Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others?
#91
God gives sufficient grace to each man to be saved, so that it is only the man's fault if he is damned.  But God gives more grace to some than to others, and better circumstances to some than to others.  He gave enough grace to our Lady that she could never sin.  He gives more grace to one man than to another, a Catholic family to one and a pagan land to another.  In each case it is possible not to sin and not to be damned, but it may not be equally easy.  God works  His grace in our free wills without disturbing their freedom.  His eternal plans and causality (not just foreknowledge) of all we are and all we do - all that is good - supports the undeniable fact that He elects those who are saved.  But  He has promised that there is sufficient grace for all, if they take it.; if they don't, they are damned, among the reprobate.

Here is what Garrigou-Lagrange has to say about how sufficient grace (speaking of the grace before each act) works with efficacious grace.

Garrigou-Lagrange Wrote:Christian Perfection and Contemplation According to St. Thomas Aquinas
and St. John of the Cross
by Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.
Quote from: Garrigou-Lagrange
St. Thomas, following St. Augustine and opposing Pelagian or semi-Pelagian naturalism, grasped the depth and the height of our Lord's words: "Without Me you can do nothing," [1] and of St. Paul's words: "For it is God Who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to His good will." [2] "For who distinguisheth thee? Or what hast thou that thou hast not received?" [3] In the work of salvation we cannot distinguish any part that is exclusively ours; all comes from God, even our free co-operation, which efficacious grace gently and mightily stirs up in us and confirms.

This grace, which is always followed by its effect, is refused to us, as we said, only if we resist the Divine, auxilium praeveniens, sufficient grace, in which the efficacious help is already offered us, as fruit is in the flower. If we destroy the flower, we shall never see the fruit, which the influence of the sun and of the nourishment of the earth would have produced. Now man is sufficient to himself to fall; drawn from nothingness, he is by nature defectible. He is sufficiently assisted by God so that he falls only through his own fault, which thus deprives him of a new help. This is the great mystery of grace. We have elsewhere explained what St. Thomas and his best disciples teach about this mystery. [4]

With him and St. Augustine we must submit our intelligence before this Divine obscurity, and as Bossuet says, "confess these two graces (sufficient and efficacious), one of which leaves the will without excuse before God, and the other does not permit the will to glory in itself." [5] Is this not in conformity with what our conscience tells us? According to this doctrine, all that is good in us, naturally or supernaturally, has its origin in the Author of all good. Sin alone cannot come from Him, and the Lord allows it to happen only because He is sufficiently powerful and good to draw from it a greater good, the manifestation of His mercy or justice.
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#92
I've read a strange ten pages today. Apparently, to the Catholic Church, God doesn't love everybody. Why pray for my non Catholic friends? Why ask for grace at all? God will give it to whomever the f**k he wants, it our opinion doesn't matter. I agree with Melkite, I'll leave the Church if any answer ends in "God doesn't love that person, that's why."

I always thought of it like this: God doesn't let things happen because He wants good to come out of bad, He lets bad things happen because if He stops it He would be taking away our free will or our own sovereignty. So, I feel that God gives all sufficient grace, to be saved, but the efficacious grace (is that the one called 'actual grace' vs saving grace in Sunday school?) He gives to whomever, different talents, etc. So S. Benedict could have been born a kick ass Catholic. but some guy in the last pew in the back of the Church who has no religious talents will still go to heaven, because He tried hardest.

I know the following will sound like I'm denying the sovereignty of God but hear me out. I think that salvation is a co-op between God and man. God gives you grace, but it is resistible, so that in the end, you can choose to live in grace or not--so really, according to this, it can sound like God isn't sovereign. But really, all it means is that God loves you and isn't going to make you do anything.

Ask, and you shall receive. Jesus said that. I feel that all who ask for grace will get it, and if not, this religion sucks.
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#93
(11-30-2011, 12:48 AM)Aragon Wrote: I know that Faith, Hope, and Charity are all gifts from God that are given to us with baptism and through the other sacraments (provided we are properly disposed), but why do some people receive these gifts and others don't? Nothing we do can earn any of the theological virtues, right? They're completely gratuitous gifts from God. I sometimes wonder why I, raised without any religion, have now been given this gift when I know many other people who were raised in the Church, baptised, prayed, sent to catechism, and yet don't have this gift. There are even people who have had the benefit of being raised in solid traditional families who end up lapsing once they move out of the family home. If anything, looking at it from a purely naturalistic view, they should be the religious ones and not me. So my question is why do some people receive the gift of Faith and others don't? Does God offer the gift of Faith to all people and some choose to reject it? Or does he only offer it to a few? If the latter then it seems God was being a lot more generous one hundred years ago.

I would be interested in hearing any thoughts you guys have on this question.

Ultimately, it is a mystery, but, in the practical order of things, we must act as if everything depends on our own wills, and this primarily and in the highest principle of life, equates to primarily prayer, and secondarily penance.  In order to ensure our salvation, and that we do this life given to us correctly, this gift of life which in better men can produce all miracles, we must pray, and act according to Catholic principles.  I am afraid that if too much weight is given to the mystery aspect, or to gratuitous gift from God, then it leads to the heresy of inaction, every so prevalent in the 1940's and 1950's.  We must grasp this life with all the vigor we can muster, and do what we can, in the most satisfying way, satisfying to God, that is, because this is how God operates in souls.

When Divine Grace comes into souls, it but rarely works in mystical, extraordinary ways, but rather, the Ordinary ways.  The Ordinary ways of the Soul are the Memory, Intellect, and Will, and we all know that these 3 are within our control, and under the domain of our free will, and it is thus that the Lord expects us to work.  We can not sit and wait for extraordinary inspiration, or some sort of extraoridinary graces to descend from God's throne into our minds to inspire us to act.  The Good Lord expects us to do his will here and now, because indeed, everything we need is being given to us before we ask it, that is the Faith we have, a real Faith, which exists here and now.  Here and now, there is Catholic wisdom sitting on bookshelves everywhere, enough to discern the situation in Church, and lead a Holy Life of an Alter-Christ.  When sorting our spiritual problems, for ourselves and others, we must meditate on what is given to us here and now, "Where can I find an answer to this O' Lord?"  and then we do not listen for inspiration from above, but rather first, think about what exists in this world here and now, because these things are given to us here and now, and in almost all cases, are beyond sufficient.

Our Religion is a Religion of Reality, which is Divine Creation.

My thoughts specifically toward your question is that they do not have the Faith because they do not pray.  There is nothing more intimately bound up with our salvation than prayer, and also, same-wise, there is nothing easier.  Why some souls pray, and others do not, again, there we have a mystery of grace, but I think the message to those who inquire about such questions is that we should always encourage prayer always, and remind souls that they need to fight to pray, and do violence to themselves, their wills, and anything including an angel from heaven who said to do otherwise.
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#94
(12-06-2011, 09:39 PM)randomtradguy Wrote: I've read a strange ten pages today. Apparently, to the Catholic Church, God doesn't love everybody. Why pray for my non Catholic friends? Why ask for grace at all? God will give it to whomever the f**k he wants, it our opinion doesn't matter. I agree with Melkite, I'll leave the Church if any answer ends in "God doesn't love that person, that's why."

I always thought of it like this: God doesn't let things happen because He wants good to come out of bad, He lets bad things happen because if He stops it He would be taking away our free will or our own sovereignty. So, I feel that God gives all sufficient grace, to be saved, but the efficacious grace (is that the one called 'actual grace' vs saving grace in Sunday school?) He gives to whomever, different talents, etc. So S. Benedict could have been born a kick ass Catholic. but some guy in the last pew in the back of the Church who has no religious talents will still go to heaven, because He tried hardest.

I know the following will sound like I'm denying the sovereignty of God but hear me out. I think that salvation is a co-op between God and man. God gives you grace, but it is resistible, so that in the end, you can choose to live in grace or not--so really, according to this, it can sound like God isn't sovereign. But really, all it means is that God loves you and isn't going to make you do anything.

Ask, and you shall receive. Jesus said that. I feel that all who ask for grace will get it, and if not, this religion sucks.

If you read the extract from Lagrange that Doce Me posted you'll notice that he addresses your question:

Quote:
This grace, which is always followed by its effect, is refused to us, as we said, only if we resist the Divine, auxilium praeveniens, sufficient grace, in which the efficacious help is already offered us, as fruit is in the flower. If we destroy the flower, we shall never see the fruit, which the influence of the sun and of the nourishment of the earth would have produced. Now man is sufficient to himself to fall; drawn from nothingness, he is by nature defectible. He is sufficiently assisted by God so that he falls only through his own fault, which thus deprives him of a new help. This is the great mystery of grace. We have elsewhere explained what St. Thomas and his best disciples teach about this mystery. [4]

With him and St. Augustine we must submit our intelligence before this Divine obscurity, and as Bossuet says, "confess these two graces (sufficient and efficacious), one of which leaves the will without excuse before God, and the other does not permit the will to glory in itself." [5] Is this not in conformity with what our conscience tells us? According to this doctrine, all that is good in us, naturally or supernaturally, has its origin in the Author of all good. Sin alone cannot come from Him, and the Lord allows it to happen only because He is sufficiently powerful and good to draw from it a greater good, the manifestation of His mercy or justice.

I can accept that God gives some people more graces than others, such as the graces that prevented Our Lady from sin or the grace a convert receives. I think that makes sense, but it's also kind of intimidating if we remember that to he that receives more more is expected.
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#95
Quote: but it's also kind of intimidating if we remember that to he that receives more more is expected.

Hence the Cardinal Virtue of Hope.
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#96
(12-06-2011, 09:39 PM)randomtradguy Wrote: I know the following will sound like I'm denying the sovereignty of God but hear me out. I think that salvation is a co-op between God and man. God gives you grace, but it is resistible, so that in the end, you can choose to live in grace or not--so really, according to this, it can sound like God isn't sovereign. But really, all it means is that God loves you and isn't going to make you do anything.

EXACTLY!  If God chooses to give it to you to choose freely, his sovereignty isn't removed in the least.  It was still God's choice to give you the choice, and that choice of God's was not forced on him in any way.

I'm reading an article from the Orthodox position of predestination.  I was under the impression they don't believe in it at all.  They actually do, but their understanding of it is much closer to yours and mine.  God chooses to give us the choice to be saved.  We can't be without God giving us the opportunity to choose it.  Then, he leaves it up to us to choose or reject it.  If we choose it, our choice, together with his, predestines us and makes us elect.  It's a synergistic action.
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#97
At the same time, everything works according to God's Sovereign plan.  The fact that the Romans controlled the world when Jesus was born was not a freak accident. 

We are dealing with a MYSTERY, that we most certainly, de fide, have FREE WILL.  BUT, de fide, everything follows God's SOVEREIGN PLAN.  The elect are predestined to election.  The reprobate fall by their own sin.  This is JUST because we all deserve HELL as the demons deserve HELL.  It is NECESSARY, because our souls are spirits and immortal.  A blackened soul can not stand the sight of the beatific vision.  It MUST flee.  God, in His Love gave them Hell to hide from His Beatific Vision.  God is all just, so for those who rejected His grace, it is NECESSARY that they are exposed to His Just Wrath, more terrible than hell.  Out of mercy, He gives the lost souls the abode of the dead, where they will receive a Just punishment, but be shielded from the Wrath of God, more terrible than any fire.

Now if you understand this, explain to me the Trinity, or the Incarnation.  We can get a few views on it, nothing more.

The Greeks, on there own, utilized metaphysics and determined that the immovable mover and first cause had to be outside of time.  It was NECESSARY.  Jesus told us "before Abraham I AM".  The Apocalypse tells us the Lamb was slain from the beginning.  What is revealed as true matches what Greek realist determined to be NECESSARY.  The term "predestination" is erroneous because it pressupposes time.  God is outside of time.  The term "predestination" is the best we can do.  IT IS A MYSTERY.

Now for those who suffer in their Faith over this, I'll give you a solution.  First, whenever there is a Mystery, the Church gives us a framework.  If your beliefs are in the framework, then you are a Catholic.  AS A CATHOLIC, you are allowed to believe in Limbo.  You are also allowed to believe that all those without Faith in Jesus or baptism suffer the fires of hell.  BOTH are allowed.  So believe in Limbo.  For Limbo, you can believe that it is pleasant.  Read Dante's inferno, no modernist.  Now as far as predestination and free will working together, you are allowed to believe in Molinism.  Consult the wikipedia article on it.  You are also allowed to be a Thomist or an Augustinian.

Now for the damned, not in Limbo.  Consider the Viet Cong whose one tactic was to grab a child, then slowly rape and torture it in front of his parents.  When they die unrepentent, they are immortal.  Now there is no time in eternity.  There is only the present.  They can't suffer for a few months, then end up in Limbo.  There doesn't exist "a few months" in eternity.  There is only the present.  So where do they go?  They go to hell.  And they will suffer per their sin, nothing more, nothing less.  And when they were deciding whether to peel the skin off some innocent child, they knew it was wrong, and the grace of God told them not to, but they CHOSE evil over God.
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#98
(12-06-2011, 09:39 PM)randomtradguy Wrote: I've read a strange ten pages today. Apparently, to the Catholic Church, God doesn't love everybody. Why pray for my non Catholic friends? Why ask for grace at all? God will give it to whomever the f**k he wants, it our opinion doesn't matter. I agree with Melkite, I'll leave the Church if any answer ends in "God doesn't love that person, that's why."

I always thought of it like this: God doesn't let things happen because He wants good to come out of bad, He lets bad things happen because if He stops it He would be taking away our free will or our own sovereignty. So, I feel that God gives all sufficient grace, to be saved, but the efficacious grace (is that the one called 'actual grace' vs saving grace in Sunday school?) He gives to whomever, different talents, etc. So S. Benedict could have been born a kick ass Catholic. but some guy in the last pew in the back of the Church who has no religious talents will still go to heaven, because He tried hardest.

I know the following will sound like I'm denying the sovereignty of God but hear me out. I think that salvation is a co-op between God and man. God gives you grace, but it is resistible, so that in the end, you can choose to live in grace or not--so really, according to this, it can sound like God isn't sovereign. But really, all it means is that God loves you and isn't going to make you do anything.

Ask, and you shall receive. Jesus said that. I feel that all who ask for grace will get it, and if not, this religion sucks.
Randomtradguy,
Please read my response fronan FSSP Priest:


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Re: Why do some people receive the gift of faith and not others?

« Reply #72 on: December 03, 2011, 11:19:AM »

Quote


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I asked my Spiritual Confessor [an FSSP priest} and he contacted an FSSP Benedictine  priest friend, about Aquinas statement that God "hates some"
The questioner's words are in lower case and the Benedictine teachers are in upper case.
Here is his reply:


"I think it's obvious enough that God prompts, compels COMPELS IS A BAD WORD, BECAUSE IT COULD IMPLY GOD MOVING SOMEONE AGAINST HIS WILL or moves "MOVES" IS THE CLASSICAL THOMISTIC WORD IN THIS AREA OF THEOLOGY some individuals towards conversion, at least in some slight way. Whether others experience this kind of compulsion but chose to reject it, I don't know - I can't see the interior life of any other person. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUFFICIENT GRACE, WHICH IS GOD INSPIRING SOMEONE ONLY IN HIS MIND BUT NOT MOVING HIS WILL, VERSUS EFFICACIOUS GRACE WHICH ALSO MOVES THE WILL TO ACTUALLY WILL THE GOOD DEED.  MUCH MORE WOULD HAVE TO BE SAID  ON THIS, BUT IN ANY CASE THE MAN WHO RECEIVES SUFFICIENT GRACE IS FREE TO WILL OR NOT WILL, SO IF HE SINS IT IS CULPABLE. In any case however I do think that some individuals are 'called' to be saints in this life. God has always picked out individuals to do his work, on a seemingly arbitrary basis. We may as well ask, 'Why Abraham?' 'Why Moses?' 'Why Mary?' 'Why James, John, and the others of the Twelve Disciples?"

But really, I can't think of any satisfying explanation for this question, and I've never seen a satisfying answer from any theologian. I think it just has to be left as a mystery of faith which is not for human's to understand.

Here is big question that I hope you can help me with,

This is one of the few areas in which I find St Thomas Aquinas' theological explanation to be really, really unsatisfying. I can't help but think 'how ridiculous' when I read the following:

Book I, 23; a3.

"God loves all men and all creatures, inasmuch as He wishes them all some good; but He does not wish every good to them all. So far, therefore, as He does not wish this particular good--namely, eternal life--He is said to hate or reprobated them."

Seriously, what? That's basically saying, "God loves all men, but he doesn't want all of them to be saved, so he actually hates some men."  NO, GOD DOES NOT HATE ANYONE, AND THAT IS NOT WHAT ST. THOMAS MEANS.  NOTICE THE PHRASE "IS SAID TO".  AND ABOVE ALL NOTICE THE INSPIRED WORD OF GOD: "JACOB I HAVE LOVED, ESAU I HAVE HATED."  ST. THOMAS IS INTERPRETING A STRONG POETIC EXPRESSION FROM GOD HIMSELF.  WHAT DOES THE EXPRESSION MEAN? IT MEANS THAT GOD DOES NOT WILL ETERNAL LIFE TO ALL MEN.  AND THAT IS BECAUSE SOME HAVE BEEN PERMITTED TO CULPABLY SIN, SO THEIR PUNISHMENT, WHICH HE DOES WILL, IS JUST.  GOD WILLS ALL MEN TO BE SAVED 'ANTECEDENTLY', BUT NOT CONSEQUENTLY.  SEE QUESTION 19 ARTICLE 6 FOR THIS DISTINCTION."















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#99
So saving grace and actual grace are the grace that saves us and the grace that makes us greater saints that others. Is it possible that God loves some "more" than others because the people themselves don't love God as much? Or don't try as much?
I find the priest's answer very unsatisfying, since it still implies God compels people to do stuff.
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(12-08-2011, 04:42 PM)randomtradguy Wrote: So saving grace and actual grace are the grace that saves us and the grace that makes us greater saints that others. Is it possible that God loves some "more" than others because the people themselves don't love God as much? Or don't try as much?
I find the priest's answer very unsatisfying, since it still implies God compels people to do stuff.

He hardened the Pharaoh's heart.  St. Paul tells us that we do nothing good which is not totally from God and attributed to Him.
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