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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.

"God commands not impossibilities, but by commanding he suggests to you to do what you can, to ask for what is beyond your strength; and he helps you, that you may be able."
St Augustine

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"The more you know and the better you understand, the more severely will you be judged, unless your life is also the more holy. Do not be proud, therefore, because of your learning or skill. Rather, fear because of the talent given you."
Thomas á Kempis

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"Whoever wants to stand alone without the support of a master and guide will be like the tree that stands alone in a field without a proprietor. No matter how much the tree bears, passers-by will pick the fruit before it ripens. "
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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