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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.

"It is not God's will that we should abound in spiritual delights, but that in all things we should submit to his holy will."
Blessed Henry Suso

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"The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God's will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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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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