If faith is a gift, is it just for God to hold us accountable for it? Can it be meritorious to have it or blameworthy to be without? Basically, would a just judge blame us for not having something he didn’t give to us?
Why does God receive credit for the good actions of human beings, but not blame for the evil actions? If you say it is because the default behavior of human beings is sin, and it is only by an extraordinary gift of God that we perform any good at all, then isn’t God still ultimately to blame for apparently refusing to give the grace needed to be virtuous to some (most) people?
In my opinion, these are two forms of the same question. Basically, how can we distinguish God’s responsibility from our own?
What if, for instance, the reason Satan fell was because God chose not to give him enough grace to persevere in heaven?
Also, if God specifically chose Mary and had the power to give her (in anticipation of Christ’s future actions) extraordinary graces which enabled her to say “yes” as well as persevere in holiness throughout her entire earthly life, why didn’t God just give that same amount of grace to Satan, or indeed to all sinners throughout history? Wouldn’t the world just be such a better place, and wouldn’t human history be so much greater if God chose to elevate all of us with the grace that we each needed to achieve holiness and beatitude?
If you answer that God does in fact give each person enough grace to achieve holiness and beatitude, then why do people sin at all? How can we resist God’s grace in that way, but also more importantly, how do we know** when we are resisting sufficient grace as opposed to simply not receiving it from God. If we don’t know, how can we then judge other’s good actions as having their origin in God’s grace?
This is what I was thinking about during mass today. The homily was about why we should donate to some particular charity the owner of which was a friend of the priest. Last week (no joke) the priest read a Dr. Seuss book, complete with picture showing, from cover to cover during the homily. It was the one about the sneetches. I have so many burning questions, and have had them for years, but during mass I hear “the sneetches with the stars upon “thars” weren’t very inclusive were they now?” or “give money to me and my friends.”
The gift of faith is indeed a gift, but Jesus before he ascended to heaven, told his apostles to preach the good news to all nations. Which means he wanted everyone to have this gift.
But again this is a gift only, and as a gift, it may be rejected and refused when offered.
Your question also pertains to why they would refuse. To you and to me, this is a mystery, why someone would not want this gift. But it just could be that they are so steeped in some sin that they do not want to change but to hang on to their sin. And so they refuse the gift.
For example, they may be wealthy, and they do not care to give up their greed or the wrong way they are maintaining their wealth. Or it might be that they have a wife who worships false gods and the husband dosen’t want to displease her. Or it might be that a person is into some sort of orgy and again does not want to give it up. Or…or…or… and so on. And so the gift is refused. I’m only scratching the surface for are so many reasons. This isn’t any easy gift to accept because it is a narrow road a person has to walk.
As to how do we know when we are resisting sufficient grace, it is because it would be an injustice for God to give us anything but what is necessary for our welfare, and we know that God is Good and is incapable of doing this. The way God’s grace works freely, and the way we have free choice, is a mystery how they do not interfere with one another. There are several theories but it still remains a mystery. But…we do experience freedom, we know we have it because we don’t have anyone standing over us forcing us.
And why wouldn’t God give the same amount of grace as Mary received to everyone so all would be good? Because even tho two people receive a great grace which are equal, these two people have the ultimate power within them to decide whether they will accept it, or use it. Again this is a mystery we cannot predetermine about human beings, just how they will react or respond. We are truely free to respond and some, in responding, make terrible mistakes. Of course, there is even a way out of this if one choses to use what Jesus offers us, his sacrament of mercy.
One other point that I see is indirectly asked is: why does he allow suffering? And it has the same answer as all the other gifts he gives us, because he loves us, and allows us to gain for ourselves and others rewards in the next life which will be rewarded a hundredfold and be experienced always without end. But this gift takes faith which may be accepted or rejected.
May God bless and keep you. May God’s face shine on you. May God be kind to you and give you peace.
Faith is not a gift. The book of Romans tells us how we obtain faith.
Romans 10:17 Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.
As we learn more about Christ and His word, we grow in our faith. If you do a Bible word search for ‘faith’, you’ll get a better understanding of what faith is. Notice the people that got healed in one way or another. Jesus mentioned many times, it was by faith. Now, they didn’t have the ‘Word of God’ in book form, but they believed in what he could do. Their faith saved them or made them well.
IN the most basice of terms…God offers us a gift…If we accept it…we accept a gift…If we reject it…then we reject a gift.
You see - this is the interaction between the Loving God and his children who have free will.
As for allowing evil…well children are apt to get into trouble…that is free will too.
Some will respond to chastisement - others will not and those who do not are eventually cut off…again of their own choice.
As to matters of the BVM and Angels, I can only say that such things are beyond what I need for my daily walk and I have not looked in to them. I find that just trying to live from day to day in grace is challenge enough. - - - but that is just me.
First of all, I agree wholeheartedly with you on your take on that particular church. Would you be open to trying other Catholic churches until you find one that is a better fit?
As to what you were saying about grace, it’s my understanding that Satan WAS given enough of everything. In fact, Satan was one of the brightest angels in heaven before he fell. He was called, “Lucifer”, “Shining one”. However, Satan turned on God, was rebellious, disobedient to God’s will.
We are given free will. Good and evil are set before us, life and death. It’s up to us to choose and not God’s fault if we choose wrongly. We must cooperate with God, meet him half way, as it were.
Even with God’s special grace of making Mary conceived without sin, she was still like Adam and Eve, who were also made without sin. She could have sinned but chose not to.
I think Lucifer and his angels were also made without sin, and yet they all managed to fall. So, just because one’s created without sin is no guarantee it will stay that way.
As to God’s receiving credit for the good and not the bad, it’s because he deserves it! God’s system is very fair.
I believe that faith is a gift. Many people who are outside our missionary work will not hear of Jesus; yet Jesus said that he came so that all would be saved. So faith may indeed be offered in ways we do not comprehend. I agree, God will not judge us if Faith is not offered. Thus a good pagan outside of the range of our work will be judged as much loved pagans.
I don’t believe that the Church teaches that evil is the default nature of man. Rather that we are made in the image and likeness of God and thus are intrinsically good as is all of God’s creation. However we are also taught of the Fall; an event we know little of. Taught in probable allegory in the story of Adam and Eve, it is however the greatest catastrophe that has enveloped our nature. This fall required redemption and thus the Birth Death and Resurrection of our God incarnate in the humanity of Christ.
Your use of Grace in your argument seems to ignore the concept of free will. Grace is not a form of magic dust that the good fairy applies to make people good. Our good actions do not originate in God’s grace but within our own will moving in the correct orientation of our nature to our loving Father. We are good and in doing good act in accordance to our nature. That is why there is such emphasis in Church teachings on Natural Law. Life is not some tug of war between a bad nature and the overpowering force of God’s Grace. This is a graceful co-operative dance between ourselves and our Creator.
Who are we to know the mind of God in his creation of Mary.It is said " Do not put the Lord your God to the test." I always see an analogy in pouring good wine into a broken vessel. You need a crystal glass of great strength. A wise Creator ensures the worthiness of that which takes the burden and the joy of such a Gift as He gives us in Jesus.
I can only laugh with you at the standard of preaching in today’s Church. Here we are, simple laymen and women, working and living in the real hard world and here are these apparent cretins trying desperately to be modern and relevant and yet not speaking on matters that really matter. When did you last hear a sermon against abortion? When did you hear a priest talk on contraception? They are like contestants in a beauty contest agreeing on world peace. If I hear some sanctimonious speech on the Parable of the Lost Sheep one more time I will puke. Go to another Mass for sure, but look for a real spiritual director.