Fr. Jean Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751) was a French Jesuit priest, spiritual director, and theologian. He is to my mind one of the greatest spiritual geniuses of his age (and largely unknown).
Caussade's major work is often translated into English as The Sacrament of the Present Moment. The more literal translation from the French would be Abandonment to Divine Providence (a title I prefer in some ways). There is a free online copy of the text from Christian Classics Ethereal Library here.
I bring him up because I've been reflecting of late on whether Caussade is the unknown godfather (or maybe great-grandfather) of various movements known as evolutionary spirituality. In that spiritual school there is something known as the Creative Impulse, also known as the Evolutionary Impulse or the God Impulse. This is a moment to moment impulse or desire that is the creative moment of life.
Here is a quotation I found from Caussade writing in the year 1730s! It comes from the first portion of Abandonment to Divine Providence--Caussade is here speaking in the past tense, arguing that in the former times people were more spiritual than they were in his day (my bold emphasis):
Then, for those who led a spiritual life, each moment brought some duty to be faithfully accomplished. Their whole attention was thus concentrated consecutively like a hand that marks the hours which, at each moment, traverses the space allotted to it. Their minds, incessantly animated by the impulsion of divine grace, turned imperceptibly to each new duty that presented itself by the permission of God at different hours of the day.
There is that word impulse (impulsion). Caussade is keying on on the awakening of the will. In each moment, Caussade says, we have an implicit understanding of what the will for that moment for us is. Our spiritual life is simply to follow that impulsion with joy and love. Caussade merges beautifully a sense of the awakened heart and the awakened will together.
By Providence Caussade means that if we all listen to this impulse within us and act on it that there is a guiding intelligence or higher wisdom (Providence) at work. In so doing we become softer, clearer, more full of light and love but also stronger, more mature. Each moment becomes very precious--the sacrament of the present moment.
The impulse does not need to be highly sophisticated--in fact it very often is not. It might be the creativity of loving a child, listening to a friend, carrying for someone hurting, sitting in grateful silence. The path is surrender (or abandonment) to that providential impulsion.