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22. The Providence of God

1. God, the all-knowing and all-wise, thoroughly understands his creation and directs it with wisest purpose. Creatures are made to tend to God as to their last end, their ultimate goal. God's plan for creatures to attain that purpose is called his providence. God acts to carry out the plan of providence by his divine government.

2. Since all positive being is from God, everything has a place in God's providence. And this in no mere general way, but in particular, in individual, down to the last and least detail of being and activity.

3. In applying his providence, God is the primary cause of government. God uses creatures as means or secondary causes in governing. But providence itself involves no means or medium. Providence itself is in God and of God and one with his essence.

4. Providence disposes that secondary causes should act according to the nature or working essence God gives them: some act by necessity (as a fire necessarily acts to consume dry paper that is cast into it) and some contingently (as a seed, to produce a plant, is contingent or dependent upon sufficient and suitable soil, proper depth, sufficient light, heat, and moisture). And man's free acts are contingent upon man's choice. Providence does not impose necessity upon contingently operating causes, nor does it defeat or hamper the action of man's freewill.

"Whom do you seek, friend, if you seek not God? Seek him, find him, cleave to him; bind your will to his with bands of steel and you will live always at peace in this life and in the next."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"God gives us some things, as the beginning of faith, even when we do not pray. Other things, such as perseverance, he has only provided for those who pray."
St Augustine

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"God has no need of men."
St Philip Neri

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