Pursuing Happiness in the New Year

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

We have it on good authority that God has ordered all things wisely. And, on the same authority, that he works in mysterious ways.

As Josef Pieper reminds us, a mystery is something we know in part.

What then do we know about the wisdom with which God governs our world?

A good place to begin is with the order of what classical authors call nature. More than atoms, vectors, and hormones, it includes everything intelligible to us, visible and invisible, including the principles by which we distinguish good from bad.

God is not limited by nature. He did not have to create it, and need not put up with the folly of the stewards in whose care he has (temporarily) placed it.

As an inherently flawless being, however, there are things God cannot do. These include making mistakes, and changing his mind.

The order of nature reflects the wisdom of God. Since the Creator cannot contradict himself, we can be sure that he will not repudiate any of the good things he has done, or promised to do.

Miracles, though real and important, should not eclipse nature in our understanding—for their purpose is not to replace, but to heal and perfect, what our sins have marred.

For all these reasons, if we are hoping that 2021 will be a better year than the one we recently endured, at the top of our resolutions must be frequent recourse to prayer.

Next on that list ought to be practicing the virtues God will, naturally, demand of us if our prayers are to come true!

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2 thoughts on “Pursuing Happiness in the New Year

  1. I’ve always thought it a fascinating paradox that there are things humans can do that God cannot do – make mistakes, change our minds, sin. If God is the essence of being and existence itself, then it must follow that sin, making mistakes are somehow subordinate to existence – they exist and don’t exist simultaneously. Hmm.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a great point Jerry! It’s been a while since I’ve read it, but Pieper has a great book on sin (https://amzn.to/3n7eGMg) in which I recall him making a similar point. Our “ability” to sin stems from our creation from nothing. Insofar as we are from God, we are good; insofar as we’re from nothing, we can fall away from God, being, and the good.


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