Mystery and Providence

Christ Pantocrator by Elias Moskos

In the Endowments of Man, Archbishop Ullathorne reminds us of how little we know of our world, yet assures us that all its workings are safely in the care of Divine Providence:

“The action of God is clearly visible in the ordering of the world; and where the light of reason is not utterly perverted, all men at times feel His power in the creation. What but the continuance of God’s creative will upholds the world in existence? What but His regulating providence makes the elements of the world keep their place, their proportions, and their equable balance, so admirably tempered to human needs? What but His will and wisdom have ordained all things in number, weight, and measure? What makes the earth and orbs of heaven to move in their appointed courses? What makes the sun to glow with a splendour softened to the requirements of human eyes and human life? What causes the moon and the glittering stars to illuminate our night? What causes the winds to breathe in gentle gales or to blow with purging vehemence? What makes the ever-changing clouds, those curtains from the solar heat and revivers of the earth, to muster in their squadrons and career before the winds, the showers to fall, the streams to flow, the seas to agitate their purifying waves, the earth to germinate in flowers and fruits, the air to feed the flame of mortal life, the waters to fertilise, all nature to bring forth?”

“To give names to hidden causes is to confess their existence, but not to discover what they are. Science may trace the dependencies of things upon each other, at least on the visible side of them that is exposed to human sight, and may follow the limits of the lower end of the chain of causation. But what and where is the primal force from which all causation springs? What primal force moves all material things that are in their nature passive? What keeps them orderly, temperate, and measured in their movements, whether worlds, or elements, or things that vegetate, or that move with the force and harmony of animal life? We may ask what, and what in vain, so long as we search for their causes in material nature.”

“The Divine Author of all is the first mover of all, whilst He is Himself immovable; and the creation receives its energies and modes of movement from the most tranquil, yet ever-acting, will of God, ‘who maketh His sun to shine over the good and bad, and raineth upon the just and unjust.'”

Quotations from Michael F. Glancey, Characteristics From the Writings of Archbishop Ullathorne (London: Burns & Oates, 1889).

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