Catholic Info

Traditional Catholic Faith => General Discussion => Topic started by: shin on July 09, 2013, 11:37:23 AM

Title: Trusting in Providence
Post by: shin on July 09, 2013, 11:37:23 AM
'THERE once lived a hermit, who in a remote cave passed day and night in God’s service. Not far from his cell there was a flock kept by a shepherd, who one day fell into a deep sleep, when a robber, seeing him careless, carried off his sheep. When the keeper awoke, he began to swear in good set terms that he had lost his sheep; and where they were gone to he knew not. But the lord of the flock bade him be put to death. This gave to the hermit great offence. “O heaven,” said he to himself, “seest thou this deed? The innocent suffers for the guilty: Why permittest thou such things? If thus injustice triumph, why do I remain here? I will again enter the world, and do as other men do.”

And so he left his hermitage, and went again into the world; but God willed not that he should be lost: an angel in the form of a man was sent to join him. And so, crossing the hermit’s path, he said to him, “Whither bound, my friend ?’’ “I go,” said he, “to yonder city.” “I will go with you,” replied the angel; “I am a messenger from heaven, come to be your companion on the way.”

So they walked on together to the city. When they had entered, they begged for the love of God harbourage during the night, at the house of a certain soldier, who received them cheerfully and entertained them nobly. The soldier had an only and most dear son lying in the cradle. After supper, their bed-chamber was sumptuously adorned for them; and the angel and the hermit went to rest. But about the middle of the night the angel rose, and strangled the sleeping infant. The hermit, horror-struck at what he witnessed, said within himself, “Never can this be an angel of God. The good soldier gave us everything that was necessary; he had but this poor innocent, and he is strangled.” Yet he was afraid to reprove him.

In the morning both arose and went forward to another city, in which they were honourably entertained at the house of one of the inhabitants. This person had a rich gold cup, which he highly valued; and of which, during the night, the angel robbed him. But still the hermit held his peace, for great was his fear.

On the morrow they went forward; and as they walked they came to a certain river, over which was a bridge. They went on the bridge, and about midway a poor pilgrim met them. “My friend,” said the angel to him, “show us the way to yonder city.” The pilgrim turned, and pointed with his finger to the road they were to take; but as he turned the angel seized him by the shoulders, and hurled him into the Stream below. At this the terror of the hermit became greater. “It is the devil,” he said to himself; “it is the devil, and no good angel! What evil had the poor man done that he should be drowned?”

He would now have gladly gone alone; but was afraid to speak his mind. About the hour of vespers they came to a city, in which they again sought shelter for the night; but the master of the house where they applied sharply refused it. “For the love of heaven,” said the angel, “give us shelter, lest we fall prey to the wolves.” The man pointed to a sty. “That,” said he, “has pigs in it; if it please you to lie there you may, but to no other place will I admit you.” “If we can do no better,” said the angel, “we must accept your ungracious offer.” They did so; and next morning the angel calling their host, said, “My friend, I give you this cup;” and he gave him the gold cup he had stolen. The hermit, more and more amazed at what he saw, said to himself, “Now I am sure this is the devil. The good man who received us with all kindness he despoiled, and now he gives the plunder to this fellow who refused us a lodging.”

Turning therefore to the angel, he cried, “I will travel with you no more. I commend you to God.” “Dear friend,” the angel said, “first hear me, and then go thy way.”

“When thou wert in thy hermitage, the owner of the flock unjustly put to death his servant. True it is he died innocently, and therefore was in a fit state to enter another world. God permitted him to be slain, foreseeing, that if he lived he would commit a sin, and die before repentance followed. But the guilty man who stole the sheep will suffer eternally; while the owner of the flock will repair, by alms and good works, that which he ignorantly committed. As for the son of the hospitable soldier whom I strangled in the cradle, know, that before the boy was born he performed numerous works of charity and mercy; but afterwards grew parsimonious and covetous in order to enrich the child, of which he was inordinately fond. This was the cause of its death; and now its distressed parent is again become a devout Christian. Then for the cup which I purloined from him who received us so kindly, know, that before the cup was made, there was not a more abstemious person in the world; but afterwards he took such pleasure in it, and drank from it so often, that he was intoxicated twice or thrice during the day.. I took away the cup, and he has returned to his former sobriety. Again I cast the pilgrim into the river; and know that he whom I drowned was a good Christian, but had he proceeded much further, he would have fallen into a mortal sin. Now he is saved, and reigns in celestial glory. Then, that I bestowed the cup upon the inhospitable citizen, know nothing is done without reason. He suffered us to occupy the swine-house and I gave him a valuable consideration. But he will hereafter reign in hell. Put a guard, therefore, on thy lips, and detract not from the Almighty. For He knoweth all things.”

The hermit, hearing this, fell at the feet of the angel and entreated pardon. He returned to his hermitage, and became a good and pious Christian.'

- Tales of the Monks (Gesta Romanorum)
Title: Trusting in Providence
Post by: poche on July 10, 2013, 05:48:23 AM
It happed that St. Anthony on a time was in prayer, and saw in a vision all the world full of snares and gins. Then cried St. Anthony and said: O good Lord, who may escape from these snares? And a voice said to him: Very humility shall escape them without more.

Title: Trusting in Providence
Post by: Renzo on July 10, 2013, 01:47:07 PM
Quote from: shin
'THERE once lived a hermit, who in a remote cave passed day and night in God’s service. Not far from his cell there was a flock kept by a shepherd, who one day fell into a deep sleep, when a robber, seeing him careless, carried off his sheep. When the keeper awoke, he began to swear in good set terms that he had lost his sheep; and where they were gone to he knew not. But the lord of the flock bade him be put to death. This gave to the hermit great offence. “O heaven,” said he to himself, “seest thou this deed? The innocent suffers for the guilty: Why permittest thou such things? If thus injustice triumph, why do I remain here? I will again enter the world, and do as other men do.”

And so he left his hermitage, and went again into the world; but God willed not that he should be lost: an angel in the form of a man was sent to join him. And so, crossing the hermit’s path, he said to him, “Whither bound, my friend ?’’ “I go,” said he, “to yonder city.” “I will go with you,” replied the angel; “I am a messenger from heaven, come to be your companion on the way.”

So they walked on together to the city. When they had entered, they begged for the love of God harbourage during the night, at the house of a certain soldier, who received them cheerfully and entertained them nobly. The soldier had an only and most dear son lying in the cradle. After supper, their bed-chamber was sumptuously adorned for them; and the angel and the hermit went to rest. But about the middle of the night the angel rose, and strangled the sleeping infant. The hermit, horror-struck at what he witnessed, said within himself, “Never can this be an angel of God. The good soldier gave us everything that was necessary; he had but this poor innocent, and he is strangled.” Yet he was afraid to reprove him.

In the morning both arose and went forward to another city, in which they were honourably entertained at the house of one of the inhabitants. This person had a rich gold cup, which he highly valued; and of which, during the night, the angel robbed him. But still the hermit held his peace, for great was his fear.

On the morrow they went forward; and as they walked they came to a certain river, over which was a bridge. They went on the bridge, and about midway a poor pilgrim met them. “My friend,” said the angel to him, “show us the way to yonder city.” The pilgrim turned, and pointed with his finger to the road they were to take; but as he turned the angel seized him by the shoulders, and hurled him into the Stream below. At this the terror of the hermit became greater. “It is the devil,” he said to himself; “it is the devil, and no good angel! What evil had the poor man done that he should be drowned?”

He would now have gladly gone alone; but was afraid to speak his mind. About the hour of vespers they came to a city, in which they again sought shelter for the night; but the master of the house where they applied sharply refused it. “For the love of heaven,” said the angel, “give us shelter, lest we fall prey to the wolves.” The man pointed to a sty. “That,” said he, “has pigs in it; if it please you to lie there you may, but to no other place will I admit you.” “If we can do no better,” said the angel, “we must accept your ungracious offer.” They did so; and next morning the angel calling their host, said, “My friend, I give you this cup;” and he gave him the gold cup he had stolen. The hermit, more and more amazed at what he saw, said to himself, “Now I am sure this is the devil. The good man who received us with all kindness he despoiled, and now he gives the plunder to this fellow who refused us a lodging.”

Turning therefore to the angel, he cried, “I will travel with you no more. I commend you to God.” “Dear friend,” the angel said, “first hear me, and then go thy way.”

“When thou wert in thy hermitage, the owner of the flock unjustly put to death his servant. True it is he died innocently, and therefore was in a fit state to enter another world. God permitted him to be slain, foreseeing, that if he lived he would commit a sin, and die before repentance followed. But the guilty man who stole the sheep will suffer eternally; while the owner of the flock will repair, by alms and good works, that which he ignorantly committed. As for the son of the hospitable soldier whom I strangled in the cradle, know, that before the boy was born he performed numerous works of charity and mercy; but afterwards grew parsimonious and covetous in order to enrich the child, of which he was inordinately fond. This was the cause of its death; and now its distressed parent is again become a devout Christian. Then for the cup which I purloined from him who received us so kindly, know, that before the cup was made, there was not a more abstemious person in the world; but afterwards he took such pleasure in it, and drank from it so often, that he was intoxicated twice or thrice during the day.. I took away the cup, and he has returned to his former sobriety. Again I cast the pilgrim into the river; and know that he whom I drowned was a good Christian, but had he proceeded much further, he would have fallen into a mortal sin. Now he is saved, and reigns in celestial glory. Then, that I bestowed the cup upon the inhospitable citizen, know nothing is done without reason. He suffered us to occupy the swine-house and I gave him a valuable consideration. But he will hereafter reign in hell. Put a guard, therefore, on thy lips, and detract not from the Almighty. For He knoweth all things.”

The hermit, hearing this, fell at the feet of the angel and entreated pardon. He returned to his hermitage, and became a good and pious Christian.'

- Tales of the Monks (Gesta Romanorum)



Thanks for posting that!  I need those kind of reminders.  
Title: Trusting in Providence
Post by: shin on July 10, 2013, 03:16:23 PM
So do I! :)
 
Deo gratias!

Title: Trusting in Providence
Post by: shin on July 11, 2013, 02:23:03 PM
'Nothing happens in the 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.'

I am the Lord, He tells us Himself by the mouth of the prophet Isaias, and there is none else. I form light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil. I, the Lord, do all these things.  It is I who bring both death and life, I who inflict wounds and heal them, He said to Moses. 'The Lord killeth and maketh alive, it is written in the Canticle of Anna, the mother of Samuel, He bringeth down to the tomb and He bringeth back again; the Lord maketh poor and maketh rich, he humbleth and he exalteth.  Shall there be evil (disaster, affliction) in a city which the Lord hath not done? asks the prophet Amos:  Good things and evil, life and death, poverty and riches are from God Solomon proclaims.   And so on in numerous other passages of Scripture.

Perhaps you will say that while this is true of certain necessary effects, like sickness, death, cold and heat, and other accidents due to natural causes which have no liberty of action, the same cannot be said in the case of things that result from the free will of man. For if, you will object, someone slanders me, robs me, strikes me, persecutes me, how can I attribute his conduct to the will of God who far from wishing me to be treated in such a manner, expressly forbids it? So the blame, you will conclude, can only be laid on the will of man, on his ignorance or malice. This is the defense behind which we try to shelter from God and excuse our lack of courage and submission.

It is quite useless for us to try and take advantage of this way of reasoning as an excuse for not surrendering to Providence. God Himself has refuted it and we must believe on His word that in events of this kind as in all others, nothing occurs except by His order and permission.

Let us see what the Scriptures say. He wishes to punish the murder and adultery committed by David and He expresses Himself as follows by the mouth of the prophet Nathan:  Why therefore hast thou despised the word of the Lord, to do evil in my sight? Thou hast killed Urias the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. Therefore the sword shall never depart from thy house, because thou hast despised me, and host taken the wife of Urias the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the Lord:  Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thy own house, and I will take thy wives before thy eyes and give them to thy neighbor and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly, but I will do this thing in the sight of all all Israel, and in the sight of the sun.

Later when the Jews by their iniquities had grievously offended Him and provoked His wrath, He says:  The Assyrian is the rod and the staff of my anger, and my indignation is in his hands. I will send him to the deceitful nation, and I will give him charge against the people of my wrath, to take away the spoils, and to lay hold on the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.

Could God more openly declare Himself to be responsible for the evils that Absalom caused his father and the King of Assyria the Jews? It would be easy to find other instances but these are enough. Let us conclude then with St. Augustine:  "All that happens to us in this world against our will (whether due to men or to other causes) happens to us only by the will of God, by the disposal of Providence, by His orders and under His guidance; and if from the frailty of our understanding we cannot grasp the reason for some event, let us attribute it to divine Providence, show Him respect by accepting it from His hand, believe firmly that He does not send it us without cause."

Replying to the murmurs and complaints of the Jews who attributed their captivity and sufferings to misfortune and causes other than the will of God, the prophet Jeremias says to them: Who is he that hath commanded a thing to be done, when the Lord commandeth it not? Do not both evil and good proceed out of the mouth of the Highest? Why doth a living man murmur, a man suffering for his sins? Let us search our ways, and seek, and return to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts with our hands to the Lord in the heavens, saying, We have done wickedly and provoked thee to wrath; therefore thou art inexorable.

Are not these words clear enough? We should take them to heart for our own good. Let us be careful to attribute everything to the will of God and believe that all is guided by His paternal hand.'

- Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence
Title: Trusting in Providence
Post by: poche on July 11, 2013, 11:41:05 PM
An Elder, "A man who keeps death before his eyes will at all times overcome his cowardliness."

Title: Trusting in Providence
Post by: ggreg on July 12, 2013, 07:38:30 AM
How does one distinguish between providence and bad luck?

It is not always obvious when one should trust and do nothing to correct their difficult circumstances and when one should fight to repair the damage or replace the loss.

If the fingers on your mouse hand get shattered broken in a freak vending machine accident is that God telling you to stay off the internet or just a weird accident?

If you cannot get a job or hold down a job, is that Providence telling you that God does not want you working at all, or working in the field you were in, or God, life, reality, suggesting that you need to learn to hold down a job and perhaps change your attitudes or ways of dealing with people around you?

Angels appearing to people and speaking to them make it clear what the will of God was.  In life, however, we don't typically hear voices from Heaven.
Title: Trusting in Providence
Post by: shin on July 12, 2013, 11:09:04 PM
PMed a reply.

+ Prayers.
Title: Trusting in Providence
Post by: Iuvenalis on July 12, 2013, 11:55:44 PM
It does seem tough to tell what s a 'sign' or His will and what is the work of man...

We dont usually get that lucky to have such clarity.
Title: Trusting in Providence
Post by: shin on July 13, 2013, 01:17:09 PM
Yes, you have to consider everything and weigh all factors not just what could be simple normal occurrences of runs of tough times, or some spiritual warfare.

More (and higher quality) prayer before anything that tends to go badly for you unusually is helpful.

Title: Trusting in Providence
Post by: shin on July 13, 2013, 01:18:30 PM
I wouldn't used the term 'luck' myself.
Title: Trusting in Providence
Post by: shin on July 14, 2013, 01:32:57 AM
Dear Father in Jesus Christ

May the peace of Jesus be with you! I have written to the Brother of the "quest" to remember me to the nuns of St. Catherine and to tell them I shall pray a lot for Sister Dominic, who has done so much for us. If you happen to see the Rev. Fr. Assistant again, give him my kindest regards, and thank him for all the interest he has taken in me. Do your best to sanctify the nuns of Fara, and ask them to pray for me, as I pray for them.

As for the Lent you are proposing to preach at Varallo, for the present I should say, leave it. Try rather to master your sermons and instructions, and you will do twice as much good afterwards. The wars are another reason for my saying no. My dear Father, don't go till all these troubles are over.

I really forget what our spiritual conference was about when we were last together. From what you say I think it must have been on the means I have tried to adopt of keeping myself in that peace of heart without which we are of no use to ourselves nor to anyone else. They are four.

The first is to be dead to the world, to creatures, to oneself, to all that is not God. We must keep our hearts so distangled from earthly things as to make no more account of what is not God or does not relate to Him than we would a grain of sand.

The second is to live in a state of absolute self-surrender in the hands of Divine Providence. We must look upon the events of each day, great or small, pleasant or disagreeable, as so many dispositions of this fatherly Providence, ordaining or allowing things to be as they are, being quite certain that all is for the best, and making for the glory of God and our own salvation.

The third is to love suffering, whether interior or exterior, to welcome abjection and scorn and the being cold-shouldered by men. Happiness in Heaven lies in joy; on earth, in suffering. When we find ourselves getting disgusted with sickness, with being thought little of, with trials, let us turn to Jesus immediately; His constant companions were contempt, sorrow, and the deepest poverty.

The fourth is not to undertake too much at a time, however good it may all be, but only what our ministry demands, and obedience. Above all never act in a hurry, impetuously, but calmly and quietly; a self-restraint ought to characterize our words and actions and our whole bearing.

I send you these rules as I wrote them out for myself in my Resolutions. I examine myself on them every day, and find that I've always failed in something. I hope you will profit by them better than I do. Pray for me.

Affectionately yours,

Fr. Leonard

[Sestri, A.D. 1745]

[Fr. Leonard is St. Leonard of Port Maurice, he is writing to Fr. John-Baptiste of Varallo, Vicar of the Convent of St. Bonaventure at Rome, and a Lector of Theology there.]

Title: Trusting in Providence
Post by: ggreg on July 14, 2013, 05:30:45 AM
Quote from: shin
Yes, you have to consider everything and weigh all factors not just what could be simple normal occurrences of runs of tough times, or some spiritual warfare.

More (and higher quality) prayer before anything that tends to go badly for you unusually is helpful.



Probabilistically virtually nothing falls outside normal occurrences.  An eclipse of the Sun appears on a given point on the earth about once in every 400 years, meaning in a human lifetime it is not normal but across millennia perfectly normal.  Comets have hit Jupiter in the past also but have not been observed doing so, hence scientists get excited and religious cults see some meaning or warning in it.

Most humans don't understand probability theory or chance, lacking the education or the data to be able to measure what falls outside normal, how much and why.

This is why buying lottery tickets is popular.  If I want to lose a few dollars I will just give it to a homeless person and save myself the bother of queuing.
Title: Trusting in Providence
Post by: shin on July 14, 2013, 12:45:07 PM
Ah, but giving money to homeless folks for the love of God is not a loss as it's multiplied to treasure in Heaven. :)

Title: Trusting in Providence
Post by: Jonah on July 14, 2013, 03:48:33 PM
Quote from: ggreg
How does one distinguish between providence and bad luck?


Since God preserves and governs all things, there is no such thing as bad luck.

Quote from: ggreg

If the fingers on your mouse hand get shattered broken in a freak vending machine accident is that God telling you to stay off the internet or just a weird accident?


It's not just a weird accident because it was willed or allowed by God, as was its material result. But is God telling you to stay off the internet by willing/allowing it to happen? I don't know. Is it always possible, or even profitable to know why? Or should we just resign and give no other thought about it, resigning to what Providence will bring as a consequence? I have all these questions myself and would appreciate thoughts about these things.

Quote from: ggreg

It is not always obvious when one should trust and do nothing to correct their difficult circumstances and when one should fight to repair the damage or replace the loss.


If you cannot get a job or hold down a job, is that Providence telling you that God does not want you working at all, or working in the field you were in, or God, life, reality, suggesting that you need to learn to hold down a job and perhaps change your attitudes or ways of dealing with people around you?


I have these questions myself.