Somewhere on your
site you refer to Jean-Pierre de Caussade’s book
The Joy of Full Surrender and
say that it’s close to Quietism. To me, it seems that Caussade is talking about God’s
mercy. So can you explain the difference between Quietism and the Catholic emphasis on
uietism holds out the belief that we are
all on a path to God, and that even sin can be a part of that journey. Therefore, the
Quietists say, if we open ourselves to being led by the Holy Spirit in all things, we can
get to God if we abandon ourselves to everything and not worry about sin.
The premise of God’s mercy begins with the
fact that God’s truth is behind everything, even lies, because without truth lies could
not exist. So even when we believe in lies we are still unconsciously seeking God’s
truth. Still, in the fullness of reality, passively “seeking” God in the midst of human
experience is not sufficient for our salvation. God is always asking us engage actively
with life so as to “see” lies—and sin—as fraud, and, in seeing them as such, to
renounce them; then, with sorrow and contrition, we can turn to God in the fullness of
truth, admitting that in our sins we were living lies. Thus, aided with the mercy of
divine grace, we can surrender to God’s will and repair the damage of our sins by living
prayerful lives of faith and good works thereafter.
Accordingly, a huge gulf separates blind
abandonment to anything and surrender to God’s will. But, as with many
theological concepts, a “huge gulf” in spirit is more often than not a “fine line” in
practice. And there’s the problem with Quietism: a fine line is very easy to step over,
but the consequences of that little step can be huge.