Providence, Causes, and Humility

All existence and all good that things possess, whether they be of free will or of grace, have been given by the hand of God, who preserves it. Therefore, the soul recognizes that it is more possible to say that God is in them and works good in them than that they themselves do these things. It is not that they do not work, but that they are secondary causes, moved by God, the principal and universal Maker, from whom they have the power to work. Looking at them, the soul does not find value or support in the things themselves, but in the infinite Being that sustains them.
Saint John of Ávila


One thought on “Providence, Causes, and Humility

  1. I’m currently reading Richard Rohr’s ‘Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps’ in which he examines the 12 steps to recovery as used by Alcoholics Anonymous (and Celebrate Recovery, which is where I first encountered them) and equates man’s ‘addiction’ to sin with the more commonly-known addiction to substances. The first step is to admit that you are powerless – that your sin (or the hurt that has been caused by others) controls you, rather than you controlling it. The second step is to realise that you need God, there’s just no way to go about it alone, and the third is that you decide to turn your will, and your life, over to God: complete surrender.

    Reading the words above made me realise that what is described is the flip-side of the same process. No wonder Jesus calls us blessed when we’re weak or suffering. Knowing this makes it much easier to love people, I think, as well as to not be too hard on yourself. Also reminds me of St. Peter. Jesus told Peter he would disown Him, and he did, and he was in anguish as a result, but in the words at the end of the gospel of John, Jesus never even mentions Peter’s awful sin, He just tells Peter to never stop loving.

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