MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA TREATISE I. GOD. 30. PREDESTINATION.
St. Pius X, PCMEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA
GOD. 30. PREDESTINATION.
I. Predestination is the eternal decree of God to bestow the glory of Paradise on certain souls who, He foresees, will correspond to the grace they receive and work out their salvation. These are God's elect ; He regards them with special favour, and promotes the result by His superabundant grace. " He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world" (Eph. i. 4). "Whom He foreknew He also predestinated . . . and whom He predestinated, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified" (Rom. viii. 29, 30). How that decree is formed no man knoweth. How that result comes about through the interworking of the all-powerful grace of God with our complete liberty even we who are most concerned cannot know. No single soul can say that he is predestinate." Man knoweth not whether he be worthy of love or hatred" (Eccles. ix. 1). Thus much we know, that God is infinitely just, and that His mercy is above all His works. He therefore does not select some arbitrarily for salvation and abandon others ; but He has made every man to be saved; He has prepared a crown of glory for every sinner, upon his repentance, and has not made hell for them. Every man has it in his power to attain to heaven ; he will attain it if he strives ; and if he is lost, it will be entirely of his own free choice, and it will be in no measure due to God. It depends on you to make yourself predestinate. Resolve that you will be so, and God's grace will certainly not be wanting.
II. The factors of God's decree of predestination are these: 1. God loves infinitely Supreme Truth and Goodness as contained in the Divine Essence, and desires that they be known and loved by all His creatures. 2. He loves mankind with an infinite love, desires their happiness, and does everything that is possible, consistently with their liberty, to secure it to them. 3. The satisfaction and merits of Jesus Christ are communicated to mankind to withdraw them from perdition. 4. Through the promises of God man s efforts accompanied by divine grace become meritorious of eternal life. Thus, although we cannot strictly merit predestination, it is granted nevertheless in consideration of our works. It is the absolutely free gift of God, and yet our personal cooperation is an essential condition of it. So you cannot save your soul by yourself, and God will not save you by Himself. God's operation is like the tree, with root, trunk, branches; your cooperation is the foliage; both are necessary in order for the tree to blossom and bear fruit. What confidence this ought to give you in working for heaven! God has done so much for you; so little remains for you to do; and you can do all things in Him that strengthened you.
III. There are three chief classes of the predestinate. 1. Those who are not called upon to contribute any cooperation of their own to the work of God. Such are infants who die after Baptism. As they have incurred sin by the act of another, so the merits of Jesus Christ and the action of the Church are attributed to them by God for their justification. 2. The ordinary predestinate, who through many deficiencies and infidelities, through renewal unto penance and correspondence to grace, advance slowly, and by God's mercy work out their salvation. 3. Those of special favour and distinction, of labour and suffering, who are predestinated for great work and great glory. Of these many have been notable sinners, like David, St. Paul, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Augustine. Thus no class is excluded by outward circumstances from even the highest dignity among the elect. Many of the saints of God have at some time been worse than you. Be faithful to God s calls, seek that which is most perfect, and God will work wonderful things in you.
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA BY THE RIGHT REV. JAMES BELLORD, D.D.