May 24, 2012

Predestination and Prayer

Predestination often evokes arguments surrounding grace and freewill, God's plan and human freedom, who will get into heaven and who will not.  Yet the Fathers of the Church and mystics like Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity considered this mystery from another standpoint.  For these great contemplatives, predestination was a doctrine about the wonderful possibility to live by love God has opened up for each of us in Christ Jesus.  Instead of a system which limited the scope of human freedom, they saw the unexpected opportunity to really love, to truly live call to them like a new and yet to be explored frontier.    Instead of a discouraging mental puzzle occasioning hidden judgments of self-righteousness or despair, they saw true hope rooted in the victory of good over evil already realized on the Cross.   For them, this free decision of God in his loving plan means that nobody's life is an accident or the result of chance.  In this doctrinal vision, every human person is foreknown by God in a gaze of pure love and out of this pure love, we can only be astonished at how much God has chosen to bless us in Christ with every spiritual blessing.  Such a vision of predestination ought only evoke determined bold confidence on our part, a willingness to avail ourselves to everything with which the Lord is waiting to entrust us.   If we do this, because of the blessing we have in Christ, our lives can become pure praise, a perfect offering in which the glory of God is revealed in the world, in which His love ignites the whole cosmos on fire.  Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity offers her vision of predestination to her sister Marguerite, a young mother with two daughters.  She believes that even those with busy family lives and overwhelming responsibilities can become the praise of God's glory.  For a podcast on her teaching done in conjunction with Discerning Hearts, click here.