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Our Role In Divine Providence

Do you remember the definition of God from your childhood religion class?  The definition was simple and concise: an infinitely perfect Supreme Being who created all things and keeps them in existence.  Yes, he not only created us, but continually keeps us in existence.

Although most people acknowledge God as the creator of mankind, they don’t give much thought to how He continually exercises His creative power through His divine providence.  What is divine providence?  As it applies to you and me, it is the fulfillment of God’s eternal plan and the carrying out of that plan by His loving rule and governance over us.

There are three classifications of providence: (1) General Providence, (2) Special Providence, and (3) Very Special Providence.  General Providence extends to all creatures and creation.  Special Providence extends to all rational beings – angels and humans.  Very Special Providence extends to rational beings that are pre destined to be saved.

There are two different kinds of providence that can be bestowed upon us: (1) Immediate Providence, which comes directly from God in the form of inspiration, enlightenment, or action, and (2) Mediate Providence, which comes to us through one or more other people (intermediaries).

Although most of us usually pray for Immediate Providence, the primary way God chooses to extend His providence to us is mediately – through other people.  We all play a critical role in God’s Mediate Providence.

When we fail to cooperate as God’s intermediaries, we thwart Divine Providence for ourselves and for the individuals we come into contact with.  Such a failure can be devastating to God’s plan for others because it deprives them of the assistance, guidance, knowledge, influence, wisdom, care, inspiration, and/or protection that God planned for them.  Unless God chooses to perform a miracle, the mediate providence that was intended to pass through us is forever lost.  One example of this is commonly seen when children are deprived of the mediate providence of their parents.

There is nothing that is given to us by God that is intended to be kept and possessed only by us.  Every grace and gift that God bestows upon us is intended to be shared with others.

The infinitely perfect Supreme Being who created you and me gave us the power and the responsibility to cooperate with Him in the fulfillment of His eternal plan and the salvation of others.  We need to keep that in the forefront of our minds.

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4 Responses to “Our Role In Divine Providence”

  1. Sr Roberta Houlihan, CSJ Says:

    Another Gem, Harry! Thank you! Blessings – Sister Roberta

  2. marcia snyder Says:

    Dear Harry, i enjoy your writings so much! However, I don’t know what very special providence means when you say “rational beings that are pre destined to be saved”. Would you explain, please? Thank you for all the insight you give us. Marcia Snyder

  3. Harry Says:


    There are certain individuals who are chosen by God to receive very special graces – individuals whom God has already foreseen will be saved. Two examples are the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. From all eternity, God foresaw that they would be saved and granted them very special graces.

    In modern times, I believe that Pope John Paul, II and Mother Teresa were both predestined to be saved. It was obvious to anyone who paid attention that they received very special graces from God.

    Those who are predestined to be saved not only receive very special graces, but pay a heavy price in hardship and suffering. There are demands made upon them by God that are not made on most others. The individuals who God showers with special graces also have to endure special trials.

    Predestination is a concept that we do not have the ability or capacity to fully understand. Here’s what Fr. John Hardon said about predestination: “The main difficulty in the doctrine of predestination is whether God’s eternal decision has been taken with or without consideration of human freedom. Catholic teaching holds that predestination by God does not deny the human free will. Numerous theories have been offered on how to reconcile the two, but all admit with St. Paul (Romans 11:33) that predestination is an unfathomable mystery.”

    I hope this answers your question.

    Take care,


  4. marcia snyder Says:

    Dear Harry, Thank you for the explanation. I understand better now. It truly is a mystery. Bless you for your dedication and service to our Lord. Marcia Snyder

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