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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.

"There is nothing which gives greater security to our actions, or more effectually cuts the snares the devil lays for us, than to follow another person’s will, rather than our own, in doing good."
St Philip Neri

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"The one thing necessary which Jesus spoke of to Martha and Mary consists in hearing the word of God and living by it."
R. Garrigou-Lagrange, OP

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"Every man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars."
Thomas á Kempis

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