“Providence” is a word that needs to be given a new signify because it has been forgotten or caricatured to such an extent. For many people, providence conjures up only a “palliative” for the ends of months that are a little difficult. Just as “irrigation” understated agricultural litters, the abundance in our society has finally freed man from believing in God: “Come on, sir, let’s get with it. You are not really going to trust this’ gentle dreamer’ identified Jesus, who asserts that you must not worry about anything, that God takes care of it? ”
To turn away from faith in providence, as soon as this word is blurted out, we hasten to parody it , not in a mean route, but simply by regurgitating the atmosphere of the times we are living in: “Do you still believe in a God who would determine in advance everything that will happen to you, without letting your liberty have any say in it? Do you still believe in a God who seems indifferent to evil and the endure of men? ” The weight of these parodies certainly assures them of a long career, but if we dare to allow Providence to speak for Himself, we will have some surprises, some good surprises!
God did not content Himself with creating the world in the way that one constructs something out of Legos and then leaves it: “Dear beasts, here is the Christmas present, have fun, and, above all, do not bother me; my divine position has ended! ” Certainly, in all instances, God “carries” His creation, but in His love, the Trinity “carries” us as part of a benevolent program: “All historical events unfolded according to the will or permission of divine Providence, and God reaches His the objectives set out in history.”
Certain people will favor this simpler formula to the more technological expres “Providential plan of God”: “God the Father has a personal plan of adore for “peoples lives”! ” The whole object of this volume resides in the response to this question: “Do I want to enter into this very concrete design of adoration that God has for my life through an abandonment that is confident and active? ” Unfortunately, our wounded unreflective minds often convey this false image of an active God presiding over the life of men from very high up and very far above. No, Providence implicates Himself in the smallest details of our lives: “The witness of Scripture is unanimous that the solicitude of divine providence is concrete and immediate; God cares for all, from the least things to the great occurrences of the world countries and of history, ” the Catechism of the Catholic Church( CCC) tells us( 303 ). If this is the case, what room and what great adore we can give to the smallest details of our lives! “Everything is so large-hearted in belief . . . . To pick up a pin out of love can convert a soul. What a mystery! ” Therese marvels.
Modern man, having removed God from “peoples lives”, seems to be more and more desperate in facing the history of this world, which appears to be more a government of disarray than a marvelous design derived from the hands of a “good God.” Today, it is difficult for many to affirm that God is the Lord of history. But “we firmly believe that God is master of the world and of its history”( CCC 314 ). Let us not be afraid to “proclaim the word . . . whether it is convenient or inconvenient”( 2 Tim. 4:2 ); let us exclaim this truth of faith, — lest, on the Judgment day, we be accused of not helping a society in danger of despair! The dogma of providence is a “truth to be lived out, ” a truth that changes life. Abandonment to the God of desire renews life-time by injecting it with an immense hope. It offers intending — perhaps the ultimate meaning of the history of the world and of our lives.
This discovery, or rediscovery, of a God who is very near men’s lives, has perhaps already allowed for the growth of the idea of providence. Now let us confront two difficulties who are often prevent us from abandoning ourselves to God: 1.) If God has a plan of enjoy for “peoples lives”, am I still free? 2.) How can I have confidence in this plan of God for my life when evil and suffer befall me?
This article is from Abandonment to God: The Way of Peace of St. Therese of Lisieux.
If God has a plan of enjoy, what happens to my liberty?
How does one reconcile a providential plan that God knows from all eternity — “the definite plan and foreknowledge of God”( Acts 2:23) — with a human freedom that is worthy of that identify — that is to say, amply free?
Let us leave aside the scenario of a providential design that is about “predestination.” In this scenario, God has so well defined things that certain people would be predestined from all eternity to be happy, whereas others would be predestined to experience eternal penalty, even before exercising their freedom. If this were the case, we would not be God’s friends( John 15:15) but instead His toys, on which this perverse tyrant would get away with every kind of impulses. No, God has a favorable plan for everyone because He is Love. This project amply includes and endlessly respects the course of carrying out our freedom: “God is the master of history. But despite that, He conceived it in such a way as to allow freedom to play its role.”
First& Secondary Causes
God is really the sovereign Master of His plan of enjoy and, to carry it out, He calls upon His creatures, who are “secondary causes.” “God is the first cause who are present in and through secondary causes”( CCC 308 ). Thus, the sunshine is a secondary cause, which allows for the conditions of human existence on earth. Through the act of procreation and the adore that they attest, parents are the secondary causes of their children. In this lane, they let the free love of God to show through.
Therese divulged about the witness of her parent in devotion: “Then we all went upstairs to say our night prayers together and the little Queen was alone near her King, having only to be addressed him is how the saints pray.” Let us going any further on. Even a disagreeable person can be a secondary cause when, through a biting remark, he teaches us to be healed of our pride!
We have a hard time thinking of God — who would act in man without limiting his freedom — as a First Cause, who would work through secondary causes.
God does not quash our liberty. We often impart this wounded eyesight of the omnipotence of God, who could only squash our poor, limited freedom like a bulldozer. Yes, God is omnipotent and capable of creating worlds! But His power is such that it can penetrate man’s liberty without ever assaulting it: “Do not think that you are drawn against your will; the will is drawn also by love and enjoy, ” Saint Augustine so excellently says in commenting on John 6:44. Not simply is our freedom not squashed by God’s, but it is also heightened to a divine dignity, since God establishes us co-workers( 1 Corinthians 3:9) in His benevolent plan.
God does not compete with our freedom. Nor is there competition between God and male like the game musical chairs, in which there is only one chair, and if God were to take it, guy would lose his freedom to sit down. No, God acts in man. The chair is one-hundred percent God’s and 100 percentage man’s. “God acts in every agent.” There is cooperation, but on two degrees; the secondary cause’s action cannot be put on the level of God, who is the First Cause. Thus, there was no need to take the fus to “catch God” acting in our lives, either directly or through secondary induces, for His action will always be “other” than human action, which we will not notice with our human eyes. So, if I choose to abandon myself to God, my freedom will not suffer from it. On the contrary, it will be enhanced!
If the monarch freedom of God constantly mingles with man’s freedom, let us not be astonished if the Bible or the saints seem to attribute everything that happens to them directly to God, while often not paying much attention to secondary makes: “The Holy Spirit, the principal author of Sacred Scripture, often attributes actions to God without mentioning any secondary makes. This is not a’ primitive mode of lecture, ’ but a profound course of echoing God’s primacy and absolute Lordship over history and the world.” It so happens that certain highly intellectual people look at the Scriptures or the words of the saints from on high, as if their language lacks a scientific rigour. It is this haughty opinion that has magnitudes in its eyes. It restricts reality to appearings while denying the One who homes it in human beings at all times. A saint genuinely deserves to be called an “illuminated one.” He is far from hovering in unreality. His eagle look allows him to pierce reality to the point of marking the providential hand of the Father behind what is visible.
God, Master of record, and guy, master of his sovereignty
Considering God and man’s freedom already tackles us with the mystery of evil. The freedom of creatures — men and fallen angels — is such that they can choose evil. How can God achieve His plan of love if His beings use their liberty to sin?
Man, who is perfectly free, even if he works to destroy God’s plan of love , nonetheless collaborates with it indirectly, since God is capable of mysteriously applying for a greater good the cruelty that is committed: “God is the master of history. But despite that, he conceived it in such a way as to let freedom play out the key role. So, it is possible for me to move away from His plan for me. . . . God, on the one hand, fully accepts freedom and, on the other hand, He is so great that He can transform los and destruction into a new beginning that even excels these and appears to be greater and better.”
Can we say the same thing about the energy-sapping work of the fallen angels — the demons? Yes, it is the paradox noted by Goethe in this description:[ Satan ], the one who ever wants evil and ever does good. The Devil and his ensemble destroy in vain, for their evil action is “integrated” into the mysterious programme of redemption. “Even with those who do not do what He craves, God does what He wants.” We must contemplate Christ the Conqueror to discover such astonishing perspectives!
This article is from a a section in Fr. Guibert’s book, Abandonment to God: The Way of Peace of St. Therese of Lisieux. It is available from Sophia Institute Press.
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