Chapter Three Confidence in God and Our Temporal Necessities
God Provides According to the Situation of Each One
Should we take these words literally and understand them in their most restricted sense?Will God give us only that which is strictly necessary: a piece of dry bread, a glass of water, a bit of cloth that our misery urgently requires? No, the heavenly Father does not treat His sons with avaricious frugality. To think thus would be to blaspheme against the Divine Goodness, and, if I may say so, to be ignorant of His ways. In the exercise of His providence, as well as in His created works, God indeed employs great prodigality.
When He spread the world out through space, He drew thousands of stars out of nothing. In the Milky Way, that immense region of luminous nights, is not every grain of sand a world?
When He feeds the birds, He invites them to the most opulent table of nature. He offers them the ear-filled corn, the grains of all kinds that mature on the plants, the fruits from the autumn woods, the seeds that the farmers scatter in the furrows. What a varied list going on to infinity for the nourishment of these humble little creatures!
When He created vegetation, with what grace did He decorate its flowers! He made a crown for them inlaid with precious jewels; He put fragrant perfumes in their chalices; He spun their petals of silk, so brilliant and delicate that the artifices of industry will never equal their beauty.
And, then, when it is a question of man, His masterpiece, the adoptive brother of the Word Incarnate, would not God show Himself to be even more generous?
Let us consider, then, as an indisputable truth, that Providence does provide abundantly for the temporal necessities of man.
Unquestionably, there will always be rich and poor on the earth. While some live in abundance, others must work and practice a wholesome economy. The heavenly Father, however, furnishes all with the means to live with a certain well-being according to the conditions in which He has placed them.
Let us return to the comparison that Jesus employs. God vested the lily splendidly with that white and perfumed garment required by its nature.
The violet was dressed more modestly; God gave it, however, that which fits its particular nature. And these two flowers blossom sweetly in the sun, lacking nothing that is necessary to them.
And so God acts with men. He puts some of them in the higher classes of society; and others He puts in less brilliant conditions; but to the one and to the other He nevertheless gives what is necessary for maintaining their positions in a dignified way.
An objection arises here in respect to the instability of social conditions. In the present crisis, is it not easier to fall than to rise or even to maintain oneself at the same social level?
Without a doubt. But Divine Providence distributes exactly the aid necessary for each one. For great evils He sends great remedies. That which economic catastrophes take from us, we can reacquire through our industry and our work. In those very rare cases in which our activity is rendered impossible, we have the right to hope for exceptional intervention from God.
Generally (at least this is the way I think), God does not bring about falls. He desires, on the contrary, that we develop ourselves, that we rise, that we grow with prudence. If, at times, He permits a decline in our social level, He does not wish this except as a manifestation of a posterior will, a will posterior to the action of our free will. More often than not, such a decline results from our own fault, either personal or hereditary. It is commonly a natural consequence of laziness, prodigality, or of various passions.
And even though a man has fallen, he can raise himself back up and, with the help of Providence, regain by his efforts the situation that he has lost.