painful circumstances, but seeing these tragic times as inflicted by God (the passage I quoted can easily be taken as implying that a beloved friend died to accomplish God's purpose of one's being totally alone!) can lead one to run from, rather than embrace, faith.
I gave this book three stars because a few of its basic ideas are excellent: the importance of turning the will towards God, trust as essential to true faith, and not turning from today's chance for good in looking towards a future one cannot foresee. I certainly consider it a part of a well-rounded viewpoint of spirituality. But, for personal spiritual reading or use of ideas in pastoral application, I believe it has, at best, a limited appeal, and can be detrimental unless it is only one part of a far larger scope of knowledge.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Saintly advise for saints, Feb. 17 2011
By 
S Svendsen "Uni" (Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Abandonment to Divine Providence (Paperback)
This 250 year old compilation of Fr Jean-Pierre de Cassade's letters and notes deserves a great deal of respect for its author's depth of devotion to a doctrine predominated by living in an abandonment only to God's will. His writing carries the marks of mystical sainthood. Every sentence and paragraph compels the reader to analyze and reanalyze, to perceive an existence so ruled by God's will that it becomes devoid of even the smallest expression of self will. With complete trust and faith we are soft clay molded by God's hands without any desire for a premeditated outcome.

Much of value can be excerpted from this book, for example, the first page from Chapter III, Section IX, Divine Love, the Principle of all Good. However, if examined carefully, de Cassade's teachings of ascetic abandonment to divine providence are so esoterically extreme they will not receive sympathetic response from most seekers in this age of rampant self-centredness, ego worship and instant solutions. If taken to heart some of his ideas could actually prove to be mentally, emotionally and spiritually tormenting for unfledged practitioners.

I do not dispute de Cassade's exceptional theistical capacity to express contemplative Jesuit detachment but this book's turgid, pompous, repetitive composition would make discernment problematic for many readers. I suspect that most of the five star ratings by reviewers here reflect complaisance in awe of a saintly genius rather than their serious practical imitation of what he teaches. For prospective mystics open to stepping outside the Christian milieu I would suggest reading the works of the Indian mystic Jiddu Krishnamurti instead.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simple but filled with profound wisdom, Oct. 17 2001
By A Customer
Jean-Pierre de Caussade, a French priest born in 1675, never knew he wrote this book. It is an edited collection taken from letters and from notes on talks he had given. This translation is very good - full of life and not dry.
This book has deeply blessed me. In the absence of opportunity for spiritual direction, I have taken this book as my main guide for many years. It always has something that speaks directly to my journey, and is full of the heart of God.
Here is a quote from the translator's introduction: "Caussade combines intense practicality with profound mysticism - as did St. Teresa of Avila. This is nothing extraordinary. True mystics are always much more practical than the ordinary run of people. They seek reality; we, the ephemeral. They want God as he is; we want God as we imagine him to be."
Aldous Huxley, in his book, "The Perennial Philosophy," compares a quote from de Caussade with a quote from The Third Patriarch of Zen. Huxley writes in chapter 4, "The seventeenth-century Frenchman's vocabulary is very different from that of the seventh-century Chinaman's. But the advice they give is fundamentally similar. Conformity to the will of God, submission, docility to the leadings of the Holy Ghost - in practice, if not verbally, these are the same as conformity to the Perfect Way, refusing to have preferences and cherish opinions, keeping the eyes open so that dreams may cease and Truth reveal itself."
This is a short book, about 120 pages. It is one of those books that help you to KNOW God, rather than to know ABOUT God. Bless you on your journey.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Reveals how God can lead people in very different paths., April 8 2001
By 
A. Doug Floyd "pilgrim" (Louisville, TN United States) - See all my reviews
Some people are called to a life of pure faith where they will only know the darkness of God. Others are called to a life fo pure love where the will often experience God's presence. Caussade says that both paths can be equal before God. The challenge of following Christ is not to replicate another's experience but to allow the Holy Spirit to guide me. I learn to yield to God's divine will in each moment. This book should never be confused with quietism, which suggest I can do nothing but wait before God. Caussade suggests some are called to active lives and some are called to lives of stillness. We are all called to pursue the Lord by yielding to the SPirit in the present moment. I find this book an excellent companion to Martin Buber's I and Thou.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The true meaning of God's omnipresence, Nov. 19 2000
November 4, 2000
God's omnipresence can be easily misunderstood because it is often applied merely to the physical and material world. If He is omnipresent in a physical sense, then He must also be omnipresent in every circumstance of our lives, no matter how small. Thus, we can experience God merely by yielding to what life brings.
De Caussade, in this beautiful book (I am in my third reading), has introduced me to this "new" way of experiencing God: I now "see" Him everywhere. This view of God brings great comfort and assurance. I find myself struggling less with life, accepting things that I would once have found distasteful, accomplishing much more, and discovering many new blessings from God. If you long for a more settled, fruitful life this little book will soon become a favorite.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Direct and to the point..., Oct. 11 2000
By 
Amazon Customer "Chris Hudson" (San Antonio, TX, United States) - See all my reviews
This is a short little book that is easy to read, but it packs a powerful punch. The author gets right to the point, and reiterates his message again and again for different situations. This book will definitely change (for the better) the way you look at the day to day events of your life. Excellent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Direct and to the point..., Oct. 11 2000
By 
Amazon Customer "Chris Hudson" (San Antonio, TX, United States) - See all my reviews
This is a short little book that is easy to read, but it packs a powerful punch. The author gets right to the point, and reiterates his message again and again for different situations. This book will definitely change (for the better) the way you look at the day to day events of your life. Excellent.
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Abandonment to Divine Providence
Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre de Caussade (Paperback - May 19 2008)
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