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Thursday, 1 January 2015

Reviewing Justice and Mercy in Slavery of the Will; Freedom of the Will Part Seven

Last year, I wrote about predestination, going through some points of Garrigou-Lagrange's book. Here are some notes from that book and Providence, also unpacked on this blog.

One of the problems with the thinkers at the Synod is confusion about justice and mercy. Again, I find this confusion in comments made by two cardinals especially, names withheld.

If you are interested in pursuing this point, read this page, and my previous posts.

I want to make a small comment on justice and mercy, again somewhat of a repeat of things on the blog in the past.

Here is Garrigou-Lagrange on justice and mercy. First, we realize that justice makes up for horrible injustices on earth. This is clear to most of us. But, when it comes to pastoral decisions, such as those coming out of the Synod, the two virtues, or rather, attributes of God have been confused. What has been set aside in the discussions in Rome has indicated that some of the cardinals lack faith.


When one lacks faith in Providence, one sets aside the salvific merit of intense suffering. How many people who could have been called to saintliness have not followed that path as they have avoided, indeed, run away from suffering?

Those in an irregular marriage do not want to face the suffering necessary for justice to work out one's salvation.

Those with homosexual tendencies do not want to face a life of celibacy and even loneliness, which many heterosexuals who do not fornicate and give up consolations do.

Justice demands righteousness and this is being forgotten in Rome.

Providence and justice combine in this present life to give us whatever is necessary to reach our true destiny: that is, to enable us to live an upright life, to know God in a supernatural way, to love and to serve Him, and so obtain eternal life.
There is a great inequality, no doubt, in circumstances, natural and supernatural, among men here on earth. Some are rich, others are poor; some are possessed of great natural gifts, whereas others are of a thankless disposition, weak in health, of a melancholy temperament. But God never commands the impossible; no one is tempted beyond his strength reinforced by the grace offered him. The savage of Central Africa or Central America has received far less than we have; but if he does what he can to follow the dictates of conscience, Providence will lead him on from grace to grace and eventually to a happy death; for him eternal life is possible of attainment. Jesus died for all men, and among those who have the use of reason only those are deprived of the grace necessary for salvation who by their resistance reject it. Since He never commands the impossible, God offers to all the means necessary for salvation.

Moreover, not infrequently providence and justice will make up for the inequality in natural conditions by their distribution of supernatural gifts. Often the poor man in his simplicity will be more pleasing to God than the rich man, and will receive greater graces. Let us recall the parable of the wicked rich man recorded in St. Luke (16: 19-31) :There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and feasted sumptuously every day. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, who lay at his gate, full of sores, desiring to be filled with the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table. And no one did give him: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass that the beggar died and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom. And the rich man also died.... And lifting up his eyes when he was in torments, he saw Abraham... and he cried and said: Father Abraham, have mercy on me.... And Abraham said to him; Son, remember that thou didst receive good things in thy lifetime, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted and thou art tormented.
This is to declare in effect that, where natural conditions are unequal, providence and justice will sometimes make up for it in the distribution of natural gifts. Again, the Gospel beatitudes tell us that one who is bereft of this world's enjoyments will in some cases feel more powerfully drawn to the joys of the interior life. This is what our Lord would have us understand when He says: "Blessed are the poor in spirit.... Blessed are the meek... that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." [138]
The love of Jesus goes out to those servants of His nailed to the cross, because then they are more like Him through the effective oblation they make of their entire being for the salvation of sinners. In them He continues to live; in them He may be said to prolong down to the end of time His own prayers and sufferings, and above all His love, for perfect love consists in the complete surrender of self.
For some there comes a time when every road in life is barred against them; humanly speaking, the future holds out no prospect whatever to them. In some cases this is the moment when the call comes to something higher. Some there are who spend long years confined to a bed of pain; for these henceforth there is no way open but the way of holiness. [139]
And so providence and justice, while giving to each one what is strictly necessary, will often make up for any disparity in natural conditions by the bestowal of grace. They reward us, even in this life, for the merits we have gained, reminding us, too, of our solemn duties by salutary warnings and well-deserved corrections, which are no more than medicinal punishments for the purpose of bringing us back into the right path. In this way will a mother correct her child if she loves it with a really enlightened, ardent love. When these salutary corrections are well received, we make expiation for our sins, and God takes the opportunity of inspiring us with a more sincere humility and a purer, stronger love. There is a sharp distinction between souls according to their willingness or unwillingness to listen to these warnings from God.

If this solid doctrinal thinking was present in the making of the synodal document, we would see a different emphasis on holiness, through justice.

That mercy is seemingly extended indicates a great deception among some of the leaders. Such a deceit damns souls to eternal loss of God in heaven. The great Dominican writes of disorder and conscious disorder. Those in sin want to change the rules so that the Church accepts sin. Are these people being told the truth of the state of their immortal souls, which is a lack of justice?

A false mercy rises out of all the heresies covered today.

Here is Garrigou-Lagrange again:

Justice will then mete out condign punishment for sins committed, to last for a time or for eternity. Mortal sin still unrepented at the moment of death will be henceforth like an incurable disease, but in something that cannot die, the immortal soul. The sinner has turned his back unrepentantly on the sovereign good, has in practice denied its infinite dignity as the last end, and has failed to revoke this practical denial while there was yet time. It is an irreparable disorder and a conscious one. Remorse is there, but without repentance; pride and rebellion will continue forever and with them the punishment they deserve. But above all it involves the perpetual loss of the divine life of grace and the vision of God, of supreme bliss, the sinner clearly realizing that through his own fault he has failed forever to attain his destined end. 

May I add that the Dominican points out that absolution for our sins is Mercy from God. We do not merit any of the sacraments. which brings me back to the Synod.

The reception of the sacraments is a mercy based on justice. One cannot separate the two concepts.

The grace of absolution from mortal sin is not something that can be merited, it is a gratuitous gift. And how often has that grace been granted us!
Again, by no merit of ours could we obtain the grace of communion; it is the fruit of the sacrament of the Eucharist, which of itself produces that grace within us, even daily if we wish. And how many communions has not the divine mercy granted us! Let us bear in mind that if we are faithful in fighting against all attachment to venial sin, each successive communion becomes substantially more fervent than the last, since each successive communion must not only preserve but increase charity within us, thus disposing us to receive our Lord on the morrow with a substantial fervor, a readiness of desire not merely the same but more intense.

Garrigou-Lagrange also points out that those raised Catholic have been given already a great Mercy, by being given the truth and grace. To turn against these constitutes a serious rebellion against what one knows to be true.