From: Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence
Nothing happens in the universe without God willing and allowing it. This statement must he taken absolutely of everything with the exception of sin. 'Nothing occurs by chance in the whole course of our lives' is the unanimous teaching of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, 'and God intervenes everywhere.'
From: The New Catholic DictionaryProvidence
(Latin: providere, to foresee, provide)
Adapting means to an end, God in His Wisdom ordering every event so that the purpose of creation may be realized, and, in particular providing for every human being the means of working out his destiny and of serving and glorifying his Creator, Ruler, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. Saint John Damascene calls it: "The will of God by which all things are ruled by right reason." It leaves no room for chance or for fate. It is the personal act of God in regard to man. It is the expression of His relation to us as Father. "For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things." (Matthew 6) It is our reason and motive for prayer, as taught by Christ in the "Our Father." It is God's hand leading us on, invisible especially in moments of trial and darkness, but visible, as Cardinal Newman says in Parochial Sermons I, when we can look back and account for the happenings that have influenced our lives and enabled us to go on in God's service. In volume V he says it is nearly the only doctrine held with real assent [approval] by the mass of religious Englishmen, which seems to be true generally of Christians who are not members of the Church Christ founded.
From: The Book of St. Matthew, Chapter 7
7 *Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you.
8 * For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.
9 *Or what man is there among you, of whom if his son shall ask bread, will he reach him a stone?
10 Or if he shall ask a fish, will he reach him a serpent?
11 If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more will your Father, who is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him?Ver. 7
After having preached these great and wonderful truths, after having commanded his apostles to keep themselves free from the vices of mankind, and make themselves like not to angels or archangels only, but to the Lord of all things; and not only observe justice themselves, but likewise to labour for the correction of others, lest they should be disheartened at these almost insurmountable difficulties: our Redeemer subjoins, Ask, and you shall receive, &c. When we offer our petitions to the Almighty, we must imitate the example of Solomon, who immediately obtained what he asked of the Lord, because he asked what he ought. Two things, therefore, are necessary to every prayer, that it be offered up with perseverance and fervour, and that it contain a lawful prayer. (St. Chrysostom, hom. xxiv.) --- The reasons why so many do not obtain the effects of their prayers, are,---1st. Because they ask for what is evil; and he that makes such a request, offers the Almighty an intolerable injury by wishing to make him, as it were, the author of evil: 2nd. Although what they ask be not evil, they seek it for an evil end. (St. James iv.): 3rd. Because they who pray, are themselves wicked; (St. John ix.) for God doth not hear sinners: 4th. Because they ask with no faith, or with faith weak and wavering: (St. James i.) 5th. Because although what we ask be good in itself, yet the Almighty refuses it, in order to grant us a greater good: 6th. Because God wishes us to persevere, as he declares in the parable of the friend asking bread, Luke, ch. ii.; and that we may esteem his gifts the more: 7th. We do not always receive what we beg, because, according to St. Augustine, (lib. ii, de Serm. Dom. et epis. 34, ad Paulinum) God often does not grant us what we petition for, that he may grant us something more useful and profitable. (Maldonatus)Ver. 8
. Whatever we ask necessary to salvation with humility, fervour, perseverance, and other due circumstances, we may be assured God will grant when it is best for us. If we do not obtain what we pray for, we must suppose it is not conducive to our salvation, in comparison of which all else is of little moment. (Haydock)Ver. 9
. Lest any one considering the great inequality between God and man, should despair of obtaining favours of God, and therefore should not dare to offer up his petitions, he immediately introduces this similitude of the Father; so that if we were on the point of despairing on account of our sins, from his fatherly tenderness we might still have hopes. (St. Thomas Aquinas)