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The Grace Of Final Repentance

My post about the thankfully now deceased Cardinal Tettamanzi prompted a nice comment about the fact that those who have lived their lives in rebellion to God will not find it easy to manage that perfect contrition that would save them from hell when they die. This is all true but, lest the wrong interpretation is given, I would like to see things from the other side: God's grace.

We, on our own, can do absolutely nothing, much less save ourselves. God's will is the only variable in this. We are wretched sinners who, on our own, could never achieve anything at all.

All we do that is good is because of God's grace, given gratuitously to us without us meriting it. Whilst the common parlance states that one merits salvation, the matter is more complex: God allows him the immense grace of final repentance, and he merely collaborates with it; and he does so only and exclusively because God gave him the grace (that is: the unmerited gift) to do so.

This is an aspect of Catholic teaching that is, if you ask me, too often neglected, engendering in some the idea that, in the end, my salvation is in my hands. No it isn't. To believe in this is, in fact, a heresy.

Without God we are perfect nothings who can do perfectly nothing. All we do that is good is due to God giving us the unmerited grace to act in the right way.

This helps us to put episodes like the sudden death of Cardinal Meisner, or the recent demise of “communion for adulterers” Tettamanzi, in the right perspective.

Meisner might have been reading the breviary when he died, but then again Luther might (hypothetically) have been reading the Bible. The question about their salvation is: after they have gravely failed against Our Lord (in different ways) all their lives, how likely it is that Our Lord would give them this gratuitous, infinitely important gift of the grace of final repentance?

Well the simple answer to that is that – whilst God only judges and He has perfect plans we don't comprehend – it's just pretty unlikely. Again: a heretic or traitor does not save himself by doing things that sound right: if you are in mortal sin, nothing you do is conducive to salvation. If you are in mortal sin you can recite thirty rosaries a day, you are still in mortal sin. A heretic or traitor only saves himself if Our Lord decides to give him this great, unmerited gift, moving him to collaborate with Him and behave in a way that – leading him to the state of grace again – is conducive to salvation.

The grace of final repentance is the grace of all graces. With it, everything is achieved. Without it, everything is lost. None of us, nobody, and be him Padre Pio, can merit salvation out of his own actions and volition. It is always God's grace that allowed those actions in the first place, and gently pushed the soul to perform them.

Therefore, when some lifelong Quisling or outright rascal dies, the thought of how likely it is that he would have received this immense gift is more pertinent than the question about what the man was doing when he kicked the bucket.

Sobering, uh?

Yes. This is exactly the way it should be.

M

 

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[Reblog]: Salvation, Predestination, Reprobation, And Free Will.

Dies Irae, Dies Illa...

I wrote this comment very late at night, reacting to the request of a reader. It being very late, and not wanting to write a complicated piece, I managed to say all that is – I think – important in a way that can be read and digested rather rapidly. The advantages of being tired, and not having time.

I have re-read this, and found it in order. So much so, that I have decided to post it as autonomous post, and put it in my “Vademecum” (see the bar above). 

I hope you’ll find it useful. The text follows below, with little modifications for comprehension. 

————————————————————————————–

Ah, that’s a complicated issue. I have wanted to write very often, but it’s very complex. It’s also very late, so forgive me if I say something stupid.

In three words, Calvinists (and in a way their Catholic fans, the Jansenists) believed that God makes some **to be damned**. Once born a reprobate, one is irresistibly screwed. End of story. There’s nothing he can do. He will go to hell, period. Sorry mate, yes, please go down that warm corridor…

Catholicism believes that God makes, said very brutally, two kind of people: the predestined and the reprobates. To the first He gives **efficacious** grace, meaning that they will be irresistibly led by Him toward salvation. To the seconds He gives **sufficient** grace, that is: a grace really sufficient to be saved, but that the reprobates nevertheless do not use, choosing of their own will to behave and think in a way that ends up meriting them hell.

No one, therefore, goes to hell who really has not himself to blame for it. At the same time, no one who avoids hell can boast of his goodness. All graces and all goodness come from God, so for every prayer, for every work of mercy, for every salvific act we do not really have the right to boast that “we did it”, though in a way we do really want to pray etc.

What happens is that we do want to act freely, because God inspired us to, freely, act in that way. Think of a mother who knows her child so well she knows what she must do to motivate him to do his homework, though in the end the child really is the one who wants to do his homework. This subtle, but irresistible influence of the efficacious grace is called, if memory serves, “physical premotion” (in the sense, always if memory serves, that it prompts to real, physical action on our part).

The mystery of predestination (one flip of the coin) is therefore fairly easy to grasp: God gives us efficacious grace, and this grace – like the mother above – irresistibly motivates us to, so to speak, do our homework. We do want, because God wants. Still, we do fully want. When God wants one to be saved, He will take care that the chap does not die in a state of mortal sin, giving him the efficacious grace necessary to the purpose. Again, he (the chap) will have nothing to boast about: without God’s help, he would have been nowhere, or rather in hell.

Things become far more terrible when we see the other flip of the coin: the reprobates. The reprobates freely choose (operative word here is “freely”) to think and behave in a way that merits them hell (though they might not even believe in hell); and they do so notwithstanding the fact that they have sufficient graces (the operative words here is “sufficient”; actually, more than sufficient) to avoid hell. But they do not do it and God **allows** them not to do it, and to deserve their punishment. Punishment that is, then, fully deserved, and entirely merited by their own thoughts, actions or omissions.

Why does God do this? Why does he infallibly decide, out of all eternity, that Titius *has to* be saved and will therefore irresistibly be attracted toward salvific acts, and Caius will, out of all eternity, be **allowed** to damn himself? Why one is born a reprobate, and another a predestined? This is a mystery we will only know – and not in its entirety, not in the way God knows it – when we die.

Still, we can throw some light on it even in this life. St. Thomas Aquinas said that every goodness comes from God, because God is the very source of everything that is good. Therefore, those who are exceptionally good (like St. Francis, or Padre Pio) are exceptionally loved. Conversely, there is no other reason why some are better than the fact that they are more loved. Some, God loves so much that he will never allow them to go to hell (giving them efficacious graces), or He will in rare cases even allow them to become, **out of their own will**, great saints; some others, he will still love enough to give them more than sufficient graces to save themselves, but he will **allow** them to choose evil instead. St. Thomas said that this must be so in order for the goodness of God to be revealed. God’s goodness is both mercy and justice. In those whom he saves, he shows His mercy (remember: the graces are unmerited, and purely due to God’s love), and in those whom he damns, he shows His justice. He does not do any injustice to anyone, he simply gives more than it is just to the predestined, without being unjust in any way to the reprobates. Difficult to chew for our egalitarian society, but that’s how it is.

Think to David Cameron. He has all the instruments to decide. He freely chooses the path to hell. Unless he repents, hell is what he will have freely chosen and fully merited. But if he repents, this is because of the efficacious grace of God. If he doesn’t, this is notwithstanding the (fully, and more than) sufficient grace he has received.

“Fine (or rather not!)”, you will say. “How can one know whether he is a predestined or a reprobate?” Well one can’t, of course. If we could, we would know for certain who is sent upstairs and downstairs. But as we are each and every one of us fully in charge of our own destiny (herein lies the real, ultimate crux: that one is full in charge, and STILL nothing happens against the divine decree: the reprobates will go to hell, and the predestined to purgatory or straight to heaven) we can see in our lives signs of predestination, or signs of reprobation, that are indications as to the possible destination of a person. Being born and baptised a Catholic has always been considered a great sign of predestination, which is probably why Catholic countries have historically always been more relaxed about hell than Protestant ones. Praying every day is another sign. Having masses said for one is another one. Having prayers said for one’s own salvation is another one, as are works of mercy. Praying the Rosary devoutly every day is a great sign of predestination (which is why I always insist on it), and so on.

In the end, we are in full control of our destiny, but at the same time everything is already preordained by God from all eternity; then otherwise, God wouldn’t be God: he would be determined by our actions rather than decide himself things of infinite importance like the salvation or damnation of souls. If we are predestined God, like an omnipotent mother, will steer us toward salvation, motivating us to perform salvific acts, etc. In turn, one that performs these acts can see them as a reasonable indication that he is being steered toward a good death (“final perseverance”, the grace of all graces).

Yes, a mother would not allow her child to freely choose hell. But then, this is why we say “God the Father”, and know that the God of the Christian isn’t the sugary “get-out-of-jail-card for everyone” some Proddies would want us to believe He is. God is terrible in his punishment, and wonderful in His love. His justice and His mercy, together, are His goodness. We can’t fully understand the inner working of this goodness, because we … aren’t God. But that’s what it is. God never told us we only have to “luv” and everything will be fine. Actually, Christianity shows that the contrary is the case.

Mundabor

Salvation, Predestination, Reprobation, And Free Will.

Dies Irae, Dies Illa...

Dies irae, dies illa…

I wrote this comment very late at night, reacting to the request of a reader. It being very late, and not wanting to write a complicated piece, I managed to say all that is – I think – important in a way that can be read and digested rather rapidly. The advantages of being tired, and not having time.

I have re-read this, and found it in order. So much so, that I have decided to post it as autonomous post, and put it in my “Vademecum” (see the bar above). 

I hope you’ll find it useful. The text follows below, with little modifications for comprehension. 

————————————————————————————–

Ah, that’s a complicated issue. I have wanted to write very often, but it’s very complex. It’s also very late, so forgive me if I say something stupid.

In three words, Calvinists (and in a way their Catholic fans, the Jansenists) believed that God makes some **to be damned**. Once born a reprobate, one is irresistibly screwed. End of story. There’s nothing he can do. He will go to hell, period. Sorry mate, yes, please go down that warm corridor…

Catholicism believes that God makes, said very brutally, two kind of people: the predestined and the reprobates. To the first He gives **efficacious** grace, meaning that they will be irresistibly led by Him toward salvation. To the seconds He gives **sufficient** grace, that is: a grace really sufficient to be saved, but that the reprobates nevertheless do not use, choosing of their own will to behave and think in a way that ends up meriting them hell.

No one, therefore, goes to hell who really has not himself to blame for it. At the same time, no one who avoids hell can boast of his goodness. All graces and all goodness come from God, so for every prayer, for every work of mercy, for every salvific act we do not really have the right to boast that “we did it”, though in a way we do really want to pray etc.

What happens is that we do want to act freely, because God inspired us to, freely, act in that way. Think of a mother who knows her child so well she knows what she must do to motivate him to do his homework, though in the end the child really is the one who wants to do his homework. This subtle, but irresistible influence of the efficacious grace is called, if memory serves, “physical premotion” (in the sense, always if memory serves, that it prompts to real, physical action on our part).

The mystery of predestination (one flip of the coin) is therefore fairly easy to grasp: God gives us efficacious grace, and this grace – like the mother above – irresistibly motivates us to, so to speak, do our homework. We do want, because God wants. Still, we do fully want. When God wants one to be saved, He will take care that the chap does not die in a state of mortal sin, giving him the efficacious grace necessary to the purpose. Again, he (the chap) will have nothing to boast about: without God’s help, he would have been nowhere, or rather in hell.

Things become far more terrible when we see the other flip of the coin: the reprobates. The reprobates freely choose (operative word here is “freely”) to think and behave in a way that merits them hell (though they might not even believe in hell); and they do so notwithstanding the fact that they have sufficient graces (the operative words here is “sufficient”; actually, more than sufficient) to avoid hell. But they do not do it and God **allows** them not to do it, and to deserve their punishment. Punishment that is, then, fully deserved, and entirely merited by their own thoughts, actions or omissions.

Why does God do this? Why does he infallibly decide, out of all eternity, that Titius *has to* be saved and will therefore irresistibly be attracted toward salvific acts, and Caius will, out of all eternity, be **allowed** to damn himself? Why one is born a reprobate, and another a predestined? This is a mystery we will only know – and not in its entirety, not in the way God knows it – when we die.

Still, we can throw some light on it even in this life. St. Thomas Aquinas said that every goodness comes from God, because God is the very source of everything that is good. Therefore, those who are exceptionally good (like St. Francis, or Padre Pio) are exceptionally loved. Conversely, there is no other reason why some are better than the fact that they are more loved. Some, God loves so much that he will never allow them to go to hell (giving them efficacious graces), or He will in rare cases even allow them to become, **out of their own will**, great saints; some others, he will still love enough to give them more than sufficient graces to save themselves, but he will **allow** them to choose evil instead. St. Thomas said that this must be so in order for the goodness of God to be revealed. God’s goodness is both mercy and justice. In those whom he saves, he shows His mercy (remember: the graces are unmerited, and purely due to God’s love), and in those whom he damns, he shows His justice. He does not do any injustice to anyone, he simply gives more than it is just to the predestined, without being unjust in any way to the reprobates. Difficult to chew for our egalitarian society, but that’s how it is.

Think to David Cameron. He has all the instruments to decide. He freely chooses the path to hell. Unless he repents, hell is what he will have freely chosen and fully merited. But if he repents, this is because of the efficacious grace of God. If he doesn’t, this is notwithstanding the (fully, and more than) sufficient grace he has received.

“Fine (or rather not!)”, you will say. “How can one know whether he is a predestined or a reprobate?” Well one can’t, of course. If we could, we would know for certain who is sent upstairs and downstairs. But as we are each and every one of us fully in charge of our own destiny (herein lies the real, ultimate crux: that one is full in charge, and STILL nothing happens against the divine decree: the reprobates will go to hell, and the predestined to purgatory or straight to heaven) we can see in our lives signs of predestination, or signs of reprobation, that are indications as to the possible destination of a person. Being born and baptised a Catholic has always been considered a great sign of predestination, which is probably why Catholic countries have historically always been more relaxed about hell than Protestant ones. Praying every day is another sign. Having masses said for one is another one. Having prayers said for one’s own salvation is another one, as are works of mercy. Praying the Rosary devoutly every day is a great sign of predestination (which is why I always insist on it), and so on.

In the end, we are in full control of our destiny, but at the same time everything is already preordained by God from all eternity; then otherwise, God wouldn’t be God: he would be determined by our actions rather than decide himself things of infinite importance like the salvation or damnation of souls. If we are predestined God, like an omnipotent mother, will steer us toward salvation, motivating us to perform salvific acts, etc. In turn, one that performs these acts can see them as a reasonable indication that he is being steered toward a good death (“final perseverance”, the grace of all graces).

Yes, a mother would not allow her child to freely choose hell. But then, this is why we say “God the Father”, and know that the God of the Christian isn’t the sugary “get-out-of-jail-card for everyone” some Proddies would want us to believe He is. God is terrible in his punishment, and wonderful in His love. His justice and His mercy, together, are His goodness. We can’t fully understand the inner working of this goodness, because we … aren’t God. But that’s what it is. God never told us we only have to “luv” and everything will be fine. Actually, Christianity shows that the contrary is the case.

Mundabor

Reprobation In Action

St Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor, knew a thing or two about Reprobation.

 

The mystery of reprobation is one of the darkest but profoundest aspects of Christianity; one in which, as it has been beautifully written, the light of God is so powerful that the human mind cannot grasp it, and therefore perceives it as obscurity. At the same time, this obscurity allows us to better grasp – at least confusedly – the vastness of God’s infinite power, and to better abandon ourselves to God’s mercy.

Still, the observing mind cannot avoid looking around and seeing how the world around him corresponds in actual fact to what he has learnt.

We are, then, infallibly taught God allows a number of people sufficient grace (hence the name) to attain salvation, but without giving them that kind of gentle but factually irresistible grace (called efficacious grace) able to infallibly lead them toward salvation.

This means that those provided merely with sufficient grace all (as in: all) end up in hell, because in God what is willed is realised also, and therefore once God has decreed that Titius will be saved, said Titius will be provided, in addition to the sufficient grace given to all, with that efficacious grace that will infallibly lead him to salvation.

This simple concept leaves one initially rather baffled: God wants all to be saved (in abstract) but allows some to merit damnation out of their free will, by actuating a behaviour and espousing a way of thinking that is entirely of their own doing, and for which therefore they themselves, and not God, are entirely responsible.

Would not an infinitely merciful God allow all to be saved? No, because the goodness of God is revealed both in His mercy and in His justice. At the appointed time, everyone will see God’s mercy and justice perfectly explained and put in practice in himself as well as everyone else: that those who have been saved have been saved because of God’s mercy, and those who have been damned have been damned because of God’s justice, in a punishment they have completely deserved and, so to speak, made entirely out of their own hands.

How can, therefore, people choose in such a way as to merit reprobation? Well, look around you! Think first of all those who very openly and very publicly defy God’s laws, and you’ll have few doubts. But please think further. All those people who think it “cool” to have “gay friends” and can’t avoid mentioning them in the usual non-judgmental context, what are they doing if not entirely espousing perversion in their heart, if admittedly not in their physical behaviour? Have they not already turned their back to God in the most grievous way? Are they not accessory in sin, and very consciously so, every day of their life? How many of them are aware – at least with a sufficient degree of discernment – that the God of the Christians is completely opposed to such perversions, and considers them abominations, but insist in thinking God’s laws rather stupid, “outdated”, plain wrong, or entirely bonkers? Have they not made a choice; a fully conscious one; one taken in the full, or at least sufficient awareness of it being in frontal conflict with the God of the Christians? Where will they hide when the time comes?

The list of such people is very long, and is becoming longer by the day as Satan’s deadly virus of “inclusiveness” metastasises and spreads into the very fabric of our once Christian societies. Nor can in this matter be opposed the argument that “invincible ignorance” is at play: firstly because Christian opposition is still spread enough that almost no one could claim lack of awareness of it – actually, even all Hindu and Muslim colleagues I ever had were perfectly aware of that – and secondly, but crucially, because in such matters we have to deal with natural law, that is: with notions of what is right and wrong that God has put in everyone of us, and that do not admit a plea of ignorance. Everyone who is not eked by perversion is, to a degree, already perverted; better said, has already allowed himself to be so.

Now, think again of what we have reasoned above: that a number of people are provided by God with sufficient (actually: more than sufficient) grace to avoid damnation; but that they, entirely out of their own will, put themselves in a position of such opposition to God’s law that, unless repentance occurs (because of God’s grace: the source of all good) they will merit hell and experience God’s justice for everyone to see. Again, the reprobates deserve their punishment entirely. Millions do it daily, entirely out of their own free will. When confronted with God’s teaching they will insist, in more or less eloquent words, that God is wrong and they are right. They will, every day of their lives, worship the golden calf of the secular societies, “inclusiveness” and “acceptance” of every perversion in a twisted – nay, perverted – concept of tolerance, and a cruel parody of charity. It’s not necessary to attend to black masses to go to hell. Being in agreement with Satan at the moment of death is more than sufficient.

Reprobates are all around us, and in this generation it appears they are taking the upper hand in many Western, and certainly in almost all Anglo-Saxon societies (this means, seen from the other side of the coin, that God allows many reprobates to operate in these disgraceful times). We have no certainty about who is going to be saved or damned and can therefore – in the individual case – not have any certainty of any one person’s damnation, or of our own very much hoped, and daily prayed for, salvation come to that. Still, the Church teaches that there are signs of reprobation and signs of predestination, and it isn’t difficult even for an atheist to grasp the fact that if God exists, then Padre Pio always was a safer bet for salvation than Gore Vidal.

Every day now I see reprobation in action, as the number of those not caring to openly deny or defy God’s laws reaches the millions only in this once great United Kingdom. Some of them will, no doubt, be saved by a merciful God who will efficaciously help them to repentance at some point before they die; but it is a very reasonable assumption (and consistently supported by the smartest theologians before V II) that a great number of those who live in defiance of God and have not shown any sign of reformation also die in the same defiance (a defiance entirely chosen and willed in its content, though certainly undesired in its consequences), and pay the price of their folly.

Satan will get a huge harvest out of this sudden love for sodomy the West has developed in its madness. At the same time, ultimately not one of those who God wills to save will be lost because of the snares of the devil, and those who damn themselves will be the sole responsible for their own destiny.

We, who hope to be saved one day, will continue to fight our battle and stick to the Faith of our fathers, in the very reasonable hope that the words of the Dies Irae will be true for us:

Confutatis maledictis

Flammis acribus addictis

Voca me cum benedictis

Mundabor

Probability Of Salvation Made (Almost…) Easy

Garrigou-Lagrange in action..

Garrigou-Lagrange in action..

One of the differences a Southern European notices with the Anglo-Saxon attitude is the different approach to hell. In this respect, Anglo-Saxons tend in my experience to belong either to the extreme “hell is probably empty” (heretical) faction, or else to tend towards a Puritanical view of a general carnage which only a few manage to escape. 

In Southern Europe we traditionally had a different approach, thinking rather that whilst the matter of salvation is serious, the fear of The Lord, the nearness to the Sacraments and a loving trust in the Blessed Virgin’s help would help, in the end, very many to avoid the worst. This is, I think, the reason why Catholic societies are seen as too rigid and hypocritically harsh from Anglo-Saxon liberals, whilst they are considered scandalous places full of sinners who just don’t care and are left alone by a permissive and corrupted Church from the Protestants and it is, in fact, reported the young JH Newman was utterly scandalised at the immorality he saw in Rome, an environment which was, at least for the working classes (as made immortal by the sonnets of Giuseppe Gioachino Belli) rather different from the environment he was accustomed to. 

This is seen also, I dare say, in the matter of, let us call it so, the salvation numbers, often seen with great pessimism in colder climates and generally seen in a more relaxed way by the, well, more relaxed Catholic cultures (this is another thing I always notice in Northern European: they tend to seem always strangely tense at some level…).  

I have been wondering for a while whether this different attitude is something merely cultural, or whether it would be shared by prominent theologians of the recent past; obviously from times above suspicion, then what happened after V II is not even worth being googled.  

On the excellent Ite ad Thomam blog we find a very interesting excerpt from the great Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, who interestingly enough echoes the perception of Christian societies in which I grew up. In short: it was widely believed the majority of even adult Catholics should manage to scrape through with the help of “their saints in Paradise”; the Proddies were thought to be already in non indifferent trouble; and the Heathens in serious trouble. 

It would, therefore, seem if one is a Catholic grown in a Catholic country and accustomed to all the Catholic way of life, one should be fine in the end, obtaining the grace of final repentance. 

There are, though, differences to consider: the society in which I grew up (and which was probably already in some state of decomposition compared to Garrigou-Lagrange’s one) basically did not contemplate the idea of not belonging to the Church, and non-baptism was virtually non-existent among those who weren’t, say, Jews. You see that also in the language, where “Christian” is used a synonymous for “person”, and “baptism name”  means “first name”. Therefore, their sunny, Italian/French/Spaniard/Portuguese optimism was based on a society completely taken over by a broadly Catholic culture, and formed in a world where truly even atheists would share most of the Church’s values, and would be often either ashamed of not believing, or not desirous of telling they aren’t. Who knows how many “last-minute efforts” were crowned with success in such an environment…

What the very same Garrigou-Lagrange would say of the Italy, or France of today is more difficult to discern: whilst still largely present in those countries, traditional Catholic values progressively lose grip, as they have been transmitted more by parents than by priests for now 50 years; parents who are now dying, and dying clearly without the success a motivated professional clergy would have had. In the meantime, Atheists have become angrier, and even Catholics less Catholic; many churchgoers of today probably understand much less of Christianity than most agnostics of 100 years ago; which made the agnostic more likely to be recovered in his old age than the modern “catholics” more likely to turn to Kabbalah, or New Age wannabe spirituality…    

I doubt our theologian would be so optimistic if he visited those countries today. He would probably restrict his optimistic assumption to certain strata of the population, rather than generically talking of “adult Catholics”. Say, how many millions adults Catholics do not care that their children are baptised? What would our great man say of their salvation prospects?  

Which question leads us very neatly to the last point of this post: Vatican II with all its opening to the world has aggiornato Catholic Europe so much, that in it nowadays many more are at grave risk of damnation than in pre-V II times. So much so, that Countries once solidly in the hand of Catholicism are now growing a generation of unbaptised, religiously indifferent people to whom Christian values are at the most object for examination, and then approval or rejection according to personal convictions. It will not be long before the chances of salvation of the majority of them will not be bigger than if they had been born in a Protestant Country. 

I wouldn’t want to be the member of the clergy, no matter how high his position, who dies having actively contributed to all this.

Mundabor

 

 

 

 

 

On The Rosary – Again!

Our Lady of Pompeii. Notice the object in the Blessed Lady's hand..

I have often written about the Rosary and I will continue to do in the future, as I think that the Rosary is the most beautiful weapon (after the Mass) in the armoury of the Catholic and the motorway to salvation even for the, well, more difficult cases.

EWTN has on its website a short-ish but well-made explanation of this devotion with both a short historical excursus and some briefly but convincingly outlined arguments of why we should pray the Rosary.

I’d add to them that the devotion to the Rosary for one’s entire life has been described by the Virgin Mary as a sign of predestination. In short, this means that developing the habit of devoutly reciting the Rosary will have as effect that Mary’s intercession and the work of the Holy Ghost will allow us to die in the state of grace.

I can’t stress enough how important this is in the life and in the economy of salvation of every faithful. The daily recitation of the Rosary – and the many promises attached to it, most importantly the one outlined above – will help the faithful to get some serenity if they tend to have scruples, to look with confidence at moral improvement and at a good death if they are alarmingly sinful – and perhaps tending to desperation – and to give a quiet confidence and a beautiful, serene hope to all the others.

In very simple words, the practice of the devout recitation of the Rosary is the way a Catholic makes his salvation – to express oneself very bluntly – in some way “irrefutable”. If he perseveres in this devotional habit, Mary’s intercession and the Holy Ghost’s work in him will invariably lead him to a point where he improves his ways at least to the extent that the mercy of God does not deny him salvation. It doesn’t mean that one will become a saintly man, nor that this process will be a gradual or a visible one, nor that a long and painful sojourn in Purgatory will in this way be automatically avoided. Similarly, it is not like going to the gym every day, with the results being soon visible in direct proportion to the regularity and earnestness of the effort. Rather, it is like working every day to the building of an invisible shield with the promise that – if we persevere in this work like honest craftsmen – the shield is guaranteed to be, at the moment of death, strong enough to avoid Satan wounding one’s soul to the point of damnation.

It is, in a sense, a minimum guarantee concerning what is, in everyone’s life, the matter of most importance.

For this reason not only the importance of the habit of praying the rosary can never be sufficiently stressed, but at the same time the benefit of transmitting this knowledge within one’s own circle of relatives or acquaintances appears evident. For example, parents could make an effort to instil in their young children the habit of praying the Rosary every day at the same time as they decide to acquire this habit for themselves; even if there is no guarantee that these children, once grown, will keep the habit it is highly probable that one day – when life’s troubles knock at their door, as they invariably do – they’ll remember the experience and perhaps recover a great patrimony for themselves.

The Rosary is truly, truly important. So important that, in my eyes, it should be looked at with the same sense of importance with which mass attendance is observed, but with the notable difference that a daily rosary recitation is easier to achieve than mass attendance and the failure to attend to this devotion is therefore, so to speak, less easily excusable. I mean by this that one can pray the Rosary even on many of those occasion when he is not in a position to attend Mass: say, when ill or travelling.

If one is honest with oneself, he’ll notice that he does have the time to pray during the day, or before going to bed. As always, it is a matter of priorities and if one discovers that he can’t find 20 minutes for prayer in 16-18 hours of waking time, well this is a clear sign that his priorities are in dire need of re-adjustment! Conversely, if one decides that the daily recitation of the rosary does have priority he’ll soon discover that the opportunities to recite it are in a normal day – and if necessary by splitting the rosary in a decade or more at the time, as one is allowed to do – aplenty.

Forgive me, therefore, for coming back to the same argument again and again. If there is an issue worth of being repeated, it is this one. I also allow myself to stress the benefit of daily recitation of the rosary because – at least for me – this is the only way to make it work. It is in my eyes very difficult to take the decision to pray the Rosary, say, “three times a week” and stick to it, as irregularity of practice facilitates forgetfulness and mañana-attitude. Much easier is it, I think, to make of the rosary a daily habit. No forgetfulness, and no mañanas…..

Devout Mass attendance and devout Rosary recitation are God’s and Mary’s double whammy against Satan’s snares. You do these two and the rest will come to you by itself in the same way as if you leave your front door open in winter cold will unavoidably get in. By devoutly attending Mass and reciting the Rosary, you open the door to Heaven moulding you in such a way that Satan won’t win, guaranteed.

There’s no better deal in your life, no investment with a higher yield, no pleasure or joy that can compare with this.

Start taking the habit of praying the rosary every day. One day you’ll be so glad you did it.

Mundabor

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