Festooning Abandonment

Probably everyone has a certain book they regard as a mainstay of spiritual reading, something other than the Bible, something they know will always feed their spirit, will always have something “new” to say to them, regardless of how many times they read it. For me, that’s Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence, by Father J. P. de Caussade, S.J., written sometime in the early eighteenth century in France.

I’m sure there are multiple translations. My own edition, tattered now, is translated by Algar Thorold. Translation is important. Though they are likely all accurate enough, I have to say that the beauty of the prose, with its elegant precision, is part of the joy of reading it. I think it may be out of print—TAN, 1987—and I don’t know if other editions are quite so lovely.

It’s not my purpose to write a review of Abandonment (Not a theologian, I would not be so presumptuous as to attempt a review of a spiritual masterpiece), but to recommend another book—a book about the book—by the ever-readable Peter Kreeft, who is, apparently, also an admirer of Father de Cassaude: How to be Holy, from Ignatius. One subtitle is “A Festooning of Abandonment to Divine Providence.” Anyone who loves Father de Caussade’s book will appreciate Kreeft’s twentieth-century explications of it, which he calls a “festooning.”

Dena Hunt
Dena Hunt is the author of the award-winning historical novel Treason (Sophia Institute Press), and The Lion’s Heart (Full Quiver Press), as well as several short stories and reviews, online and in print, at Dappled Things, StAR, and The Pilgrim Journal. She also writes for FaithCatholic, a liturgical publication company. She is currently working on her third novel. She is the book review editor of St. Austin Review.

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