The Will of Divine Providence

 

These days, the most difficult thing I do each day is to take a quick tour around the web to face the latest kick in the gut delivered by our “Excellencies”, “Eminences” and especially our “Holy Father”. There is excellent reporting of the events which constitute this assault on the faith from the apostates in charge.  Mr. George Newmayr is doing a great job, (here and here) and so is Lifesite, here. And there are many others, all striving to bring us the truth about the events of this tragic papacy.

But all this news effects me in much the same way as I felt when I was 12 years old and two bullies took turns punching me in the stomach. Come to think of it, both bullies were Catholic “young ladies” for it was a Catholic boarding school. That feeling of sudden astonishment when when I realized that this sort of evil can happen just steps away from such a holy place as the Chapel, followed by the near-despair, I cried out in my prayers, “My God, where are You in all this? Father in heaven, why won’t you help me?” You see, in my young mind, I did not realize He was with me! I could not hear His sweet words, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”

Many readers have expressed the same sentiments. We all need to recall that Our Lord won the victory against satan by appearing to lose it. He embraced the will of the Father and today, He calls us to follow Him. Much of the following essay is drawn from the fine old classic, “Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence” by Father Jean Baptiste Saint-Jure and Saint Claude la Colombière. Be warned beforehand; there are some very hard truths in this.

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God is the author of every single thing that occurs in this world. Nothing happens unless God Himself, Who alone is true and perfect goodness and justice, wills it.  Now is a very good time to pause and consider this. We must understand that God could stop this whole torrent of iniquity from washing over us. But He does not. Why?

God must be obeyed. He has not been obeyed. Therefore, we must offer reparation in the deepest humility, the purest obedience possible. This reparation must be offered in every single aspect of our lives. We say that we cannot pray because we cannot concentrate and get distracted. We get distracted because we hold back, wilfully, from surrendering our wills completely to God.

Today, everyone wants to point a finger at someone else and there is certainly more than enough blame to go around, but this blaming is only one more distraction from our true task which is making reparation.  As long as we are criticising others, we are not working on our own task which is to offer all the sufferings we endure in the small humiliations and aggravations, the little-noticed trials we are subjected to each day. The submission we are forced into by our bosses, superiors, even those who work with us or under our authority, but we must nevertheless endure them.  The untold sacrifices we make to live in a manner that befits a true follower of Christ, a true child of the Immaculata.

When we fail to do this, and we all fail to do this in one way or another, whether it is holding resentment in our hearts to those who continue to treat us unjustly, or the festering anger over the corruption in the clergy, of their betrayal of the faith.  There is much pride in our resentment over the insulting spectacle that Pope Francis is making of the Church – our Church! If we are honest, we admit that it is humiliating to have a pope like Pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

We often say when evil occurs that God allows it by granting us free will, but the fact is that, as Saint-Jure reminds us:

“Nothing happens in the universe without God willing and allowing it. This statement must be taken absolutely of everything with the exception of sin. ‘Nothing occurs by chance in the whole course of our lives’ is the unanimous teaching of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, ‘and God intervenes everywhere.’ “

“I am the Lord”, He tells us Himself by the mouth of the prophet Isaias, “and there is none else. I form light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil. I, the Lord, do all these things.16 It is I who bring both death and life, I who inflict wounds and heal them”, He said to Moses.

Now, the evil spoken of is that of what we customarily call the  evils of life, that is, disasters, suffering, loss and death, but not, of course, the great evil of sin, for sin arises from the free will of man, who chooses to disobey God’s will. Although God has granted man free will, He could easily prevent the harmful results to the innocent victims, but allows this (harm) for His own ends, which are known only to Him. These ends are never anything other than good for God is omnipotent in His absolute goodness.  

“The Lord killeth and maketh alive”, it is written in the Canticle of Anna, the mother of Samuel, “He bringeth down to the tomb and He bringeth back again; the Lord maketh poor and maketh rich, he humbleth and he exalteth”… “Shall there be evil (disaster, affliction) in a city which the Lord hath not done?” asks the prophet Amos: “Good things and evil, life and death, poverty and riches are from God”,  Solomon proclaims. And so on in numerous other passages of Scripture.

Perhaps you will say that while this is true of certain necessary effects, like sickness, death, cold and heat, and other accidents due to natural causes which have no liberty of action, the same cannot be said in the case of things that result from the free will of man. For if, you will object, someone slanders me, robs me, strikes me, persecutes me, how can I attribute his conduct to the will of God who far from wishing me to be treated in such a manner, expressly forbids it? So the blame, you will conclude, can only be laid on the will of man, on his ignorance or malice.

This is the defense behind which we try to shelter from God and excuse our lack of courage and submission. It is quite useless for us to try and take advantage of this way of reasoning as an excuse for not surrendering to Providence. God Himself has refuted it and we must believe on His word that in events of this kind as in all others, nothing occurs except by His order and permission.

Let us see what the Scriptures say. He wishes to punish the murder and adultery committed by David and He expresses Himself as follows by the mouth of the prophet Nathan:

“Why therefore hast thou despised the word of the Lord, to do evil in my sight? Thou hast killed Urias the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. Therefore the sword shall never depart from thy house, because thou hast despised Me, and hast taken the wife of Urias the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the Lord: Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thy own house, and I will take thy wives before thy eyes and give them to thy neighbor and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly, but I will do this thing in the sight of all all Israel, and in the sight of the sun”.21

Later when the Jews by their iniquities had grievously offended Him and provoked His wrath, He said: “The Assyrian is the rod and the staff of My anger, and My indignation is in his hands. I will send him to the deceitful nation, and I will give him charge against the people of my wrath, to take away the spoils, and to lay hold on the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.”22

Could God more openly declare Himself to be responsible for the evils that Absalom caused his father and the King of Assyria the Jews? It would be easy to find other instances but these are enough. Let us conclude then with St. Augustine:

“All that happens to us in this world against our will (whether due to men or to other causes) happens to us only by the will of God, by the disposal of Providence, by His orders and under His guidance; and if from the frailty of our understanding we cannot grasp the reason for some event, let us attribute it to divine Providence, show Him respect by accepting it from His hand, believe firmly that He does not send it us without cause.”

Replying to the murmurs and complaints of the Jews who attributed their captivity and sufferings to misfortune and causes other than the will of God, the prophet Jeremias says to them:

“Who is he that hath commanded a thing to be done, when the Lord commandeth it not? Do not both evil and good proceed out of the mouth of the Highest? Why doth a living man murmur, a man suffering for his sins? Let us search our ways, and seek, and return to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts with our hands to the Lord in the heavens, saying, We have done wickedly and provoked Thee to wrath; therefore Thou art inexorable.”

Are not these words clear enough? We should take them to heart for our own good. Let us be careful to attribute everything to the will of God and believe that all is guided by His paternal hand.

HOW CAN GOD WILL OR ALLOW EVIL?

Saint-Jure explains that God’s motives are always and ufailingly both merciful and just and that the evils we experience in life are useful to bring us to a closer union with Him and purify us from the sins that prevent our progress towrds Him. He says, “God, as we have said, wishes to make you see your own faults, to humble you, deprive you of what you possess, in order to free you from vice and lead you to virtue; but this good and merciful design, which He could carry out in numerous other ways without any sin being involved, has nothing in common with the sin of the man who acts as His instrument. And in fact it is not this man’s evil intention or sin that causes you to suffer, humiliates or impoverishes you, but the loss of your well being, your good name or your possessions.

The sin harms only the person who is guilty of it. This is the way we ought to separate the good from the evil in events of this kind, and distinguish what God operates through men from what men add to the act by their own will.

The above excerpts are from the book, “Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence” by Father Jean Baptiste Saint-Jure and Saint Claude la Colombière. It is available in paperback from TAN Books here. Its is also available in Kindle by Catholic Way here.

Readers, we are being chastised by God. And this chastisement will intensify until we knuckle down and follow Our Lady’s requests for our own interior purification. It is humbling to think of the simple nature of her requests. Just rosaries said with love, doing our daily duties in a spirit of obedient reparation, small sacrifices, Masses of reparation. And one thing more, something I often overlook, she – and Our Lord Himself – want our love, both for them and for others. Not bitterness, not vituperation, certainly not hatred! You know very well, although I bet you, like me, often choose to overlook it: He demands that we love our enemies. If only we could accomplish that heroic act of the will to fervently pray for the conversion of our enemies, to pray for the grace of God to flood over them, for the Holy Ghost to enlighten their darkness that they may repent and be converted! How quickly the darkness and filth will disappear when this happens!

Part 2 of this series is: “Divine Providence, Part 2”

Related Posts: The Passion of Christ and His Bride” . and  The Figure of a Woman, anticipating 2017

Please, pray the Rosary – confound satan and those who serve him!

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!