Catechism: His Eye is on the Sparrow

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Q11. What is God’s providence?
God’s providence is His completely holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing every creature and every action.

Christmas is a marvelous example of how God, in his providence, is working at every level of our reality. Matthew reminds us of his covenantal faithfulness throughout Israel’s history. We see God’s gentle intervention in kings and bureaucracies in the Roman census, and in King Herod’s reception of the wise men. We see the gears that must have been set in motion in creation light-years ahead of time in the guiding star over Bethlehem. We feel the ordinary ache in the drama between Mary and her family and her husband.

Angels and visions abound, but so does the hidden grace of the Holy Spirit, moving and nudging the hearts of key and peripheral players. We see a magnificent host dazzle the night in joyous acclamation, but we also see the befuddled awe of homely shepherds as witnesses below. The mysterious offerings from patricians convened from far corners of civilization … in the presence of barnyard animals — and the impending slaughter of a entire city of innocents. God, holy, wise, and powerful, in it all. In control. Preserving. Governing. Conducting through the cacophony a careful symphony of promise and mercy, the ultimate sacrifice — and using the story to tug our hearts through the stretches of history.

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