This is a topic I’d be interested to hear people’s thoughts on.
A lot of Catholics shy away from the term “predestination” as a “Protestant thing,” when in fact a non-Calvinist formulation of predestination is actually an article of the Catholic faith. It’s a hard one to wrap our human heads around though!
So far as I understand it, all the “good things” (sacraments, grace, mercy, good deeds, etc.) that move our souls towards salvation are free gifts from God, and while He gives us the choice whether to accept these things, the positive choice to accept them is in itself a gift from God. Our faith in God, the actual-grace which moves our souls towards sanctifying-grace, etc. are not things we willed into existence; God, who is not bound to our whims, gave them to us. In short, all good things (including our ability to choose the good) ultimately come from God, and so we call the good people who go to heaven the “elect.”
And yet, God does not positively predestine anyone to Hell (as some, but not all, non-Catholic Christians believe). Not everyone goes to Heaven, but Jesus died for everyone. Basically, the saints in heaven are positively predestined for Heaven (because all the graces which bring them there are free gifts from God), but the damned in Hell are not positively predestined for Hell (because Hell is the eternal choice not to accept the Grace of God).
If I’ve formulated this incorrectly, I’m sure someone will correct me, but this is the Catholic understanding of predestination so far as I have ever learned it. I would be curious to hear how people here reconcile this with free will (another Catholic teaching). Obviously, for God these things all make sense in his broad, divine plan, but we here on earth can only understand so much. Thoughts?