The Present Times And You
In the turbulent times we are living, it might be useful to say a few words that might help the one or other reader to gain some perspective and, hopefully, some serenity.
Francis will not lead to hell anyone who does not want to be led there, either deliberately or by way of meriting it. God’s omnipotence consists in exactly this, that he does not sit there waiting to know whether Francis manages to damn Titius, Caius or Sempronius. On the contrary: God knows, and has decreed from all eternity, exactly what decisions Titius, Caius and Sempronius will make, and which will merit them either damnation or salvation.
You can put it this way: the Elect will be saved, and the Reprobate will be damned. However (big difference with Calvinism), the Elect will – collaborating with God’s efficacious grace – merit their salvation, and the reprobate will – notwithstanding God’s sufficient grace – merit hell.
However, this does not mean that we can sit and relax, as if we were Pietists, because “God is in control”. God is in control, among other things, exactly because He prompts good men and women to do His will. We must strive to be instruments of His will, rather than think that God’s will will simply happen. What God wants does not happen because God Fed-exes down on earth small packets with “God’s will” written on it. It happens because, prompted by Him, people do things.
The way I see our role is this: to be God’s willing – if unworthy – instrument in the salvation of those of whom God has already decided that they will be saved; but of whom he has, in His Mercy, decided that they will – with His grace – merit their salvation also thanks to the encouragement and help given to them by people like us; which, in turn, will help us to – with God’s efficacious grace, hopefully – merit heaven one day.
I do not think very saintly people need this blog to stay away from Francis’ confusion. Conversely, I know that those of whom God has decreed that they will, of their own will, merit hell will not make use of this blog. Those in the middle are those for whom I write this blog, and those for whom you have all those heated discussions about religion, sin, mercy, and God with your friends and relatives.
I will never manage to save one single soul of which God has decreed that she will merit damnation. Nor will I ever manage to un-save – no matter how many stupid things I may write – one single person among the Elect. What we do is collaborate with God’s plan to the best of our modest ability, in the hope that our modest and imperfect effort will, one day, be counted for us.
Our reward for this is both immediate and long lasting. The striving to do what is best for the Church we love is a sign of predestination. The more we engage in this battle, the more we can acquire a serene optimism – and hopefully a solid confidence, but never a presumptuous security – that the Lord has decreed that we are to be among the Elect, and His efficacious grace will allow us to die in a state of grace. The practice of fighting will also translate in the practice of praying, and doing penance. The more we acquire this forma mentis, the more this will help us to remain on the right side of the fence.
Still: in the end, there is nothing we can really do. On our own, we can do perfectly nothing. My blog does not “make a difference”. God does everything, and has decreed everything from all eternity; including what we will and will not do, of our own will, to merit what he has already decreed. Therefore, we won’t gain for the Lord one single soul that would otherwise have merited damnation. Conversely, Francis will not lead to damnation one single soul that would otherwise have merited salvation. The fate of each and every soul is already decided. God would not be Omnipotent if he allowed us to exclusively decide, outside of his control, the outcome of the battle for every single soul.
The fate of every soul is already decided. In the same way, it is decided that what we do to merit heaven will be freely willed by us even as it is what God has already decided for us. My freedom consists in freely wanting what God has decided that I should want, and in freely meriting salvation (hopefully) by collaborating with his (hopefully) efficacious grace, of which he has (hopefully) decreed from all eternity that it will compel me to merit that salvation in order to achieve which I freely, willingly, do my very best.
Consider yourself a soldier of a battle whose outcome is already decided; but whose outcome is decided exactly because there will be soldiers fighting the battle, it being clear that without battle there can be no outcome. You are that soldier, and the rapidly imploding XXI Century is the battlefield Providence has given us. You won’t kill any enemy that you are not supposed to kill. You won’t save any comrade that you are not supposed to save. But you are still required to go to war, and to fight your battle.
Go to war, then. Fight your battle. But always know that it is not really your battle; rather, it is the battle God allows you to freely will, to willingly fight under His banner, so that you may merit salvation because of His grace.
Sleep soundly, then, as this disgraceful Year of False Mercy begins. Francis will not manage to lead to damnation one single soul that has not merited his own damnation. On the contrary: a merciful God will use Francis to allow us to – hopefully – merit our own salvation by fighting against his evil intent.
How ironic. The man who wants to take everyone away from Christ and His Church unwittingly ends up doing exactly what God wants, and serving His purposes in absolutely everything: in the evil that God allows him to make, and in the good that God will cause to emerge from his evil actions.
Christus Vincit, Christus Regnat, Christus Imperat.