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Monday, May 29, 2006

Potential Providential Perspective

"Why, Lord, did you remain silent?" he said, his voice wobbling. "How could you tolerate this?"

     It is fitting the day I am reading about God’s Providence, that I come across this article about the Pope’s visit to Auschwitz. Having been forced into the Hitler Youth, this Pope’s life story creates an interesting backdrop to view providence.
     I believe that deep down, even with all the confessional, scriptural and theological discussions, we still do not understand providence. Rather, we understand what the opposing ideas say:
God is remote: God is removed from our lives, like a watchmaker (deism) allowing his creation to spiral into a war-ravaged mess.
God is All: God is nothing more than creation itself, and therefore the natural order is god.
Neither of this work within Christianity because of the revelation found in Christ Jesus.
     God has chosen to be with and for us. Therefore, God’s providence is the activity meaning, purpose and trajectory of God’s will in all of creation.
     What does this have to do with the Pope at Auschwitz praying today?
1) Prayer is quasi-sacramental because prayer does not initiate God’s activity, but rather is the human expression of God’s presence. The Pope, and each of us, are unable to pray for anything lest God initiates that prayer.
2) And that God was at Auschwitz. The mere fact that a small tribe of people—the Israelites—have survived horrendous persecutions throughout all of history, proves that there is a Covenantal God.
     Like Job, though God remained silent, he was still present in Auschwitz.
…and is in Iraq, Indonesia, Palestine, and Darfur.

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