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The Sacrament of the Present Moment Paperback – December 8, 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

In this superb new translation of the celebrated spiritual classic of wisdom, hope, and inspiration, Jean-Pierre de Caussade offers guidance for daily living in communion with God. This exemplary devotional work summons readers to holiness, reveals ways to conquer self-love and pride, and points the way for experiencing each moment as a sacrament.

The author shows how God speaks to us through every moment of every day. He encourages a joyous, affirming, selfless abandonment to God. By entering into such active contemplation and facing ourselves honestly and openly, the author assures us, we can achieve the comfort and fulfillment of a life suffused with grace.

These timeless spiritual reflections probe the mystery of faith, illuminate the nature of authentic contemplation, and help us recognize and carry out God's purpose in our own lives. They stand as powerful testimony to de Caussade's conviction "that there is nothing easier, more ordinary, more available to all than saintliness."

About the Author

Jean-Pierre de Caussade was born in Toulouse, France, and was ordained a member of the Society of Jesus in 1708. In 1731, he was appointed spiritual director of the Jesuit retreat house in Nancy, where he undertook the spiritual direction of the Nuns of the Visitation. It is the notes of his addresses to the nuns that form this book.

Kitty Muggeridge, the wife of author and journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, is well-known as a translator.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 103 pages
  • Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco; Reissue edition (December 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060618116
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060618117
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Originally entitled SELF-ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE, Jean Pierre Caussade's brief, eighteenth-century, mystical-masterpiece consists of a series of enlightening lectures--on the pains and pleasures of surrenduring one's will to God--that were first presented as spiritual direction to the Visitation nuns of Nancy, France, before finally being organized into this charming treatise on saintliness.
Much like the earlier, prayerful guidance offered through the meditations of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, Father Caussade's study hails the virtue of 'utter self-surrender to the divine Center' as a requisite both to the authentic spiritual journey and true faith, but also as a prerequisite to conquering one's passions and to living a committed, religious life.
The work contains enough reasoning to stand on its own as a spiritual guide, but fulfills its purpose more splendidly as a theological supplement to those engaged in the actual practice of mystical prayer. In this capacity, it makes a faithful companion to Father Thomas Keating's book on the proper method of Christian contemplation called OPEN MIND OPEN HEART.
For those souls bold enough to embark upon 'the road less travelled' it serves as an existential map to the highways and byways of orison--pointing the surest direction to the Eternal City--while at the same time faithfully highlighting many important psychological and philosophical landmarks along the way. Each chapter acts as its own spiritual beacon--illuminating vast portions of the divine path--allowing one to sail further along currents of stillness, into deeper oceans of interior-silence, faster!
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Each moment is another opportunity to surrender your heart to God. The Holy Spirit is ever about and within us, and time is simply the unfolding of His grace. The Sacrament of the Present Moment.

As another Jesuit, Fr. G.M. Hopkins, once wrote: "The world is charged with the Grandeur of God: it shines out like shining from shook foil, it gathers to a greatness like the ooze of oil crushed.."

This book is a manifesto reminding us that it is God in whom we live & move and have our being. He is intimately with us always, unto all time. Peace, then. Cultivate awareness of His presence. You cannot be harmed. Neither death nor sin can separate us from the love of God. Only our eternal refusal to seek His mercy & embrace Him can do that.

It's my theologumena that hell is simply the inescapable flame of that Love which the damned desperately wish to flee.

Some might catch a whiff of quietism in this book. It's true that the Quietists were all the rage in France at the time, but it's unfair to tar Fr. Caussade with that brush. Because the essence of his teaching is cooperation with grace, infused action on behalf of Christ. Even if it is humble, even if you don't understand what the point of it is, even if it seems futile or inconsequential. If it is good, even the simplest things are sweet in the eyes of God.

For it is not the act that makes us holy, but His grace. The act is is simply our little gift to God, proof of our love for Him. Like a child doing something simple & inconsequential for her parent, anything we can do is likewise pleasing to Him. This, as I'm sure you know, is also the teaching of our Little Flower, Dear St. Therese, one of the most luminous saints of Carmel, and Doctor of the Church.
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Format: Paperback
This book, translated by Katie Muggeridge, and with an introduction by Richard J. Foster, is an easy read, and it advocates a practice that I found simple and natural, though not always easy. Christians from all traditions should be able to engage his message.

Richard Foster sums it up well in the introduction when he says, "Cutting through the maze of religious obligations that so often encrust the gospel, he declared, `There remains one single duty. It is to keep one's gaze fixed on the master one has chosen and to be constantly listening so as to understand and hear and immediately obey his will.' And again, `the only condition necessary for this state of self-surrender is the present moment in which the soul, light as a feather, fluid as water, innocent as a child, responds to every movement of grace like a floating balloon." (p. xiii-xiv)

This is what "The Sacrament of the Present Moment" is all about. Implied is a sense of reflection, holy listening, of being aware of God's will and guidance. As we are aware of this will, we then surrender ourselves to it. Hence, the earlier title, "Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence." We are engaging God in the process, and he is engaging us. In so doing, we live in faith, abide in His love, and become like Him.

The other aspect of de Caussade's message that I liked is that it can be applied by anyone, not just monastic. He sees God's providence in our duties, our trials, or joys. He also realizes that it goes beyond formulas - that God's will often leads us to the unexpected. This mitigates against the risk of turning the contemplative life and spiritual disciplines into another list of "do's and don'ts."

I found this book to be life-changing, and is rapidly becoming one of my all-time favorites.
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