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Thursday, 1 January 2015

Slavery of the Will; Freedom of the Will Part Two

Heroes of the Synod
A slave can decide to run away from his master. Free will is free. And, supernatural grace informs the will.

That so many liberals deny free will shows that they are Semis. They also believe that naturally one can merit grace or do good works.

These ideas have been solidly condemned by the Church. In the Council of Trent, we see clearly the doctrine that Original Sin did not abolish free will. That we are made in the image and likeness of God is partly the reason why we have free will. We are made in the image and likeness of God also in our intellect, our reason.

In Original Sin, as St. Bernard states, we kept the image but lost the likeness, which is sanctifying grace.

To become depraved, through continual choosing sin, a man can become more animal like, and give his will over to demonic influences, infecting the will and the intellect. If one follows certain evil paths long enough, one could become completely enthralled by Satan, but one maintains free will.

But, the will is dependent on grace. Without grace, the will cannot choose good.

The confusion in the Synod fathers who maintain that there must be some good in gay relationships, going back to the reason for these posts, to show the Semis influence in the Synod, is a denial, again, of both prevenient and sanctifying graces.

When one is living in sin, one can do no supernatural works, none. This is the long teaching of the Church and highly logical. Such an idea provides a slam-dunk for gradualism, in that one must decide, make that metanoia choice to cooperate with prevenient grace in order to become holy.

Remember my posts on conversion.

Moving back to the idea of supernatural acts, one can see that without a life of grace, there is no merit, no good.

One cannot merit heaven through acts of nature, natural virtues do not bring merit which is why the Fathers of the Church insisted that pagans cannot merit heaven through natural goodness.

All merit comes from God through grace.

The will decides to cooperate or not. I hope readers can see who confused some of those who have prepare the documents are concerning good works and salvation.

We are only saved in Christ and not through good works. Thus, those who are living in sin cannot merit heaven.

As St. Augustine states over and over, all good acts come from grace. And, grace does not give us merely the potential for doing good works, but God's grace "does" the good works.

Now, one of the problems with those who have muddied the Synod waters is that they do not understand or believe in efficacious grace. God gives us all sufficient grace for conversion.

He gives us efficacious grace in the sacraments, that which makes one holy. Through grace, the will is moved to more and more holiness, seeking perfection, seeking union with God.  But, first we are justified in Christ through sanctifying grace, which is not actual grace. Here is Garrigou-Lagrange with a reminder of sanctifying grace.

The Council of Trent leaves no room for doubt on this point. Denzinger in hisEnchiridion sums up the definitions and declarations of the Church very correctly in the formula: “Habitual or sanctifying grace is distinct from actual grace (nos. 1064 ff .); it is an infused, inherent quality of the soul, by which man is formally justified (nos. 483, 792, 795, 799 ff., 809, 821, 898, 1042, 1063 ff.), is regenerated (nos. 102, 186), abides in Christ (nos. 197, 698), puts on a new man (no. 792), and becomes an heir to eternal life (nos. 792,799 ff .). Chapter 12.

Garrigou-Lagrange gives us Scriptural references to efficacious grace. Here are some from the same chapter and book as the previous quotation in Part One..

In the New Testament, too, we find: “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Therefore grace is not rendered efficacious through our consent; rather, on the contrary, without the grace of Christ we do not consent to the good conducive to salvation. “My sheep hear My voice . . . and I give them life everlasting and they shall not perish forever, and no man shall pluck them out of My hand. That which My Father hath given Me, is greater than all; and no one can snatch them out of the hand of My Father” (ibid., 10:27-29). That is to say, the souls of the just are in the hand of God, nor can the world with all its temptations nor the demon snatch the elect from the hand of God. Cf. St. Thomas’ commentary on this passage.  It reiterates the words of St. Paul: “Who then shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress or famine . . . or the sword?. . . But in all these things we overcome, because of [or through] Him that hath loved us. . . . For I am sure that neither death nor life . . . nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:35-39). St. Thomas comments here that either St. Paul is speaking in the person of the predestinate or, if of himself personally, then it was thanks to a special revelation. Elsewhere St. Paul writes: “Not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves, as of ourselves: but our sufficiency is from God” (II Cor. 3:5). If we are not sufficient to think anything conducive to salvation of ourselves, with still greater reason is this true of giving our consent, which is primary in the role of salvation. Again, “For the word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any two-edged sword; and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. . . . All things are naked and open to His eyes” (Heb. 4:12 f.). Cf. St. Thomas’ commentary: “The word of God is said to be effectual on account of the very great power and infinite effective force which it possesses. For by it are all things made: ‘By the word of the Lord the heavens were established’ (Ps. 32:6). . . . It effects in the innermost being of things . . . all our works . . . In the order of causes it is to be observed that a prior cause always acts more intimately than a subsequent cause.”
In Rom. 9:14-16 we read: “What shall we say then? Is there injustice in God? God forbid. For He saith to Moses: I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy; and I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy. So then it is not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” (cf. Exod. 33:19)1 To the Philippians, St. Paul writes: “With fear and trembling work out your salvation. For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to His good will” (2:13); hence the soul should fear sin or separation from God, the author of salvation; cf. St. Thomas’ commentary.

But, we see also the problem with some of the Synod fathers not understanding that there is no middle ground between sin and life in God, between the refusal of grace and the acceptance of grace.

In addition, and I blame the seminaries for not teaching Thomas Aquinas or Augustine all these years since the 1950s, there is great confusion concerning graces which are sufficient for salvation and those which are efficacious in making one holy. There is also confusion as to the reliance of the will on efficacious grace. Grace first, will a good measure of the true arguments.

It seems to me that some of the cardinals make no distinctions between living in and living out of grace. They seem to blur the idea of metanoia, of conversion, making it a long process, which the Church has never taught. The long process is that of perfection, of getting rid of sin and the tendencies to sin, not the original acceptance of faith and salvation. This is the part efficacious grace plays in one's life. One begins to see this through prayer, meditation and contemplation.

Why this confusion?

It seems to me that three heresies are informing these cardinals interpretations.

First, Pelagianism, second, Semi-Pelagianism, and third, Jansenism.

These heresies all hold deep contradictions regarding sin and free will, grace and predestination.

Now, because the Pope is Jesuit and because the Jesuits from day one of the ideas of Molina have accepted Molinism, I must address that in a post, but before I examine that, I shall share more bits from Garrigou-Lagrange's book Grace.

to be continued...