The Laws of the Divine Providence
Man Should Act From Freedom According to Reason
Remain in Me, and I in you; as the branch cannot bring [forth] fruit from itself, unless it remains in the vine, no more can you, unless you remain in Me. I am the Vine, you [are] the branches; he who remains in Me, and I in him, the same brings [forth] much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.
From Divine Providence
DP 92. Anyone can see from reason alone that there is no conjunction of minds unless it is reciprocal, and that the reciprocation is what conjoins. If one loves another and is not loved in return, then as one approaches the other withdraws; but if he is loved in return, then as one approaches the other approaches, and conjunction takes place. Moreover, love wills to be loved; this is implanted in it; and so far as love is loved in return, it is in itself and in its enjoyment. This makes clear that when the Lord loves man and is not loved in return by man, the Lord approaches and man withdraws. Thus the Lord continually wills to draw near to man and to enter into him, and man turns back and goes away. This is true of those who are in hell; but with those who are in heaven there is a mutual conjunction.
Since the Lord wills conjunction with man in order to save him, He provides that there shall be in man something reciprocal. The reciprocal in man is this, that the good which he wills and does from freedom, and the truth which, from that willing, he thinks and speaks in accordance with reason, appear to be from himself, and this good in his will and this truth in his understanding appear to be his. To man they even appear to be from himself and to be his precisely as if they were his, with no difference whatever. Take notice whether any one by any sense perceives it to be otherwise…. The only difference is that man ought to acknowledge that he does good and thinks truth not from himself but from the Lord, and consequently that the good he does and the truth he thinks are not his. To so think from some love in the will, because such is the truth, is what causes conjunction; for thus man looks to the Lord, and the Lord looks on man.
DP 93. It has been permitted me both to hear and see in the spiritual world the nature of the difference between those who believe all good to be from the Lord and those who believe good to be from themselves. Those who believe good to be from the Lord turn the face to Him, and receive the enjoyment and the blessedness of good. But those who believe good to be from themselves look to themselves and think in themselves that they are meritorious. And because they look to themselves they are able to perceive the enjoyment of their own good only, which is not the enjoyment of good but the enjoyment of evil.
DP 94. The conjunction of the Lord with man and the reciprocal conjunction of man with the Lord is effected by loving the neighbor as oneself and loving the Lord above all things. To love the neighbor as oneself consists solely in not acting insincerely or unjustly towards him, not holding him in hatred or burning with revenge against him, not reviling or defaming him, not committing adultery with his wife, and not doing other like things against him. Who cannot see that those who do such things do not love the neighbor as themselves? But those who do not do such things for the reason that they are evils against the neighbor and also sins against the Lord, act sincerely, justly, kindly, and faithfully in relation to the neighbor; and as the Lord does likewise, a reciprocal conjunction is effected.
Questions and Comments
- What does it mean for love to be reciprocated?
- When we think about a time when our love for someone has not been reciprocated we may be able to better understand what it is like when we do not reciprocate the Lord’s love.
- When we are being tempted, we can picture evil spirits trying to convince us to actually turn away from the Lord and withdraw as He approaches, like it says in DP 92.
- DP 92 says “the Lord continually wills to draw near to man and to enter into him.” What does this mean?
- How are freedom and rationality related to the ability to reciprocate the Lord’s love?