How do you know if something is coincidence or God?

I have been thinking about my future holidays with family. My family is increasingly undermining my catholic faith. My mother recently proclaiming to the roof tops how much she hates the corruption of the Church and why she left. I don’t disagree with her but how she goes about ruminating in it is not helpful. She then eggs on a debate which I ignore at all costs. She is much better debater than me. She deeply reminds of my grandmother, who she had a contentious relationships with and would surreptitiously undermine the church’s authority. I have not always been a practicing catholic but little more than a year ago I made a big recommitment/reconversion and went to confession after many years without. The entire year I have been going to reconciliation regularly, trying to go every 2-3weeks. I think of Mother Angelica. Her family were heard crying down the block when she left them. I sensed a similar reaction would happen to me if I decided to consider alternative Christmas day plans. These were mere ideas, exploring possibilities when my mother calls me to ask if I could spend the holidays with my brother and extended family in another state. My brother has had a tough year and being without immediate family she worries about him. It’s almost like God answered a prayer that I did not even pray yet…or maybe this is all coincidence. I am not even sure if it will be the right thing to do, as I have no idea what my brother thinks about it. Any thoughts?

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There’s no such thing as coincidence, at least that’s how I understand it. Everything that happens outside of our own choices is the will of God, and even our choices God uses for his will, he integrates our decisions into his plan. So, anything that happens is happening because God has either willed it or allowed it for some greater purpose. Because of this, coincidence literally cannot exist.

If I’m incorrect in my understanding, though, someone please correct me.

But I think it’s always safe to assume that everything that happens in your life is happening for a purpose. We’re never certain of what the purpose is because our knowledge is so incomplete, so we must use our minds to discern what actions to take. Be prayerful and listen to what the Spirits tell you.

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Rather than looking at it from the perspective closest to you— “Hmm, here’s an opportunity to avoid hanging out with family who’s argumentative and disruptive when I just want to enjoy some nice holidays with people I love—” why not shift your perception to, “Here’s someone in need of help. What can I do to make things better for them?”

So rather than perceiving it as a negative, as an absence of conflict— look at it as a positive, as the opportunity to love and serve, with the realization that the person who pointed out that opportunity was the same person who hates the Church. :slight_smile:

So-- reach out to your brother. “Hey, I know you’ve had a tough year. I didn’t know if you wanted me to come visit you, or if you wanted to come down and visit me, or…” blah blah blah, whatever is appropriate to your situation. (Is he financially capable of travel? Is he in a situation where you can crash at his place, or would it be more considerate to get a hotel room nearby? Does he cook/host, or are you more likely to do dinner out? Is he in a financial situation where he can eat out, or does it need to be your treat? etc, etc, etc.)

But the point is, you make it clear that you’re thinking of him, and you love him, and you’d like to bump into him, even just for a little bit, during (Thanksgiving? Christmas?) and catch up with him in person.

Don’t even think about what you’re missing with your mom or your grandma… make it be about genuinely reaching out to him, not merely using him as a pretext for avoiding them. :blue_heart:

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Reminds me of Luke 12: 51-53

Jesus tells us “do you think I came here to bring peace on Earth? No I tell you, but rather division. From now on a house of five will be separated three against two. A father against his son and a brother against his sister and a mother against her daughter”.
Happens w me and my parents too. Me must put Truth above everything even family.

God is in everything. There is no coincidence.

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This is so spot on!

Don’t overthink things. Love in a radical way, love without hooks or conditions. Love your brother, love your family.

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I can believe that randomness is real, and thus it propagates in the system. I think we are incapable of distinguishing between the two.

This^^^^^^^^ well said.

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I agree on the first half, disagree with the second.

Recommended reading-

ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE by Fr Jean-Pierre de Caussade, SJ - read online.

Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre de Caussade - read online, read on mobile, d/l or audio.

Can you elaborate? I feel like they’re both effectively saying the same thing.

Someone once said, “When I pray, coincidences happen, when I don’t, they don’t.”
God uses everything.

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There was a saying in my parish that coincidence is God acting anonymously. I really don’t believe in coincidences. Everything happens (or doesn’t happen) for a reason, whether we understand it or not.

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