Message from Father William Bartoul
My dear Brother Knights,
There’s a grand expression in the Church; Divine Providence. Although people have heard the expression, I’m not sure how many people understand it. Yet, it’s a pivotal point that helps us to understand our relationship with God, Nature, the world, the universe! Wow, that’s grand! So, without further ado, let’s wrap our minds around Divine Providence.
Basically, Divine Providence means: God has already provided everything; it’s done. All that exists, (seen & unseen), He created it, defined it, and supports the purpose He assigned to it. That’s sounds simple enough. Wait! Sometimes simple things are not so simple. If Creation is done and everything is set, are we just puppets moving along a set course or acting on mindless instincts – there’s movement but no growth, nothing new being added? If everything is already in place, are we truly free to make choices? Good questions, even if I do say so myself!
How do we fit into a scene where everything is already set from beginning to end? Well, God created us as the central being in His local masterpiece = we’re here. He defined us = we’re not just trees or fish, we’re His children. As He created us in His image and likeness, and God is Free, so He created His children to be free; Free Will. From the beginning, God designed and put into place that His children would function freely within Creation. Our destiny relies upon the choices we freely make (not like puppets or like the instinctual acts of other creatures!).
If this sounds confusing, let’s see what it might look like. Let’s use a metaphor: It’s like people in a large fully furnished room (Creation); a room totally and perfectly designed and furnished by God’s thoughtfulness. In fact, the room is so complete, nothing needs to be added to it. The people in the room can sit on a couch or choose to dance. They can choose to watch TV or play billiards. The people are free to do anything within this great perfect room. And, because of His love for us, God stays near to us (at parties, it’s called “circulating”). The metaphor makes sense, but, in the long run, it sounds boring; like we just hang-out for a lifetime (loitering in Creation)? Well, let’s leave the metaphor and look at our purpose; why God created us. As I mentioned above, God created, defined and gave purpose to everything: the sun is to shine, birds help to keep nature stable, etc. Since we’re His children, our purpose is to grow in holiness so that we’re holy as our heavenly Father is holy…and that should keep us occupied for a lifetime!
The logical next question is “How do we do that?” Easy; learn to love more perfectly. In learning to love more perfectly, we grow in holiness. I know what you’re thinking, “How do we learn to love more perfectly?” Recall, God has provided. If you want to know what it looks like to be a loving child of God in Creation, just look at Jesus. Jesus tells us that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Throughout His ministry, He shows us how to love more perfectly. Okay, one final question, “What’s the purpose of growing in holiness, learning to love more perfectly?” Well, the purpose of our purpose (don’t you just love a good play on words!), the purpose of our purpose is to end up at home (Heaven), to reunite with our heavenly Father who is Love.
Okay, that’s Divine Providence; God has provided everything. Even our Free Will has been provided. As we move through Creation, we make choices and learn to love more perfectly; we are created, defined and have a purpose. God provided everything! That’s Divine Providence.
Enjoy the universe…Dad put it there for us. Peace, Fr. Bill