Everything is a Source of Enrichment

In his book, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, about which I’ve written before, James Martin quotes Jean-Pierre de Caussade’s statement that

Those who have abandoned themselves to God always lead mysterious lives and receive from God exceptional and miraculous gifts by means of the most ordinary, natural and chance experiences in which there appears to be nothing unusual. The simplest sermon, the most banal conversations, the least erudite books become sources of knowledge and wisdom to these souls by virtue of God’s purpose. This is why they carefully pick up the crumbs which clever minds tread underfoot, for to them everything is precious and a source of enrichment.

I remember reacting to the statement when I read it in Martin’s book, and I came across it again yesterday, when it appeared in my e-mail inbox as that day’s Silent Insight meditation for the day.

I think the reason the statement strikes me so much is that, even though I’ve experienced the truth of it, there are times when I ignore it.

There have been so many times when I’ve learned something from the most unexpected sources. A chance comment in a blog post written by a 12-year old. A single image in an otherwise pedestrian sermon. A word or phrase in an article I was skimming through. If we are open and humble, we can indeed “pick up the crumbs” anywhere.

Nonetheless, I know that there are times when I react with the judgment implicit in “Can anything good come out of Nazareth.” Where I don’t hear something because I’ve pre-judged the source or that I just don’t notice something.

If we truly believe we can find God in all things, we will be open to all of the things and people God will use to bring us to greater love and wisdom. I pray for greater openness and humility so I may pick up all the crumbs that are left there for me.


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