The More Surely

From “How God’s Providence Includes Everything,” On Cleaving to God, 16 (13th-15th cent.) 

Certainly if we are to come directly, safely and nakedly to our Lord God without hindrance, freely and peacefully, as explained above, and be securely joined to him with even mind in prosperity or adversity, whether in life or in death, then our job is to commit everything unhesitatingly and resolutely, in general and individually, to his unquestionable and infallible providence.  

This is hardly surprising since it is he alone who gives to all things their being, their capacity and their action — that is, their strength, operation, nature, manner, and order in number, weight, and measure. Especially since just as a work of art presupposes a prior operation of nature, in the same way the operation of nature presupposes the work of God, creating, sustaining, ordering, and administering it, for to him alone belong infinite power, wisdom, goodness, and inherent mercy, justice, truth, love, and unchanging timelessness and omnipresence. So nothing can exist or act by its own power unless it acts in the power of God himself, who is the prime mover and the first principle, who is the cause of every action, and the actor in every agent…  

On which subject scripture has this to say, “Cast all your worries upon him, for he takes care of you” (1 Pet. 5:7). And again the prophet says, “Cast your care upon the Lord, and he will feed you” (Ps. 55.22). “And, Look at the nations of men, my son, and see that no one ever put his trust in the Lord, and was disappointed. For who has been faithful to his commandments and been abandoned?” (Ecclus. 2.22). And our Lord himself said, “Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’” (Matt 6.25).  

So whatever and however much we can hope from God, we shall undoubtedly receive, as Deuteronomy says, “Every place where you feet tread shall be yours” (Deut. 11.24). For a man shall receive all that he is able to desire, and so far as he can reach with his foot of faith, even so much shall he possess. That is why Bernard says, “God, the maker of everything is so abounding in mercy that whatever size grace cup of faith we are able to hold out to him, we shall undoubtedly have it filled.” And so Mark has it “All that you ask in prayer believing that you will receive it, will be given you” (Mark 11.24).  

So the stronger and the more vehement our faith in God is, and the more reverently and persistently it is offered up to God, the more surely, the more abundantly, and the quicker what we hoped for will be accomplished and obtained. Indeed if in doing this our faith in God is weak and slow to rise to God on account of the multitude and magnitude of our sins, we should remember this, that everything is possible with God, and that what he wishes is bound to take place, while what he does not wish cannot possibly happen, and that it is as easy for him to forgive and cancel countless sins, however enormous, as to do it with a single sin.  

While a sinner cannot, of himself, rise from innumerable sins, and free and absolve himself from them, and not even from just one sin. For we are unable not only to do, but even to think anything good, of ourselves, but this is from God… God’s power, wisdom and mercy are shown forth through Christ our redeemer — his mercy and his justice, the power of grace and the weakness of nature, the beauty of everything in the association of opposites, the approval of the good, and the malice and punishment of the wicked. Similarly, the contrition of the converted sinner, his confession, and penitence, the kindness of God, piety, charity and his praise and goodness — all show forth God’s power and wisdom. 

St. Albert the Great (ca. 1200-1280) was a German Dominican friar, philosopher, theologian, and Bishop of Regensburg. He wrote a series of influential commentaries on the works of Aristotle and was a pioneer of scientific investigation. The anonymous treatise “On Cleaving to God” is commonly attributed to him, though many scholars believe it is properly dated up to 150 years after his death. His feast day is November 15. 


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