by Father Lasance, Peace, Not as the World Gives
THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD
Not content with offering Himself to us as our last end, God, though respecting our free will, leads us by the hand to that blessed goal. His providence has accompanied us through all the paths of life until this very moment.
Nothing in the world is abandoned to the caprice of chance. Nothing is done except in the sight of God. Being infinite in His knowledge as in His other attributes, God sees everything. “Neither is there any creature invisible in His sight: but all things are open to His eyes” (Heb. iv. 13).
This is a terrible thought for the sinner who offends Thee, O God, for Thou art the sure witness of the wickedness to which he abandons himself; but it is most consoling for the faithful soul whose trials Thou seest, whose sacrifices Thou reckonest, whose cries and prayers Thou hearest.
Nothing is done except by the permission of God. To judge things superficially, it would seem that God is only an idle spectator of the events in the world. His hand is hidden.
Except in some extraordinary circumstances, His activity in the world is not apparent. The power of His creatures appears to possess unrestrained sovereignty.
What makes the intervention of God in things here below even more difficult to perceive is that everything seems given over to the caprice of chance, to the sway of the passions, to the power of physical forces. In appearance, at least, confusion and disorder seem to rule.
Although hidden, the action of God is nonetheless real. While respecting the liberty of creatures, He rules it, directs its exercise, and limits it according to His own pleasure.
The wicked themselves, to whom God has given such astonishing power for evil, accomplish only what He allows them to do. God, while seeming to leave a free field to human activity, confines it within limits which it will never exceed.
Even when it goes astray and gives itself up to the greatest excesses, it is ever subordinated to the supreme will that governs it, against which it can do nothing; which says to it: “Thou shalt go no further” (Job xxviii.
This empire of God over human wills appears most striking in relation to the Church, which wicked men can attack, persecute, even seem to conquer. But they can never succeed in destroying it.
It is on this foundation that the Church places its unshaken confidence in the midst of strifes; and we know this confidence will not be confounded.
Nothing happens except in fulfillment of the providential plan of God. Since He is infinitely wise, God cannot do anything, cannot even admit anything useless or superfluous in His works.
With how much greater reason must He exclude anything that would be an obstacle to the ends that He has prescribed. So, everything in the world has its end, its usefulness, a reason for its existence.
Thus it is in the physical world, and it could not be otherwise in the moral world. Doubtless God does not will everything in the same way. He approves what is good; and, though tolerating evil, He forbids and condemns it.
But since He admits both in His divine plan, He must have found the way to make them both serve the ends that He wills to attain and to make even sin contribute to the beauty and harmony of the universe.
As we well know, in the government of the world God has no other purpose but to sanctify His elect on earth that He may glorify them eternally in heaven. Such is the end that everything realizes after its own manner, and this is why the Apostle could say very truly that everything cooperates for the good of those who love God. “And we know that to them that love God all things work together unto good” (Rom. viii. 23).
Thus, my God, Thou showest that Thou art at once infinitely wise and infinitely good. Infinitely wise, since, without willing evil, Thou hast found the secret of making it serve in the accomplishment of Thy adorable designs; infinitely good, since the end to which Thou dost subordinate everything has been inspired by Thy love for us.
Such is the solid foundation of the peace and joy that sustains the faithful soul amid the strifes and trials that fill our life here below. It is convinced that God, Who directs all, will know how to turn even the saddest trial to its advantage, and that the thorns on the way will some day become jewels in its crown.
“Pray, hope, and don’t worry.” – Padre Pio
“Sooner or later a man’s habitual thoughts come out in his life and character….” by Father Lasance, 1934, Holiness & Happiness
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