Perfection and Doctors of the Church: Peter Canisius
In this last post on Canisius, I want to concentrate on the overlap between free will, sin, and perfection.
As all Catholics are called to perfection, one must ask the rather obvious question as to why not all pursue or reach perfection.
Some people think that saints are different than ordinary people. Yes and no. Grace is what make an ordinary person extraordinary.
In a small section from Canisius'A Summary of Christian Doctrine, Canisius states that a reason why people not only persist in serious sin, but eventually end up damned, is that they refuse to listen to truth.
This refusal is hardly addressed by priests from the pulpit or in books. Refusal to repent is one of the sins against the Holy Spirit, writes Canisius.
What doe this mean and what does this entail? Refusal to repent or a hard-heartedness simply means that a person has been presented with a truth of the Catholic Church, but either persists in serious sins, or worse, does not even want to listen. We have free will to repent, change, accept grace and move into the purgation or perfection stage. And, if a habit of rebellion and stubborness persists, one loses the ability to discern. Canisius was writing at a time when Protestantism was gaining huge ground in all levels of society.
His efforts to show that justice and righteousness are possible for all include his efforts to show the dangers of persistent sin.
No purgation, no purification, no road to perfection.
Repentance and orthodoxy first. Then the life of virtues can kick in.
Canisius looks carefully at the Cardinal Virtues as great helps in maintaining the journey to perfection. It is all about choices and free will. Make the right choices.