Brothers and sisters: we know that all things work for the good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. –Romans 8:28.
Two questions about this. The first about our knowledge, the second about God’s purpose. [Spanish]
Question 1: We “know” that all things work for the good of those who love God. How do we know it?
Let us freely acknowledge that Romans 8:28 is not self-evident. A lot of people out there disagree. They say they do not know that all things work for the good.
Many of our brothers and sisters in this world look around at the way things work, and they despair. They see nothing but selfishness, or the law of the jungle, or corruption, or the slow arc of inevitable death. Some people have the sense that the higher powers of the universe do not love the human race.
So our being able to perceive the sweet hand of divine Providence–that is a spiritual gift, not a purely logical deduction. To know what Romans 8:28 says we know: We call that the Holy Spirit’s gift of knowledge, one of the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Our interior perception that God is in charge of everything, that there is a reason behind everything.
St. Paul pointed out earlier in his letter to the Romans that God brings good out of evil: From the evil of Satan’s temptation, the Fall of Adam and Eve, and the whole history of human sin, God has brought about the infinitely greater good of the mission of His Son to the earth.
Jesus Christ—who suffered and died unjustly, then rose again—Jesus is the best possible thing that ever could have happened. His goodness trumps all the evil that has ever been or ever will be; His goodness overcomes it all, and turns all evil into an opportunity for holiness.
So now we can answer our first question easily enough: We know what Romans 8:28 says we know; we know that all things work for the good of those who love God and have been called according to his purpose, because:
God became man, lived for us as a man, died for us as a man, rose again and ascended into heaven as a man. And He pours His Spirit out from heaven into our hearts to give us interior knowledge of Himself.
Now, a second question. Romans 8:28 refers to “God’s purpose.” What is God’s purpose in guiding everything as He does?
The answer is simple and obvious on one level and impossible to fathom on another. The Lord Jesus taught us God’s purpose in everything: that we would share the divine glory forever.
Simple enough, on the one hand. On the other hand, though: we do not yet see what this glorious destiny of ours is. The prospect of seeing God and being like Him is so utterly beyond our capacities to feature that for now our destiny must remain an interior mystery of faith. So again, the Holy Spirit comes to our aid with a special gift.
The Lord pours divine wisdom into our souls so that we can savor the sweetness of heaven a little bit, even before we get there. The sweetness we savor is nothing other than the sweetness of true love. God’s purpose is to love, and to love us above all. The Holy Spirit lifts us up towards God so that we can have a little share in the divine point-of-view even now.
This wisdom even allows us to savor God’s sweetness in the midst of severe trials and tribulations. We can savor God’s sweetness even in the face of the evils God allows us to have to endure so that we might grow in holiness and conformity to Christ.
Our pilgrimage is not easy, and we have to fight hard in order to attain the victory over sin. But through it all, by virtue of the Spirit’s gifts, we know that all things are working together for our good; we can even have the wisdom to see the crosses we have to carry as special gifts, as we follow in the footsteps of Christ.