56. How do we collaborate with divine Providence?
(Comp 56) While respecting our freedom, God asks us to cooperate with him and gives us the ability to do so through actions, prayers and sufferings, thus awakening in us the desire “to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
(CCC 323) Divine providence works also through the actions of creatures. To human beings God grants the ability to co-operate freely with his plans.
To deepen and explain
(CCC 307) To human beings God even gives the power of freely sharing in his providence by entrusting them with the responsibility of "subduing" the earth and having dominion over it (Cf. Gen 1:26-28). God thus enables men to be intelligent and free causes in order to complete the work of creation, to perfect its harmony for their own good and that of their neighbors. Though often unconscious collaborators with God's will, they can also enter deliberately into the divine plan by their actions, their prayers and their sufferings (Cf. Col 1:24). They then fully become "God's fellow workers" and co-workers for his kingdom (1 Cor 3:9; I Thess 3:2; Col 4:11).
(CCC 308) The truth that God is at work in all the actions of his creatures is inseparable from faith in God the Creator. God is the first cause who operates in and through secondary causes: "For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil 2:13; cf. 1 Cor 12:6). Far from diminishing the creature's dignity, this truth enhances it. Drawn from nothingness by God's power, wisdom and goodness, it can do nothing if it is cut off from its origin, for "without a Creator the creature vanishes" (GS 36 § 3). Still less can a creature attain its ultimate end without the help of God's grace (Cf. Mt 19:26; Jn 15:5; 14:13).
(Next question: If God is omnipotent and provident, why then does evil exist?)