Engagement, Not Escapism

The Holiness of the Here and Now – Part 65

Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, “Engage in business until I come.”

–Luke 19:13 (ESV)

The souls that God raises to the state of abandonment may be more passive than active, but they will never be free from all activity. After all, the state of abandonment is just the virtue of abandonment exercised more habitually and with more maturity. Like the virtue, the state consists of two kinds of duties: the active accomplishment of the divine will, and the passive acceptance of all that it he is pleased to send your way.

–Jean Pierre de Caussade

Luke 19:13, quoted above, is part of a parable about man who gave money, and, therefore, responsibility, to his servants while he was going to be out of town. According to Luke 19:11, Jesus told this parable because people “supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately.” He was preparing his disciples for the time after he ascended into heaven, as they waited for him to return. Therefore, we can here an echo of Jesus in the command of the man in the parable: “Engage in business until I come.”

In a similar manner, Jean Pierre de Caussade warns us that we “will never be free from all activity,” even as we are raised into a higher “state of abandonment.” As this quote from de Caussade reminds us, abandonment consists of two kinds of faithfulness: active and passive. And while the habit of prayer and contemplation increases in your life, you still live in this world, Jesus has not yet returned, and there will always be much “business” to be engaged in.

The path of abandonment is not about escaping from this world. Even as your interests become more spiritual than material, you remain engaged in the world around you. In fact, you become more fully engaged in the world, because you are more fully present in the here and now.

The Holiness of the Here and Now is a daily devotional that I am currently working on. When I am finished, there will be 365 chapters like the one above. Meanwhile, I am sharing this work-in-progress. Like the Facebook page to see content like this in your feed.