20.8.15

Predestination and the inequality of the Divine choice

"God infallibly foresees and immutably preordains from eternity all future events (cf. Denzinger, n. 1784), all fatalistic necessity, however, being barred and human liberty remaining intact (Denz., n. 607).

Consequently man is free whether he accepts grace and does good or whether he rejects it and does evil (Denz., n. 797).

Just as it is God's true and sincere will that all men, no one excepted, shall obtain eternal happiness, so, too, Christ has died for all (Denz., n. 794), not only for the predestined (Denz., n. 1096), or for the faithful (Denz., n. 1294), though it is true that in reality not all avail themselves of the benefits of redemption (Denz., n. 795).

Though God preordained both eternal happiness and the good works of the elect (Denz., n. 322), yet, on the other hand, He predestined no one positively to hell, much less to sin (Denz., nn. 200, 816). Consequently, just as no one is saved against his will (Denz., n. 1363), so the reprobate perish solely on account of their wickedness (Denz., nn. 318, 321). God foresaw the everlasting pains of the impious from all eternity, and preordained this punishment on account of their sins (Denz., n. 322), though He does not fail therefore to hold out the grace of conversion to sinners (Denz., n. 807), or pass over those who are not predestined (Denz., n. 827). As long as the reprobate live on earth, they may be accounted true Christians and members of the Church, just as on the other hand the predestined may be outside the pale of Christianity and of the Church (Denz., nn. 628, 631).

Without special revelation no one can know with certainty that he belongs to the number of the elect (Denz., nn. 805 sq., 825 sq.). However, the Church condemns only that blasphemous presumption which boasts of a faithlike certainty in matters of predestination. To say that there exist probable signs of predestination which exclude all excessive anxiety is not against her teaching. The following are some of the criteria set down by the theologians: purity of heart, pleasure in prayer, patience in suffering, frequent reception of the sacraments, love of Christ and His Church, devotion to the Mother of God, etc.

In order to emphasize how mysterious and unapproachable is Divine election, the Council of Trent calls predestination "hidden mystery". That predestination is indeed a sublime mystery appears ... in the inequality of the Divine choice. The unequal standard by which baptismal grace is distributed among infants and efficacious graces among adults is hidden from our view by an impenetrable veil. Could we gain a glimpse at the reasons of this inequality, we should at once hold the key to the solution of the mystery itself. Why is it that this child is baptized, but not the child of the neighbour? Why is it that Peter the Apostle rose again after his fall and persevered till his death, while Judas Iscariot, his fellow-Apostle, hanged himself and thus frustrated his salvation? Though correct, the answer that Judas went to perdition of his own free will, while Peter faithfully co-operated with the grace of conversion offered him, does not clear up the enigma. For the question recurs: Why did not God give to Judas the same efficacious, infallibly successful grace of conversion as to St. Peter, whose blasphemous denial of the Lord was a sin no less grievous than that of the traitor Judas? To all these and similar questions the only reasonable reply is the word of St. Augustine (loc. cit., 21): "Inscrutabilia sunt judicia Dei" (the judgments of God are inscrutable).
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1 comentário:

Emmanuel disse...

God bless you!
Immanuel
(Catholic blogwalking)