Some believe faith alone is sufficient for salvation; others believe they will be saved by Christ’s sacraments alone; others rely on works of mercy alone and think they can sin with impunity. Such people fail to understand that nothing avails without charity (St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on 1 Corinthians 6, 2).
Some people do not acknowledge their transcendental dimension, and as a consequence they do not investigate the evidence for it or even reflect on their restricted assumptions about themselves. This does not mean that their transcendental nature will lie dormant. It most assuredly will not. Rather, it will produce a myriad of frustrations with the world of restricted and conditioned beings. For example, we will still have a desire for unconditional love whether we acknowledge it or not; but because we do not acknowledge it, we begin to look for unconditional love in restricted and conditioned individuals. They of course will never be able to satisfy our desire for unconditional love, and this will produce feelings of frustration and rejection. We may make judgments about them such as “they are not understanding enough”, “not responsive enough”, “not sympathetic enough”, “not strong enough”, and so forth. Thus, failure to acknowledge our transcendental desires almost invariably leads to frustration and unhappiness, because it compels us to look for perfect and unconditional love in imperfect and conditioned places.
Conversely, if we do acknowledge our transcendentality, and we pursue a Being who can truly fulfill it, everything changes. The more we open ourselves to a true transcendent power, the more that transcendent power responds to us. Of course, we can only know this by either trusting in the testimony of those who have done it or by doing it ourselves. In either case we will have to make a decision to let God into our minds and hearts. Though God takes the first step by inviting us through the numinous experience, the desire for the sacred, and our five transcendental desires, He awaits our response to His invitation. This requires an act of the will—a little leap of faith—to connect with the deity who is already present to us. This connection has many facets—opening ourselves to the deity, responding to His call, learning His ways, responding to His guidance, asking for help, and surrendering to His providential love—to see Him more clearly, follow Him more nearly, and love Him more dearly.
God, by His Eternal Resolve of Will, has predetermined certain men to eternal blessedness. (De fide) (FCD Pg 242)
(Rom 8:29 – 30) 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
If Predestination is conceived as Predestination to glory alone, then the question arises whether the Predestination to eternal bliss occurs by reason of the foreseen supernatural merits of man (post praevisa merita) or without consideration of them (ante praevisa merita). According to the former view, the Devine Resolve of Predestination is conditioned (hypothetical) according to the latter, it is unconditional (absolute). (FCD P243 2.a)
Two views to solve the problem:
Thomist View (absolute Predestination)
God freely resolves to bestow grace on those Predestined to eternal glory without consideration of the merits of man. (Rom 8:29, Rom 9:11-13, Rom 9:20)
Molinist View (conditioned Predestination)
God sees beforehand how men would freely react to various orders of grace. In the light of this knowledge He chooses, according to His free pleasure a fixed and definite order of grace. He elects for eternal bliss those who by virtue of their foreseen merits perseveringly cooperate with grace. Molinists invoke passaged which stress the universality of the Devine desire for salvation. (1 Tim 2:4)
Properties of Predestination:
God knows and determines with infallible certainty in advance, how many and which man will be saved. What the number of the predestined is, God alone knows. (FCD 244 3a)
The Council of Trent declared against Calvin, that certainty in regard to one’s predestination can be attained by special Revelation only. Holy Scripture enjoins man to work out his salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). He who imagines that he will stand should take care lest he fall (1 Cor. 10:12). In spite of this uncertainty there are signs of Predetermination (signa praedestinationis) which indicate a high probability of one’s predestination, e.g., a persevering practice of the virtues recommended in the Eight Beatitudes, frequent reception of Holy Communion, active love of one’s neighbour, love for Christ and for the Church, veneration of the Mother of God. (FCD 244 3b)
From the 6th session of the Council of Trent:
Rash Presumption of Predestination is to be avoided
No one, moreover, so long as he lives this mortal life, ought in regard to the sacred mystery of divine predestination, so far presume as to state with absolute certainty that he is among the number of the predestined, as if it were true that the one justified either cannot sin any more, or, if he does sin, that he ought to promise himself an assured repentance.
For except by special revelation, it cannot be known whom God has chosen to Himself.
If anyone says that a man who is born again and justified is bound ex fide to believe that he is certainly in the number of the predestined, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that he will for certain, with an absolute and infallible certainty, have that great gift of perseverance even to the end, unless he shall have learned this by a special revelation, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that a man once justified can sin no more, nor lose grace, and that therefore he that falls and sins was never truly justified; or on the contrary, that he can during his whole life avoid all sins, even those that are venial, except by a special privilege from God, as the Church holds in regard to the Blessed Virgin, let him be anathema.
The Gift of Perseverance
Similarly with regard to the gift of perseverance, of which it is written: He that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved, (Matt 10:22; 24:13) which cannot be obtained from anyone except from Him who is able to make him stand who stands,(Rom 14:4) that he may stand perseveringly, and to raise him who falls, let no one promise himself herein something as certain with an absolute certainty, though all ought to place and repose the firmest hope in God’s help. For God, unless men themselves fail in His grace, as he has begun a good work, so will he perfect it, working to will and to accomplish. (Phil 2:13; Canon 22) Nevertheless, let those who think themselves to stand, take heed lest they fall,(1 Cor 10:12) and with fear and trembling work out their salvation,(Phil 2:12) in labors, in watchings, in almsdeeds, in prayer, in fastings and chastity. (cf 2 Cor 6:3 ff) For knowing that they are born again unto the hope of glory,(cf Pet 1:3) and not as yet unto glory, they ought to fear for the combat that yet remains with the flesh, with the world and with the devil, in which they cannot be victorious unless they be with the grace of God obedient to the Apostle who says: We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh; for if you live according to the flesh, you shall die, but if by the spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live.(Rom 8:12 ff)
If anyone says that the one justified either can without the special help of God persevere in the justice received, or that with that help he cannot, let him be anathema.
There are several errors that arise from an incorrect view of predestination. One is that of Pelagians. Pelagians teach that men can obtain salvation without the aid of God’s grace. The other error is that of Calvinists and Jansenists. They teach that Christ died only for the elect and the rest God predestined to eternal damnation. They further teach that once one is saved one cannot lose their salvation contrary to the scriptures. They also teach that if God choses you for damnation then you cannot do anything about it. Pelagians say that God has nothing to do with salvation. Calvinists and Jansenists say that man has nothing to do with salvation. Both are contrary to apostolic tradition, scriptures, magisterium of the Church and common sense.