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25. The Power of God

1. Power is an ability for doing. It is, in itself, a pure perfection; therefore it is in God formally, or as such, and eminently, as identified with the divine essence. The passive capacity to be acted upon (called potentiality) is an imperfection, and is not in God at all.

2. The power of God is one with his infinite essence, and is therefore infinite itself. God is infinite power.

3. That is to say, God is omnipotent or almighty. God can do all things. Sometimes it is foolishly asked whether God can do what is self-contradictory; for instance, it is asked whether God can make a square circle. Now, a contradictory thing is not a thing at all. It is a fiction in which two elements cancel each other and leave nothing. Thus a square circle is a circle that is not a circle; that is to say, it is nothing whatever. To ask whether God can make such a thing is to ask a meaningless question. To say that God cannot make a self-contradictory thing is not to limit God's power, but to declare his truth, for a self-contradictory thing is a self-annihilating lie. Similarly, to say that God cannot deceive is not to limit God's power, but to affirm his veracity.

4. Since there is no self-contradiction in God, and since objective self-contradiction is nothing at all, we see that God cannot make undone what is already done; that is, God cannot make the past not to have been.

5. God does all things with absolute freedom. God might make and do other things than those he actually makes and does. God's wisdom is manifest in all his works, but these works do not limit the divine wisdom itself, nor can their perfection exhaust the inexhaustible power of God. God's purpose in things could be achieved by some other plan and order of creation if God should so choose.

6. God might go on endlessly making better and better things, yet he is under no sort of compulsion to do so, for God is not subject to compulsion. What God makes is always admirably suited for the purpose it is meant to serve, and thus it is as worthy of infinite wisdom and power as a finite thing can be.

"Spiritual persons ought to be equally ready to experience sweetness and consolation in the things of God, or to suffer and keep their ground in drynesses of spirit and devotion, and for as long as God pleases, without their making any complaint about it."
St Philip Neri

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"Lord, take from me everything that hinders me from going to You. give me all that will lead me to You. Take me from myself and give me to Yourself."
St Nicholas Flue

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"It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not to look ahead where eternal joy abides. "
Thomas á Kempis

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