About the Author
Jean Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751) was a French Jesuit priest and writer known for his work Abandonment to Divine Providence (also translated as The Sacrament of the Present Moment) and his posthumously-published letters of instruction to the Nuns of the Visitation at Nancy, where he was spiritual director from 1733-1740, although he continued to write the sisters after leaving Nancy. While he is best known for his work with the sisters, he also spent years as preacher in southern and central France, as a college rector (at Perpignan and at Albi), and as the director of theological students at the Jesuit house in Toulouse. Caussade is remembered for, among other things, his belief that the present moment is a sacrament from God and that self-abandonment to it and its needs is a holy state - a belief which, at first glance, would appear to be heretical relative to Catholic dogma. In fact, because of this fear (especially with the Church's condemnation of the Quietist movement), Caussade's instructions to the sisters were kept unpublished until 1861, and even then they were edited (by fellow Jesuit Henri Ramière) to protect them from charges of Quietism. A more authoritative version of these notes was published only in 1966. It is clear in his writings that he is aware of the Quietists and that he rejects their perspective. Writers such as Alan Watts have found in Caussade an Occidental, Christian-theological analogue to the Eastern religion of Mahayana Buddhism, particularly Zen Buddhism.
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