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Psychological Healing
in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

Questions and Answers

I want to know about the concept of reprobation and predestination. Is that something that can be understood?

 
Predestination is a theological concept used by Saint Paul (see, for example, Romans 8:29–30; Ephesians 1:5) to refer to a simple, double-edged fact: (a) God will reward with everlasting joy and peace those of us who, as an act of free will, repent their sins, die to themselves, and, through Christ, trust in the Father’s infinite mercy; and (b) He will cast away, like chaff in the wind, all who, as an act of free will, reject His Word (see Psalm 37). Thus we can say that God has predestined that repentant souls will be saved though Christ and that the wicked will perish in everlasting “death”—that is, hell: the pain and suffering of separation from God.

When the wicked are judged they shall not stand,
nor find room among those who are just;
for the Lord guards the way of the just
but the way of the wicked leads to doom.

—Psalm 1:5-6

Saint Augustine got entangled in this theology when he began to speculate that individual souls could be predestined to salvation or damnation. Moreover, Protestants such as Calvin made this speculative error into a fundamental basis of their dissident theology.

But the fact is, God has placed His love in the hearts of us all, and He calls all of us to holiness in Him. All we have to do is beg God in prayer, as an act of free will, to open our hearts and let His love fill us through Christ. In response to our surrender to love, the Father will give us all we need in life.

More often than not, however, pride and spiritual blindness harden our hearts to genuine love, and we end up treating God’s precious love with indifference and contempt. Some souls effectively defile love and condone sin even as they think they are serving God’s will.

True reprobates, therefore, are those who reject love—not because God has withheld it from them in the first place, but because their own pride has pushed love out of their hearts.

Nevertheless, a humble prayer for mercy could cast out the darkness to fill the heart of any reprobate with love and rescue his or her soul from the predestined destruction of the wicked.

  

Come now, let us set things right, says the LORD: Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; Though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool. If you are willing, and obey, you shall eat the good things of the land; But if you refuse and resist, the sword shall consume you: for the mouth of the LORD has spoken!

  

—Isaiah 1:18-20

 
Doubt?

If you doubt any of this, look not just at the words of Saint Paul but at his life. He went from being a supreme reprobate—murdering Christians—to a Christian saint.

Nevertheless, you might say, “That doesn’t prove anything. Maybe God predestined Paul to repent. And maybe I’m doomed no matter what I do.” Well, if that’s what you believe, you will be doomed.

So put it to the test. Call upon God’s mercy and see what happens. Even if there is individual predestination, maybe God has predestined that you will repent. You won’t know until you try.

More likely, though, there is no predestination in this individual sense, and all we’re dealing with here is the psychology of belief mixed with demonic influence. It’s a trick of the demons to tell you that you are doomed, although they know full well that you aren’t. But if you believe them, you won’t dare to call upon God’s mercy—and then you are doomed.

 

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Where Catholic therapy (Catholic psychotherapy) is explained according to Catholic psychology in the tradition of the Catholic mystics.