instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Sunday, January 04, 2015

"I observe in God a sincere desire to save you, but I find in you a decided inclination to be damned."

I came across this sermon by St. Leonard of Port Maurice, in which he argues two points:
  1. "[T]o fill you with dread, I will let the theologians and Fathers of the Church decide on the matter and declare that the greater number of Christian adults are damned...."
  2. "I will attempt to defend the goodness of God versus the godless, by proving to you that those who are damned are damned by their own malice, because they wanted to be damned."
Note that it's "the greater number of Christian adults" who are damned, according to St. Leonard's survey.
if to the number of Christian adults who die in the grace of God, you add the countless host of children who die after baptism and before reaching the age of reason, ... it is certain that the greater number is saved.
But, St. Leonard continues,
if you are talking about Christian adults, experience, reason, authority, propriety and Scripture all agree in proving that the greater number is damned.
Which, if true, is kind of a bummer, right?

Except St. Leonard goes on to say that, since God wants all men to be saved,
Whether there are many or few that are saved, I say that whoever wants to be saved, will be saved; and that no one can be damned if he does not want to be.
Then he explains that it doesn't really matter how many will be saved:
Imagine an Angel sent by God to confirm the first opinion, coming to tell you that not only are most Catholics damned , but that of all this assembly present here, one alone will be saved. If you obey the Commandments of God, if you detest the corruption of this world, if you embrace the Cross of Jesus Christ in a spirit of penance, you will be that one alone who is saved.

Now imagine the same Angel returning to you and con firming the second opinion. He tells you that not only are the greater portion of Catholics saved, but that out of all this gathering, one alone will be damned and all the others saved. If after that, you continue your usuries, your vengeances, your criminal deeds, your impurities, then you will be that one alone who is damned.
If even one person can be damned, then you can be damned. If even one person can be saved, then you can be saved. What do the statistics matter in a case like this? They certainly don't matter to God. He doesn't have a quota He needs to fill, and once filled to hell with the rest. He will look at each of us, individually, and see if He recognizes His Son.