Friday, January 20, 2017

Sins Against Hope

From Monsignor Pope:

The second form of presumption is evident among many in the house of faith (both Protestant and Catholic). I have written at great length about the common presumption that just about everyone goes to Heaven. At too many funerals, bold “canonizations” take place.

Confident expectation of God’s help is essential to hope, but presumption sins against hope by claiming to have already “in the bag” what God offers us on condition. We must freely accept His transformative grace and by it, attain to the holiness without which no one will see God (Heb 12:14). This requires a profound work of God to take place within us. It is freely and unconditionally offered, but we must fully accept it. Our acceptance will lead to changes that many resist and that God will not force.

Presumption rejects the arduousness of achieving what we hope for by claiming to already “have” what is offered. In this way, presumption sins against hope. Once one has what one hopes for, hope ceases. As St. Paul said, who hopes for what he already has? (Rom 8:24)

Clearly, balance is required. Confidence of salvation, yes; current possession or possession without condition, no. Here is one of the best Scriptures against presumption:

Rely not on your strength in following the desires of your heart. Say not: “Who can prevail against me?” for the LORD will exact the punishment. Say not: “I have sinned, yet what has befallen me?” for the LORD bides his time. Of forgiveness be not overconfident, adding sin upon sin. Say not: “Great is his mercy; my many sins he will forgive.” For mercy and anger alike are with him; upon the wicked alights his wrath. Delay not your conversion to the LORD, put it not off from day to day; For suddenly his wrath flames forth; at the time of vengeance, you will be destroyed. Rely not upon deceitful wealth, for it will be no help on the day of wrath (Sirach 5:1-10).
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