Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Devout Catholics and Pelagianism

A commenter on Facebook is upset that the priest in the movie Calvary is too kind to unrepentant sinners.  He claims that Jesus never dined with unrepentant sinners, only with sinners who were at the very least vacillating in their commitment to sin.  Of course, he died for all sinners, he just didn't dine with them.

But there seems to be in the air these days the notion that we must act first before God offers us saving grace.  On the contrary, as I wrote ...

We are not saved by Christ because we are worthy.  We become worthy by being saved by Christ.  Let's get that straight.

I think this combines my post on Calvary, which has generated a long argument on Facebook, with my posts on Catholic Dating.  How?

Well, you can't say, "I'm only going to consider loving someone worthy of my love."  In some ways, we only become worthy by being loved.  And often the people we love become worthy of our own love only after we love them.  This is not entirely true in every and all circumstances, but it is largely and generally true.

And this is not to deny reciprocation, both in theology or in life.  If God's grace is rejected, it's rejected, and He allows us to say no.  If we love someone who doesn't love us back, or who proves unworthy of our love, we are, in prudence, obligated to shake the dust off our feet and move on.  But the grace comes before the acceptance of the grace, and before the rejection of the grace.

Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:7-8)

Love makes us lovable and being lovable draws more love.  So does being loving.

But I am beginning to suspect the most stubborn of "Devout Catholics" are simply Pelagians, simply heretics who believe one must be worthy of salvation before being saved.


Chestertonian said...

"There is the great lesson of 'Beauty and the Beast,' that a thing must be loved before it is loveable." --G.K. Chesterton

-Sean Dailey
Editor, Gilbert: the magazine of the American Chesterton Society

Chestertonian said...

Sorry, that quote was from Orthodoxy.