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Posted January 11, 2012

A Spiritual Reflection for Lent

Taken from: The Saints in Daily Christian Life

Romano Guardini
Chilton Books, Philadelphia, 1966. pp. 111

In our day the idea of a Saint appears to be undergoing a new and significant transformation. It seems that the notion of something exceptional or extravagant is no long necessarily involved in the meaning of the word saint.

The evidence for this view is multiform, but the best way to approach a complete understanding of it seems to be through the writing of an 18th century spiritual writer, Jean Pierre de Caussade, who wrote books of simple and vigorous meditation intended primarily for religious, but one of interest to the laity too, provided only they make the necessary transpositions.

In his main work, entitle, On Abandonment to Divine Providence, a Christian who wishes to become a saint asks the question: What kind of life must I lead? To this Caussade answers: "You must not make any particular plans, but do only what each hour, each minute demands of you. It is God Himself in His Providence who looks out for you. The road to sanctity does not follow a preconceived system of actions and exercises, but travels the very complicated fabric of life itself. Progress in the spiritual life does not consist so much in achievement, in actual accomplishment, as in a greater and greater purity of love with which you do at each moment what the situation demands.

Note that you must do what it really demands; not what selfish motives might desire, what personal preference or convenience or advantage or pleasure might dictate. It is the situation itself which speaks with the voice of God and which says "This is necessary, you must help this person, you must do this work, you must show patience under this trial . . .'"

To do all this, strictly, without excuses and without reservations and with no effort to reap anything by way of personal desire or to lessen or falsify things for the sake of escape --- that, say Caussade, leads to sanctity.