God's providence and the devil's ta(i)le
Corinthians1_13_4to8 asked this follow-up question on 11/11/2000:
No, it's not necessary to send an attachment, dearest mcsperu, but I thank you all the same. I can't stop it from happening and there's no need for me to worry about something like that. If God wants something read or deleted, He'll see to it. Whichever way is His Will. Maybe that's overconfidence or presumption. I just don't see it as something to get worried about. I just have learned that when something happens, there is always a good reason, whether it has been revealed or not. People say the devil does it. Well, I am sure He has a part in lots of things, but first of all, God has to allow it. And, if it were not for the good of my soul and others, He would not allow it in the first place. Even things that seem bad or that some people see as punishments. Anyhow, my question is more one of curiosity.
Have you ever read Scott Hahn's book, "A Father Who Keeps His Promises - God's Covenant Love in the Scriptures?" It is really wonderful and he really brings into light God's Love and Faithfulness proven in Scripture and elsewhere and even where a lot of us just look in the OT and see Him as a mean judge or something. Many people have said that God of the OT changed from being mean and judgmental to being a God of Love in the NT. They see 2 different things. But, God is changeless. Scott really shows how this is the One and Same God and how He was just as loving in the OT as the NT.
Anyhow, that book confirmed my conviction that when we think things are punishments or are tempted to say "why God?" what we should really be saying is "thank you."
Do you speak the vosotros form in Spanish?
One time I gave a response about the Scriptural Support for belief in the Real Presence of the Eucharist. I didn't mark it for a FAQ question and later wanted to and it was gone as well. That one was a little upsetting because how it was said even surprised me because I hadn't really thought of it that way completely - a little, just now how it was explained after I re-read it after sending (and too late to make it a FAQ - at least I think it was) - and I didn't figure I could ever explain it that way again. But, I remember that I wasn't really explaining and I didn't need to worry about what to say and it was okay. If it needed to be said again, it would be. Have you ever read Blessed Mary of Agreda's "Mystical City of God?" That's one that got repeated twice and not just a few pages either - and word for word. I suppose that's why I haven't bothered with FAQs because I wanted to be able to be open to allow that each individual and unique and precious person gets a unique and individual answer. I figure if they didn't want a more personal approach, they would have searched the web or read a book or something less personal anyhow.
I really miss you and your answers when you are away. I understand though being a dial upper and getting the raised eyebrow ;-)
If I am not imposing on your time to answer questions and minutes dialed up, would you please share with me where you are from, what order and about yourself.
So much love to you,
And may the Lord make us do things so he can praise us too like He did concerning the widow!
You are quite right. Nothing happens without God willing it. I remember an former China missionary giving us a retreat for seminarians some 40 years ago – some things you don't forget – who presented us with a meditation on Mt 10, 30f. He looked at us and then took a good grip on his hair ripped some out. He said: "God knew about this because Scripture says: 30But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31"Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows!" Well, he had our attention!
May I suggest that God doesn't want everything what happens. We poor humans help ourselves saying that God respects our free will. So he allows sin, for instance. But faith tells us that he will take the sin and transform it into a blessing for the world the same way He has taken the murder of His Son and transformed it into our salvation. Every tiny event of history is provided so mankind be happy in His presence. So far so good.
There is something more and it's wonderful. God speaks not only to mankind or the world in general through the signs of time. He is actually talking to each and everyone through the events of our life may they be portentous or may they be anodyne. There are really no anodyne events because He is behind them but we consider them as such because only if there is something spectacular we pay attention. Now God has to hide His power and His glory in order to preserve our freedom because nobody sees God and goes on living. (Isn't it a wonderful thought that I will die not because my life ends but because I see God?). So in every event He wants to tell me something. The problem is that frequently I don't understand what He is telling me for two reasons: I don't look out for Him and I don't understand His idiom and if I understand it I don't get it because God doesn't repeat Himself. He makes everything new.
Regarding the first I have a story of a little boy who played hide and seek with his buddy. He found a very good place to hide and thought: "I will make him suffer a bit because he won't find me". After 20 minutes he came out of hiding in order to gloat. But they informed him that his buddy had gone home some 20 minutes ago. He run to his grandfather, a holy man, and told him crying with frustration: "Granddad, I have hidden myself so well but nobody has looked for me!" He was surprised by the reaction of his venerable Grandfather who began to cry too. "What is the matter?" "God says the same. I've hidden myself so well but nobody looks for me!"
The other reason is that we don't understand His way of speaking. It's like learning a new language. Do you know something about the Lectio Divina? It's like learning the idiom of God in order to understand what He wants to tell me in my life.
Now I come to the reason of this rambling. Not only does God allow everything for our good. He wants to communicate something specific through every event. So if something happens you have to ask why, or better, what for. This makes everything that happens the beginning of a dialogue between you and Him. The faithful of Israel have a good beginning for this dialogue: They bless the Lord for anything that happens. But then there should be additionally a discernment regarding what He's talking about. No, it's not a type of intuition. It can become that. But really it's some way of understanding where my personal history is pointing at this actual moment. Every day is then some kind of adventure because the Lord doesn't repeat Himself. That's why there is nothing anodyne or routine in the life of a Christian. So when you establish this kind of steady dialogue you come to something what the spiritual masters used to call "walking in the presence of God". It's something like the experience of the Russian Pilgrim. This is not a substitute for personal or official prayer. It's an additional enrichment.
Certainly it has its ups and downs. Santa Teresa de Jesus wrote that praying is sometimes like beginning from the start like learning the ABC once again.
Do you know why I write all this? I wanted to argue regarding your " If God wants something read or deleted, He'll see to it. Whichever way is His Will. Maybe that's overconfidence or presumption". I mean it's not like "it happened, God willed it so. May His name be blessed". I wanted to answer, "it depends". But then I saw that I had first to explain about discernment of your personal story in order to know what God wants through the occurrences. The discernment might be "let it go" and it might be "do something about it".
Then devil is in the Lord's employment and can do just so much as God and my free will permit him to do. So if you have a culture of death absorbed by many people it can become quite scary. Even governments, or functionaries of the ONU ir the UNESCO or the health organizations can promote this culture. So you see Mr. Luci gets some leeway. But never more than God allows.
Your comment about the same God of the OT and NT is the classic problem of Gnostics. Ireneus' Adversus Haereses is all about it. You see "nil novum sub luna – there is nothing new beneath the moon". Heresies surface again and again.
I have no possibility to read English books because I'm moving in a Spanish ambient. Only if there is an English book in the library of the seminars here I can read them.
In Latin America we use the "ustedes" form. The "vosotros" that's the way Spaniards talk. I wrote "nosotros" because I wanted to be included in that wish.
God bless you