“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29)
“To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. When therefore he establishes his eternal plan of “predestination”, he includes in it each person’s free response to his grace” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 600)
INTRODUCTION:The “Saints mention seven things,” says the great spiritual writer, F.W. Faber, “which they call the signs of predestination. This means something more than that they are symptoms of our being at present in a state of grace and on the way of holiness. It means that they are to a certain extent prophecies of the future, not infallibly true but supernaturally hopeful. It means that they are the sort of things to be expected in the elect, and not to be expected in others; things essential to the elect, and which through all the centuries of the Church have distinguished the elect. Hence if we find all, many, or a few of them in ourselves, we are legitimately entitled to proportionate consolation” (Growth in Holiness, p. 292).
These seven signs of predestination are:
1. The imitation of Christ
Comment: see partial list* below which suggests some of the qualities of Jesus we should strive to imitate.
2. Devotion to our Blessed Lady
Comment: Study the lives of the saints. They loved Mary. They were devoted to her. Their love of God grew as they placed their confidence in Mary. The saints realized that Mary is a special gift of Jesus for his disciples.
3. Works of mercy
Comment: the spirit of the Gospels is charity towards those in need.
4. Love of prayer
Comment: All the great spiritual writers talk about the critical importance of prayer. The CCC quotes Saint Alphonsus de Ligouri: “Those who pray are certainly saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned.” To not pray is spiritual suicide (see CCC 2744). In short, prayer is “a vital necessity.”
Comment: it is extremely critical we nurture a profound distrust of our thoughts and opinions when they conflict with revealed revelation in the Bible and the official teachings of the Catholic Church.
6. The gift of faith
Comment: The spiritual life is lived in the power of faith. Pray to the Holy Spirit for an increase of this great theological virtue.
7. Past mercies from God
Comment: When we look back at the past graces we have received from God we are filled with gratitude and an intense desire to love and serve Him. Without God’s merciful interferences in our life, we would have been lost.
CONCLUSION: Father Faber states: “We must also bear in mind of all these things that it is not the [full] possession of them which counts with God, and so is a sign of predestination, but the earnest desire of them and the sincere endeavor after them.” The comments above are my own, and the partial list below, which I no doubt gathered from Father Faber and other spiritual writers, suggests some of the qualities of Jesus we should strive to imitate.
Tom Mulcahy, M.A.
*LIST. Imitation of our Lord’s spirit of:
– the love of God
– intense desire for the glory of God
– intense desire for the salvation of souls
– trust in God
– total submission to the will of God
– love of the seven sacraments instituted by Jesus
– love of Mary
– love of the church
– love of the poor
– love of Saint Joseph
– love of the Office of Peter which Jesus established
– mercy and forgiveness
– love of virtue
– hatred of sin
– true piety
– love of neighbor (charity)
– detachment from things
– contempt for worldly honor
– silence under rebuke
– redemptive suffering
– dying to self
– contempt for worldliness
– love of truth
– contempt for hypocrisy
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This is a great gift. It’s a “map” that shows us the way to our eternal home. Thank you