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The Synthesis, by RG Martin Volume VII

Psychological Theories, Spirituality Ideas, and The Theory of Everything

Volume VII is the final volume of this seven volume work that gives the reader the philosophical and scientific foundation of some of the main psychological theories of our time.  The Synthesis then gives a casual review of five of the major psychological theories and integrates these theories with insights from the authoritative spiritual leaders of different spiritual disciplines.  Finally, in this volume, The Synthesis gives Existential Eddie’s Theory of Everything.  That is, the synthesis of the evolution of our philosophical, scientific, psychological, and spiritual ideas.  You don’t want to miss this.

Below is an excerpt from Volume VII:

Jean Pierre DeCaussade and the duty of the present moment

Another ordinary person who happened to put his finger on the pulse of universal truth was an unknown French Jesuit priest named Jean Paul DeCaussade (1675–1751). He wrote a short book called Abandonment to Divine Providence (commonly called Abandonment).

History

Interestingly, DeCaussade didn’t even write his book! DeCaussade was a spiritual director for a group of cloistered nuns in Nice, France, from 1733 to 1740. The sisters took notes on his talks, read his letters, and put DeCaussade’s ideas into practice. After he died, the sisters compiled and edited these notes and published the book in 1861. It instantly became popular in France and eventually became a classic in Catholic spiritual literature. Many of his ideas are embedded in the currently popular psychological paradigm of mindfulness.

The Little Flower 

There is an interesting story involving DeCaussade and his book. There is a good chance that a man, Louis Martin, in Lisieux, France, read Abandonment in the 1870s. It was a popular book during his lifetime and Martin was an educated person who was interested in Catholic spirituality. Other evidence that Martin read the book is that his youngest daughter, Theresa, went into a cloistered convent in Lisieux, at the age of 15, and put DeCaussade’s ideas into practice, even though she may not have read the book herself. She may have just experienced her father practicing DeCaussade’s ideas. In her short life, she made DeCaussade’s ideas historically concrete. She called her practice “The Little Way.”

Theresa died of tuberculosis age the age of 24. But before she died, the Mother Superior of her convent—who was also Theresa’s sister—asked her to write her autobiography. In the last stages of dying, and going through a dark night of the soul, Theresa just whipped out the book, spontaneously writing her thoughts openly and honestly with virtually no editing.

In the book, she stated that she was glad she always wanted to be a saint, because she knew she could have been the worst of criminals. Going through the dark night of the soul and having no spiritual consolation for months, she understood and empathized with atheists. She said she didn’t write what she believed but rather what she wanted to believe. Theresa seemed to have deep insight into her own personality, and she profoundly accepted her whole being, both the sunshine parts and the shadows. À la Horney, Theresa was an example of the importance of being an authentic person.

Her book, The Story of a Soul, which was published after her death, became an instant bestseller in the early 1900s. It eventually became a spiritual classic. Theresa was canonized as a saint in one of the shortest periods of Catholic history. Within a generation, statues of her—The Little Flower—were in hundreds of churches throughout the world. Theresa was also the main theological influence in the Catholic Church’s Vatican II in the 1960s, when the Church opened its windows to allow 400 years of history to blow in, after she had shut the windows in the 1500s to defend against the Reformation.

In the 1980s, the Church awarded Theresa the title of “Doctor of the Church,” which put her on the same theological level as Catholic heavyweights in spiritual theory such as Augustine, Aquinas, John of the Cross, Paul, and Theresa of Avila.

Theresa’s theology was simple: “God is very satisfied with those who do little things with great love.”

Not bad for a woman with no formal higher education, who lived all her adult years in a cloistered convent, and who died at the age of 24!

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