Divine Providence

Summary of Catechism paragraphs 302-24, 410-21:

  • The universality of sin throughout history gives rise to questions about God’s governance of the world, or His providence – that is, the way that He orders and guides the unfolding of His plan.
  • God is the Lord and Master of history, whose care extends to everything, from the smallest trivialities to the greatest world events.
  • But God grants His creatures the dignity of acting on their own; when creatures misuse their free will, and thereby sin, they inject evil into the world.
  • God never causes the evil brought about by sin.
  • God permits evil to occur because He has given His creatures freedom, but especially because He will act to derive a greater good from it.
  • Adam and Eve’s Fall is an example of this truth: God did not prevent their sin, but used it to work ultimately for His own purpose.
  • After our first parents sinned, God announced His plan for our salvation, and promised us a Savior.
  • By redeeming us, God will raise us to an even higher state than Adam and Eve enjoyed in the garden, enriching us in the end with far nobler blessings.
  • But this is not to minimize or gloss over the pain and suffering caused by the problem of evil in the world.
  • The only compelling response to this tragedy is Christ Himself, who willingly endured the extreme limit of suffering and death on the Cross, absorbing all of the world’s evil, to accomplish our redemption.

Live Your Faith

God’s providence is sometimes apparent in the workings of our own lives, even if we only recognize His action in hindsight. At other times, we may not grasp why God is permitting us, our loved ones, or innocent people around the world to suffer.

Whenever we feel overwhelmed, let us recall the ways that God has cared for us, and trust that He does so still, even if our limited vision cannot see it.