I was at a fund-raiser for Providence Clinic last Sunday evening and for some reason I’ve been thinking about the meaning of God’s providence ever since.
God’s providence is mysterious, for sure. But is it cold or fickle? Or is God mostly uninvolved like the Enlightened Deists say. It’s all up to us, or politics, or economics. So God hasn’t much to say about little Providence Clinic.
Yet, according to Catherine of Siena’s Dialogue on Divine Providence, God is more than just an absentee land lord.
“The eternal Father, indescribably kind and tender, turned his eye to this soul and spoke to her:
‘O dearest daughter, I have determined to show my mercy and loving kindness to the world, and I choose to provide human beings with all that is good. But they, ignorant, turns into a death-giving thing what I gave in order to give them life…Still I go on providing. So I want you to know: whatever I give to human beings, I do it out of my great providence.
‘So it was that when, by my providence, I created human beings, I looked into myself and fell in love with the beauty of the creatures I had made – for it had pleased me, in my providence, to create human beings in my own image and likeness.
‘Moreover, I gave them memory, to remember the good things I had done for them and to share in my own power, the power of the eternal Father.
‘Moreover, I gave them intellect, so that, seeing the wisdom of my Son, they could recognize and understand my own will; for I am the giver of all graces and I give them with a burning fatherly love.
‘Moreover, I gave them the desire to love, sharing in the tenderness of the Holy Spirit, so that they might love the things that they knew and saw.
‘But my kind providence did all this solely that they might be able to understand me and enjoy me, rejoicing in my vision for all eternity. And as I have told you elsewhere, the disobedience of your first parent Adam closed heaven to you – and from that disobedience came all evil through the whole world.
‘To relieve human beings of the death that his own disobedience had brought, I tenderly and providently gave you my only-begotten Son to heal you and bring satisfaction for your needs. I gave him the task of being supremely obedient, to free the human race of the poison that your first parent’s disobedience had spread throughout the world. Falling in love, as it were, with his task, and truly obedient, he hurried to a shameful death on the most holy Cross. By his most holy death he gave you life: not human life this time, but with the strength of his divinity.’”