Dependence on God


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Dependence on God — Cornerstone of Virtue

We human beings like to be independent. Indeed, there is a legitimate independence which can motivate us to accomplish important duties for the good by industrious work and diligence. However, it is in our fallen human nature to want to push our independence to the extreme. For example, how easy it is for that self-reliant work ethic to become stubborn self-will, despite even our best intentions.

Dependency from the Human Perspective

Somehow not having to ask anyone for anything, doing it all by ourselves, has become a great virtue. The more we can do for ourselves without assistance, the more successful we feel, the more confident we are in our abilities and the more valuable we become to others. Consequently, we see dependence is a sign of inadequacy. Dependence seems to imply neediness, lack of resources or ability, poverty, fragility, even failure. Thus, our human nature does not like to be dependent.

Dependency from God’s Perspective

However, dependence, when seen from God’s perspective, relates more to virtue than to vice. Having created us from nothing and having given us every good thing we have, God continues to hold us in existence at every moment. It is God who is

in charge of us. His Divine Providence is always at work in our lives. Thus it is God who has actually enabled whatever achievements we so eagerly claim as our own. Truly, we are not independent and self-sufficient as we often think. Rather, we depend totally on God.

Dependency of our Infant King: Salutary Lesson for us

So that we would better understand this simple but profound truth, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity became a little Child in the stable of Bethlehem. Just like our Infant King was dependent on Mary and Joseph for everything necessary in his human life as a child, so also are we children of God to be dependent on our heavenly Father for everything we are and have, as well as for everything we want to be. Jesus spoke of this spiritual dependence on God again and again in the Gospels: “Unless you become as little children, you will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Mt 18:3) Like Jesus our Infant King, we must become spiritually child-like, relying upon God and His Providence in our lives more than upon ourselves and our own strength.

How Can We Grow to Depend More on God?

The realization of our dependence on God is the essential cornerstone to building the edifice of a virtuous life. We may be aware of this intellectually. However, how are we to grow in this realization in order to make progress in virtue?

The Lord’s Prayer: Help to Humility

Pride is the source of great illusion, but humility is quite simply truth: the truth that we are children of God our Father who created us, the truth that without God we can do nothing, the truth that we rely upon God for our daily bread, the truth that we are imperfect creatures who need God’s merciful love, the truth that God is calling us each day to deeper conformity of our heart to His own Sacred Heart. No matter what may be our talents, our energy, no matter the great capacity we think we have, on our own we will always fall short. We need God for absolutely everything. “Not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves, as of ourselves: but our sufficiency is from God.” (2 Cor 3:5) Each time we pray the Our Father, God will make us His children to grow in humility.

Dependence upon God begins with that very simple, poignant truth: we must be convinced deep down of our own inadequacy. Sometimes God may allow trials and troubles to come upon us so that we better realize our own inadequacy. In feeling our weakness, we are moved to reach up prayerfully to God our Father for help. For this Jesus has given us that perfect prayer which is the “Our Father.” Daily recitation of the Lord’s prayer, together with meditation on the profound meaning of its every phrase, will be a powerful means to spiritual dependency on God. Let us often repeat those holy words: “Thy Will Be Done” so that, by accepting our daily trials in a spirit of patient resignation to the Will of our Heavenly Father, the troubles of life can be used by God’s Providence to teach us lessons in humility. Each time we pray the Our Father, we learn to let go of our own spirit of independence and to embrace God’s Will, which alone can bring us strength and peace of soul.

Frequent Confession Teaches Us to Depend on God

An honest examination of conscience will allow us to be open to the divine light of grace, which will dispel the illusions which we so easily make about ourselves and our own independence. Our human pride wants us to overestimate our strength and our abilities. However, the humble and frequent admission of our faults and failings in the confessional helps us to see progressively that we can do nothing on our own and that we depend entirely on the help of God. Confession is humility in action.

The Holy Eucharist: Humility Blossoms into Confidence

Humility brings us low so that we may have confidence not in ourselves, but rather in the God who loves us more than we can possibly imagine. The Infant King who humbled

Himself to be born in Bethlehem’s manger, where He was dependent on Mary and Joseph, likewise humbles Himself to come into the tabernacles of our churches, where He is dependent on the ministry of His priests in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Jesus has lowered Himself to dwelling really and truly under these humble species of bread and wine in order to inspire our confidence in His goodness.

Just as we depend on food and drink for the life of our body, so also do we depend on the Holy Eucharist for the spiritual life of our soul. Frequent reception of Holy Communion will give us divine grace and inspiration to be truly dependent on God in all of our thoughts, words, and actions. Since we depend on so loving a God who comes to be with us as our Eucharistic nourishment, we can then be confident that in His love for us He will fulfill our every need.


If dependence on God is the cornerstone of the edifice of a virtuous life, humility is the foundation upon which confidence can then build. Dependence on God our Father in Heaven will ultimately bring us the peaceful reassurance that He will take care of us. To depend more on God and less upon ourselves, frequent Confession, daily recitation and meditation on the “Our Father” prayer will be effective means. In this way, we will grow in the virtues of humility and confidence so that, even in the most trying circumstances of life, Divine Providence and our cooperation with grace may lead us children to the heavenly home of God our Father.

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