Jaded child of an artificial world, modern man has lost the capacity to be surprised. He cannot understand the importance of taking the time to pause, discover and admire the beauty of those realities not made by the hand of man. The wonders of nature and the stunning workings of grace leave him unmoved. He is unable to appreciate their munificence and harmony, which proclaim the perfections of God.
This incapacity to contemplate created beauty is for man an obstacle to grasping the splendor of order and to submitting his life to it. Such a regrettable deficiency has grave consequences, for although order is not an absolute to be idolized, it is nonetheless the required path to attain our end.
It belongs to Divine Providence to establish and maintain the order of the world. Thus, it is most important to know the end that Providence intends and the means that It has chosen to arrive at that end. This is necessary in order for us to be able to establish our souls in the praise and adoration of God, far from the habitual whining and hollow agitation of our times.
The only end of Providence is to manifest the inexhaustible goodness of God.
The ineffable riches of divine generosity are revealed in this world, even in spite of the foul torrent of our sins. Sin is not an obstacle to God in realizing His charitable designs towards us. Quite the contrary, it allows Him to manifest wonderfully His merciful power. Instead of retreating from His vain and sinful creatures, God inclines towards them and, by the grace of the redemptive Incarnation, invites them to become His children. The intrinsic malice of sin is overcome by the ineffable Divine Goodness that has not hesitated to sacrifice His Only-Begotten Son upon the infamous gibbet of the Cross.
Salvation is a gift, truly gratuitous - a fruit of the fatherly goodness of God sacrificing His Son to ransom sinners at a high price in order to bring them into His intimacy. The death of Christ on the Cross is the most beautiful and profound expression of the benevolent love of God for us. Is it possible to conceive a greater, truer, sweeter love than this? God manifests His immeasurable goodness by demanding the bloody sacrifice of His Son, and thus shows us how He draws good from evil: the betrayal by Judas, the abandonment by the Apostles, the denials of Peter, the hateful vindictiveness of the Pharisees led by the High Priest, the cowardice of Pilate, the cruelty of the soldiers, the torture of the Cross, and even our own sins - all these evils God - has permitted in order to manifest the love that His Son has for Him, repairing in this manner the supreme evil of sin.
Should we conclude that the offense against God has been more than repaid by the offering of the life of Christ on Calvary, and that, therefore, every man is already saved? It is today fashionable to pretend so. Wouldn't it be logical to conclude that, as sin entered into the world by the fault of one man, so redemption is definitively acquired for all by the sacrifice of only one man? And if this one man is the God-Man, hasn't He united the whole of mankind to Himself, thus assuring every man admission into His blessed intimacy for eternity?
St. Augustine has already very clearly answered all these foolish pretenses: "God, Who has created you without yourself, will not save you without yourself, " Man has risen, by his own accord, against the Divine Majesty. Hence, to be purified, man must now accept, equally freely, the gift of grace. Such is the mystery of man's liberty: man can shy away from the advances of the merciful love of God and refuse to participate in the riches of Redemption. Although Our Lord has died for all men, not all, unfortunately, will profit from His death. The inheritance of Heaven will be received only by those who abandon their freedom into the hands of Christ, to be subject to the yoke of the Cross.
God respects His creation and does not violate the freedom He has granted us. He offers us His grace to heal the weakness of our liberty, penetrating and elevating it and thus making us able to choose to serve Him, consecrating ourselves totally to His service. Redemption is a work of love - of the divine love in all its tenderness. But this work is not realized automatically. It requires our personal response, a proof of our love for God.
We must, then, refuse to follow the disordered inclinations of our nature that systematically seek to satisfy all our desires. We must allow ourselves to be elevated to the supernatural order, voluntarily sacrificing our liberty to the Divine Will. The devil and the world whisper in our heart that such a sacrifice annihilates our freedom. But they He. This voluntary sacrifice elevates our liberty by subjecting it to the order of Providence. This submission is the reason for our existence. Outside such submission there is no possibility of happiness since the soul, distraught by the constant quest for pleasures, cannot find peace.
God makes His will manifest through our duties of state. If we accomplish them faithfully in spite of their monotony, then we embrace the designs of Providence, and by doing so, we acknowledge the goodness of God towards us and make it visible in our life.
In Christo Sacerdote et Maria,
vol 16, no. 32