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 Post subject: Grace
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2022 6:50 am 
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If God wills all men to go to heaven, then does that mean those who achieve this goal, do so because of "regular" grace (for lack of a better term)? Or rather, does God give them "extra" grace?

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 Post subject: Re: Grace
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2022 1:24 pm 
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Peetem wrote:
If God wills all men to go to heaven, then does that mean those who achieve this goal, do so because of "regular" grace (for lack of a better term)? Or rather, does God give them "extra" grace?


All men receive sanctifying or saving grace -- the grace that makes it possible to go to heaven. But men also have free will and can, through their own choice and acts deny themselves entry into Heaven.


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 Post subject: Re: Grace
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2022 3:35 pm 
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Peetem wrote:
If God wills all men to go to heaven, then does that mean those who achieve this goal, do so because of "regular" grace (for lack of a better term)? Or rather, does God give them "extra" grace?

The controversy over Grace has never been resolved, so according to where we sit now there are taken to be at least two orthodox ways to answer your question. The Molinists believe that Predestination is after and because of foreseen merits, meaning that God sees what one would do in all variety of given circumstances, and predestines one accordingly. The Thomists teach that Predestination is prior to foreseen merits, meaning Predestination is wholly gratuitous, and then having elected some, God gives them the path to walk. On neither view are all men Predestined to grace or glory. ("Predestined to grace" would mean being justified through baptism for a time, "Predestined to glory" means eventually actually reaching Heaven: obviously, we do not believe that all who are predestined to grace are also predestined to glory, since we can turn our backs on God.)

The "kinds" of grace involved in the two systems are also different. The Thomists believe in intrinsically efficacious grace, whereby God causes us to freely respond to the offered grace. The Molinists do not believe in intrinsically efficacious grace: on their view, God offers sufficient grace to all, and then they may or may not freely respond to it. If they do respond, then that grace can be described after the fact as efficacious, but if not, then it cannot be so described. Its efficacy is not intrinsic to it, but depends on the recipient. So while in each story, everyone gets sufficient grace and not everyone gets efficacious grace, the mechanics are completely different.

It's been...a decade?...since I read or taught about this, so I'm sure I'm both leaving out detail and getting things wrong. Check out Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange's Predestination for a super great technical discussion.

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 Post subject: Re: Grace
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2022 4:47 pm 
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The common presumption these days, which is *not* correct, is that God makes the same offer of grace to everyone and then predestines those who accept. We can see that the Blessed Virgin Mary didn't get the same offer of grace as everyone else, so God does not treat everyone equally. How He goes about it is one of those things that He just hasn't told us.

Note that both schools the pickle mentions would agree with that.

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 Post subject: Re: Grace
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2022 11:49 pm 
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Thank you Fr. and the pickle for your responses; much to ponder here…

Needless to say, this is depressing. When I read “Will Many Be Saved” and think about the subject of Grace, I’m having a really tough time reconciling God’s love with the commonly held belief that most are damned.

I’m sure everything will “click” eventually….

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 Post subject: Re: Grace
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2022 8:43 am 
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I don't know that the Church has ever taught that most will be damned. I think, unlike some of our friendly neighborhood universalists, that there is no room for plausible doubts about the fact that our Lord taught that some would be damned. I think what you need to remember is that God is both far more just and far more loving than you are, so if it makes sense to him, it certainly makes sense. There's nothing depressing about that. Remember, nobody could possibly deserve heaven. Think how gratuitous it all is.

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 Post subject: Re: Grace
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2022 11:50 am 
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gherkin wrote:
I don't know that the Church has ever taught that most will be damned. I think, unlike some of our friendly neighborhood universalists, that there is no room for plausible doubts about the fact that our Lord taught that some would be damned. I think what you need to remember is that God is both far more just and far more loving than you are, so if it makes sense to him, it certainly makes sense. There's nothing depressing about that. Remember, nobody could possibly deserve heaven. Think how gratuitous it all is.


Yeah, I know these things to be true. But the Church hasn’t said much about many things.

But Jesus said broad is the road to destruction and many Doctor Saints of the Church have said most are damned. And when I read other theological opinions, they draw the same conclusion.

But even as a thought exercise, let’s suppose the number of damned is low (< 5%), the idea that if God could provide extra graces to help them not be damned, if He loves them, why wouldn’t He just do that?

So I’m just working through this subject cautiously…but as I do I get bummed and concerned.

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 Post subject: Re: Grace
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2022 12:25 pm 
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Have you ever read Dante?

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 Post subject: Re: Grace
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2022 2:17 pm 
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Peetem wrote:
But even as a thought exercise, let’s suppose the number of damned is low (< 5%), the idea that if God could provide extra graces to help them not be damned, if He loves them, why wouldn’t He just do that?

So I’m just working through this subject cautiously…but as I do I get bummed and concerned.

I dunno. It's the same God who came to suffer and die for our sins that we're talking about here. I kind of feel like I don't have to understand why he'd allow some to be reprobate. I don't hesitate to suggest to you, if you're finding this subject worrisome, that you find a new subject. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Grace
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2022 10:57 pm 
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Zeno wrote:
Have you ever read Dante?


I haven’t.

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 Post subject: Re: Grace
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2022 10:59 pm 
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gherkin wrote:
Peetem wrote:
But even as a thought exercise, let’s suppose the number of damned is low (< 5%), the idea that if God could provide extra graces to help them not be damned, if He loves them, why wouldn’t He just do that?

So I’m just working through this subject cautiously…but as I do I get bummed and concerned.

I dunno. It's the same God who came to suffer and die for our sins that we're talking about here. I kind of feel like I don't have to understand why he'd allow some to be reprobate. I don't hesitate to suggest to you, if you're finding this subject worrisome, that you find a new subject. :)


Thanks for the advice.

It’s just something I’m working through. As the father of six, when half of them have left the faith they were raised, you start to think about things.

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 Post subject: Re: Grace
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2022 8:27 am 
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Peetem wrote:
It’s just something I’m working through. As the father of six, when half of them have left the faith they were raised, you start to think about things.

I hear you, but there's no reason for you to suppose they'll be among the reprobate, whatever it may look like to you now from the outside. :pray:

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 Post subject: Re: Grace
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2022 8:54 am 
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gherkin wrote:
Peetem wrote:
It’s just something I’m working through. As the father of six, when half of them have left the faith they were raised, you start to think about things.

I hear you, but there's no reason for you to suppose they'll be among the reprobate, whatever it may look like to you now from the outside. :pray:


Yeah, I know that too. But it’s still good to hear others say it. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Grace
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2022 11:53 am 
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Peetem wrote:
Zeno wrote:
Have you ever read Dante?


I haven’t.

I would recommend it. Last year I did 100 days of Dante ( 100daysofdante.com ) and found it a great experience. Most of the cantos are short and the lectures are generally about 10 minutes so it is broken into something that can be taken in bites. (also most of the lecturers though not all Catholic were good - a couple not so much but I expect you will know them when you see them :D ).

For me one of the big takeaways was how different the souls in the Inferno were from those in Purgatorio. All sinners, the same sins, but the utter lack of repentance in the Inferno, how the souls made a choice to pursue whatever sin and still clung to it even in the midst of the eternal suffering earned by that choice, was to me striking. It helped me feel more comfortable with the kind of questions you are asking here.

Just a thought.

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 Post subject: Re: Grace
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2022 7:52 pm 
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Zeno wrote:
Peetem wrote:
Zeno wrote:
Have you ever read Dante?


I haven’t.

I would recommend it. Last year I did 100 days of Dante ( 100daysofdante.com ) and found it a great experience. Most of the cantos are short and the lectures are generally about 10 minutes so it is broken into something that can be taken in bites. (also most of the lecturers though not all Catholic were good - a couple not so much but I expect you will know them when you see them :D ).

For me one of the big takeaways was how different the souls in the Inferno were from those in Purgatorio. All sinners, the same sins, but the utter lack of repentance in the Inferno, how the souls made a choice to pursue whatever sin and still clung to it even in the midst of the eternal suffering earned by that choice, was to me striking. It helped me feel more comfortable with the kind of questions you are asking here.

Just a thought.


I’ll give it a listen.

I must admit, I’m finding comfort that so many others have struggled with this subject too.

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 Post subject: Re: Grace
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2022 2:59 pm 
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At least IMHO, this is the biggest unresolved question in theology.

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 Post subject: Re: Grace
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2022 10:01 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
At least IMHO, this is the biggest unresolved question in theology.


Do you see any indication it will be answered?

The more I read, the more I find I’m not the only person troubled. I’ve even found Protestants who struggle with this subject (primarily Presbyterian).

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 Post subject: Re: Grace
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2022 1:09 pm 
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When Andrew Jackson lay dying, his friends, family and servants were gathered around him. He passed away and someone said, "Do you think General Jackson has gone to heaven?"

And one of his servants said, "If Ginral Jackson wants to go to Heaven, who's gonna stop him?"


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 Post subject: Re: Grace
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2022 8:52 pm 
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Peetem wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
At least IMHO, this is the biggest unresolved question in theology.


Do you see any indication it will be answered?

The more I read, the more I find I’m not the only person troubled. I’ve even found Protestants who struggle with this subject (primarily Presbyterian).

No. I don't think that God has revealed enough. It might be something that's beyond our capacity to understand.

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 Post subject: Re: Grace
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2022 10:06 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Peetem wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
At least IMHO, this is the biggest unresolved question in theology.


Do you see any indication it will be answered?

The more I read, the more I find I’m not the only person troubled. I’ve even found Protestants who struggle with this subject (primarily Presbyterian).

No. I don't think that God has revealed enough. It might be something that's beyond our capacity to understand.


Thanks Fr. Makes total sense.

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