Special Revelation with regards to Salvation Assurance


#1

Catholic Encyclopedia: Predestination … says thusly,

  [www.newadvent.org/cathen/12378a.htm](www.newadvent.org/cathen/12378a.htm)

page 5 … middle of page:
[The third quality of predestination, its subjective uncertainty, is intimately connected with its objective immutability. We know not whether we are predestined or not. All we can say is: God alone knows. When the Reformers, confounded predestination with the absolute certainty of salvation, demanded of the Christian an unshaken faith in his own predestination if he wished to be saved, the Council of Trent opposed to this presumptuous belief the canon, saying …"If any one shall say that the regenerated and justified man is bound as a matter of faith to believe that he is surely of the number of the predestined, let him be ANATHEMA.]

The Council went on to say … ‘for apart from a special revelation, it cannot be known whom God has chosen’.

This Council was in 1545-63 … in response to M. Luther, etc. Clearly the Council was united …and out to take no prisoners.
They had Martin clearly in the crosshairs.

However, today the Church further explains the teaching thusly.

[The Church condemns only that BLASPHEMOUS presumption which BOASTS of a faithlike certainty in matters of predestination. To say that there exists PROBABLY SIGNS of predestination which EXCLUDE ALL EXCESSIVE ANXIETY is NOT AGAINST her teaching. The following are some of the criteria set down by the theologians: PURITY OF HEART, PLEASURE IN PRAYER, PATIENCE IN SUFFERING, FREQUENT RECEPTION OF THE SACRAMENTS, LOVE OF CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH, DEVOTION TO MOTHER OF GOD, etc]

And, further the Church doctrine acknowledges that to the extent one remains true to the above criteria … they can be free from ANXIETY over the matter and have PERSONAL assurance that they belong [are predestined] in Christ.

Now, my question for Catholics is this —

 Are most enjoying an ANXIETY LITE Christian experience ... as Christ taught us, as John speaks of, and as Peter affirms in his letters ?   And if so, did you obtain it via the Church's criteria above .... or should Catholics actively seek their own PRIVATE revelation ?

#2

That appears to be a loaded question of some kind.

Why are you asking and what do you want to know?


#3

No, the Church has the deposit of faith in mind.

For example, St. Augustine, 1000 years prior to the novelties of Luther, taught exaclty the same thing, saying that no one can be absolutely certain that they have indeed received the gift of final perseverance, unless given that knowledge by a special gift from God.

This remains Catholic doctrine today. We may have hopeful confidence. Yet, “hope” is a virtue which lies between the sinful extremes of “despair” on the one hand, and “presumption” on the other.


#4

The Church teaches only saints go to heaven, and that many Catholics will not make heaven. It encourages all to strive towards sainthood … thru its teachings, the sacraments, service to God [good works], etc.

The Church honors posthumously with sainthood only a tiny fractional percentage of her body. It encourages the laity to learn about the saints … and strive to live lives like they.

When we do this, we learn the saints in general have experienced many private revelations. They often don’t talk of them … out of humility, and a desire not to draw attention to themselves, but only to their Lord. But, if one studies their biographys and how the Church goes about making its decisions regarding sainthood … it is clear the Church looks for candidates who felt a special closeness and presence of Christ and H.S. on daily basis.

So, this being the case … does the Church encourage all to desire/seek private revelations ? I’m not aware that it does other than those Criteria mentioned above. But, might one conclude that we should … even if it is not a formal Church teaching ?


#5

Thanks for the extra detail – that’s a good question. I thought you were setting some kind of trap, sorry.

I think the answer is yes and no. In one sense, when we pray to God we’re communicating with Him. Does the Church encourage us to expect an answer from God? Yes, I think it’s fair to say that we should be aware of the ways God will answer our prayers. These are “private revelations” of a sort. For a person who prays daily for years and years – there will be many times when God will answer and will work “mini-miracles” (sometimes they’re bigger miracles) for the person.


#6

The Church proclaims that we should be concious of and open to the will and word of God but it does not claim any number of us will receive private revolations or that such revolations will occur in any certain way. Neither does it claim that only those who are canonized saints are in Heaven.


#7

My understanding is that the canonized ‘the Supersaints’ … bypass Purgatory.

The rest of the faithful ‘mini saints’… probably will need to undergo some purging of unconfessed VENIAL sins.

Any Catholics with unconfessed Mortal sins … are precluded from seeing Purgatory.

Now, this last teaching of Church suggests [to me] that any unconfessed Mortal sins … removes a Catholic or any other Christian from being a saint.

Again … the Church teaching … ‘ONLY saints go to Heaven’ is front & center to this discussion.


#8

How do you mean “confessed”. Obviously God may to His discretion show Mercy and forgiveness to anyone who sincerely repents their sins prior to death even if they had not “confessed” their sins, if I understand your usage of the word and the Church does teach this. They would still have to be purged of their sins but again what happens is for God to determine. I’ve never heard of super saints and minor saints in the sense you are referring but if you want to say that anyone who goes to heaven are saints I would agree. I just wouldn’t agree that the only people who go to heaven are those the church canonizes as saints.


#9

Confession — meaning to God thru the Son. Ideally thru a priest, or if time/opportunity doesn’t allow … then daily personal confession to the Lord.

Supersaints are the canonized ones
Ordinary saints are those Christians uncanonized

Certainly the ordinary saints make heaven … however, the Church teaches they can’t be sure of their Predestination as the Elect — short of having a private revelation on the matter of salvation assurance.

Thus, my thread question comes into play. Should Catholics seek/desire ‘private revelation’ ? … or just be content to practice the Church’s ‘Criteria’ as stated in the Chruch’s doctrinal teaching on Predestination ?


#10

Ok, you’re creating a distinction that doesn’t exist in Catholic theology though. There are no supersaints and mini-saints. A non-canonized saint (every person in heaven is a saint in that regard) is as much and fully a saint as a canonized saint. Canonization merely is a way of giving special acknowledgement to a saint who showed holiness in a remarkable way.

Certainly the ordinary saints make heaven … however, the Church teaches they can’t be sure of their Predestination as the Elect — short of having a private revelation on the matter of salvation assurance.

Again, this is not correct with regards to what you already posted. A person can have a moral certainty without needing a private revelation. Most saints did not have that kind of revelation. The millions of Catholics who arrived happily in heaven didn’t need or want that kind of revelation.

Should Catholics seek/desire ‘private revelation’ ?

Catholics should not seek anything but God’s will. That’s what we pray for every day in the Lord’s Prayer – “thy will be done”.

God wants us to show faith – to strive for the kingdom. This means that there will be some uncertainty about many things. That’s why St. Paul said that we only see through a glass darkly.


#11

No, there are many unnamed saints who have not been canonized. Their feast day is celebrated annually as “All saints day.” :wink:

Any Catholics with unconfessed Mortal sins … are precluded from seeing Purgatory.

I’m not sure what you means by this. “Perfect contrition” or “Contrition of charity,” or instance, is sufficient to remit all sin, including mortal sin.

Now, this last teaching of Church suggests [to me] that any unconfessed Mortal sins … removes a Catholic or any other Christian from being a saint.

I disagree. See “perfect contrition” above.

Yes, only saints go to heaven. The Church has canonized, by name, a small number of those saints. That doesn’t mean that only the canonized saints are saints, properly so called.

Furthermore, getting to your point about “special revelation” of final perseverance, such a revelation is not needed to be a saint. In other words, there’s no strict necessity to KNOW in this life, with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY that you are predestined to heaven, to attain heaven.


#12

Honestly BRB, reflecting on such as the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, I would be cautious of ever considering myself predestined and if by the Blessing of God I did ever receive a private revolation (which I would never ask for) I would expect it would be a personally held matter unless an objective was requested through it. Most saints suffered from their own weaknesses including their occasions of doubt, temptations and guilt of sins. No, its not something we seek, but more accurately would be a rare gift I believe.


#13

Its my understanding that recently additional canonized saints were added to the Church … and now we have more than calendar days. Thus, some saints were removed from the calendar of sainthood … and they now get honored as a group on ‘all saints’ day.

Regarding having ‘all saints’ day being for all the ordinary saints … thats news to me. I’m sure the Protestants and other Christians would be thrilled with this news. :thumbsup:

Regarding ones knowledge of Predestination status … what should we hope for ? Maybe thinking that ---- I’m 70 % confident … or I’m just satisfied knowing I’ve ‘got a shot’ at heaven ?

How can one give up sure life now, for a ‘possible life’ in the next ? Don’t we need some assurance we have received "newness of life’ ? Didn’t Christ give that thief his assurance — on the spot ? How can one be expected to follow a Master they don’t know and can fully entrust their future to ?


#14

Ok … I’d bet most Catholics see it the say way as you.

How do Catholics deal with those Protestants who believe they have S.A ? Do Catholics think they are delusional, misguided, liars, or worse ? Do you try to convince them they need to renounce S.A ?


#15

I believe the references were talking about “excessive” anxiety. Not free from all anxiety.

Philippians 2:12
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;

This is something we should be doing everyday. For if there is no fear at all, then why do what needs be done?

I personally don’t want a “revelation” of assured assurance. I want to go to purgatory, to purge that which needs be. This way I will be clean enough to be in the presence of God.


#16

They (Protestants) believe based on what they were taught. If they know no better, is it a serious sin? Unless a person actually seeks the knowledge and wants to know which Christian Faith is the correct one and learns it, how can they know if they are incorrect in what they have been taught. It is the “teachers” who are most responsible then.


#17

That’s not a correct understanding of All Saint’s Day. See here: All Saint’s Day

Regarding ones knowledge of Predestination status … what should we hope for ? Maybe thinking that ---- I’m 70 % confident … or I’m just satisfied knowing I’ve ‘got a shot’ at heaven ?

You’ve got our responsibilities all confused with that of God. God gives us His Revelation. Our response is faith which works through charity. The rest, including who will be written in the book of life on judgement day is up to God. You do your job (obedience of faith), and let God do his job (judgement). :wink:

How can one give up sure life now, for a ‘possible life’ in the next ?

What “sure life now” do you have control over? What “sure life now” are you being asked to give up? I don’t understand you. We were made for this purpose: to seek God, to know God, to love God. I give nothing up in doing so, excepting sin.

Don’t we need some assurance we have received "newness of life’ ?

We DO have assurance. The distinction is between moral certainty and absolute certainty. We can (and should) have the former, but unless God Himself reveals the latter to us, we cannot PRESUME it on our own authority.

How can one be expected to follow a Master they don’t know and can fully entrust their future to ?

We DO know him. Consider this…

Christ told Thomas that he was “faithless.” Imagine if Christ himself came to you and said that you were “faithless.” That would be heartbreaking, wouldn’t it? Why was Thomas so faithless? He had been living with these men for years. There was nobody more trustworthy to Thomas than the disciples of Christ whom he had gotten to know and love. If you cannot trust the testimony of those who you KNOW love you, and have your best interests at heart, what testimony CAN you trust? The mistake Thomas made was that no matter how trustworthy the witness, he obstinately refused to believe unless he saw it with his own eyes. That’s a ridiculous criteria, isn’t it? How do I know by wife loves me? I can see it with my “eyes” can I? Some things, in fact I’d say the MOST IMPORTANT THINGS, require FAITH. The example of spousal love is intrinsically RISKY, isn’t it? I cannot see it. I have moral confidence, in other words, I have confident HOPE that my spouse loves me, and will never stop loving me until death. But how can I be sure!!! I cannot. Not absolutely sure, philosophically speaking.

The very best things in life, like love, require FAITH and HOPE, in constrast to the sins of faithlessness, despair, or presumption.

Christians are called to HOPE, not despair (lack of hope), presumption (inordinate and unreasnable certitude).

HOPEful confidence is plenty enough for me. :thumbsup:


#18

What is S.A.?


#19

An honest Catholic :smiley:

Seems many Catholics are happy to avoid the Mortals & ‘hope’ to get a shot at Purgatory.


#20

Private revelation just “comes”. It is never sought after. Those who “seek” private revelation and receive it, which I’m sure does happen, are most likely VERY embarrassed by their past behavior in wanting it, as getting it makes it obvious that it wasn’t given because it was wanted.

How can one give up sure life now, for a ‘possible life’ in the next?

Even the atheistic materialist knows that this “sure life now” thing (our earthly life) must end!

The only question is whether this “short life” is the extent of our whole-life?

One either believes in hopeful faith that we live in one state or another for eternity, or one doesn’t.

Don’t we need some assurance we have received "newness of life’ ? Didn’t Christ give that thief his assurance — on the spot ? How can one be expected to follow a Master they don’t know and can fully entrust their future to ?

I personally believe that those who aren’t racked with anxiety about their salvation who are Catholics have gotten private revelations (small ones) which satisfy them in their hopeful faith that they might be saved if they do as they’re supposed to.

Those who are satisfied with small private revelations are more “gifted” than those who need grander private revelations.

To NEED and SEEK private revelations and receive them, and then BOAST of those private revelations instead of being humbled in the extreme by them are in dire danger of being dragged by their gripping of those boasts into hell itself.

To pray for anxiety reducing private revelation in humility is fine, but not to accept that which is always given and wanting MORE is quite sinful indeed.


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