Tuesday, September 25, 2007

St. Cyprian on Perseverence

"And that we may more fully understand, beloved brethren, that patience is a thing of God, and that whoever is gentle, and patient, and meek, is an imitator of God the Father; when the Lord in His Gospel was giving precepts for salvation, and, bringing forth divine warnings, was instructing His disciples to perfection, He laid it down, and said, "You have heard that it is said, You shall love your neighbour, and have your enemy in hatred. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, and pray for them which persecute you; that you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven, who makes His sun to rise on the good and on the evil, and rains upon the just and on the unjust. For if you love them which love you, what reward shall you have? do not even the publicans the same? And if you shall salute your brethren only, what do ye more (than others)? do not even the heathens the same thing? Be therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."(1 Matt. 5:43-48) He said that the children of God would thus become perfect." (Treatise 9, # 5)

"But if we also, beloved brethren, are in Christ; if we put Him on, if He is the way of our salvation, who follow Christ in the footsteps of salvation, let us walk by the example of Christ, as the Apostle John instructs us, saying, "He who says he abides in Christ, ought himself also to walk even as He walked." (ibid, #9)

"It is the wholesome precept of our Lord and Master: "He that endures," says He, "unto the end, the same shall be saved; " (Matt. 10:22) and again, "If you continue," says He, "in my word, you shall be truly my disciples; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."(Jn. 8:31-32) We must endure and persevere, beloved brethren, in order that, being admitted to the hope of truth and liberty, we may attain to the truth and liberty itself; for that very fact that we are Christians is the substance of faith and hope.
...But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we by patience wait for it.(Rom. 8:24-25) Therefore, waiting and patience are needful, that we may fulfil that which we have begun to be, and may receive that which we believe and hope for, according to God's own showing. Moreover, in another place, the same apostle instructs the righteous and the doers of good works, and them who lay up for themselves treasures in heaven with the increase of the divine usury, that they also should be patient; and teaches them, saying, "Therefore, while we have time, let us labour in that which is good unto all men, but especially to them who are of the household of faith. But let us not faint in well-doing, for in its season we shall reap. ..."Hold that which you have, that another take not your crown." (Rev. 3:11) Which word exhorts us to persevere with patience and courage, so that he who strives towards the crown with the praise now near at hand, may be crowned by the continuance of patience."(Ibid, # 13)

"...it behoves us, in this bodily frailty and weakness, always to struggle and to fight. And this struggle and encounter cannot be sustained but by the strength of patience. But as we are to be examined and searched out, diverse sufferings are introduced; and a manifold kind of temptations is inflicted.... Nor does anything distinguish between the unrighteous and the righteous more, than that in affliction the unrighteous man impatiently complains and blasphemes, while the righteous is proved by his patience, as it is written: "In pain endure, and in your low estate have patience; for gold and silver are tried in the fire."(Ibid, #17)

"It is patience which firmly fortifies the foundations of our faith. It is this which lifts up on high the increase of our hope. It is this which directs our doing, that we may hold fast the way of Christ while we walk by His patience. It is this that makes us to persevere as sons of God, while we imitate our Father's patience."(Ibid, #20)

"Let us rather press onward and labour, and, watching with our whole heart, and steadfast to all endurance, let us keep the Lord's precepts; so that when that day of anger and vengeance shall come, we may not be punished with the impious and sinners, but may be honoured with the righteous and those that fear God."(Ibid, #24)

"Moreover, in the Gospel the Lord speaks, and says: "He that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved."(Matt. 10:22) And again: "If you shall abide in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (Jn. 8:31-32) Moreover, forewarning us that we ought always to be ready, and to stand firmly equipped and armed... Also the blessed Apostle Paul, that our faith may advance and grow, and attain to the highest point, exhorts us, saying: "Do you not know, that they which run in a race run all indeed, yet one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain. And they, indeed, that they may receive a corruptible crown; but ye an incorruptible." (1 Cor. 9:24-25) ...And again: "We are children of God: but if children, then heirs; heirs indeed of God, but joint-heirs with Christ, if we suffer together, that we may also be glorified together." (Rom. 8:16-17) And in the Apocalypse the same exhortation of divine preaching speaks, saying, "Hold fast that which you have, lest another take your crown; " (Rev. 3:11) which example of perseverance and persistence is pointed out in Exodus, when Moses, for the overthrow of Ama-lek, who bore the type of the devil, raised up his open hands in the sign and sacrament of the cross, and could not conquer his adversary unless when he had steadfastly persevered in the sign with hands continually lifted up. (Treatise 11, #8)

This would be more on the fact that only those who persevere to end shall reap a reward of glory, and goes to show all the more that the Protestant view of Justification is simply not the view of St. Cyprian, and is not the view espoused by the Apostles.

Friday, September 21, 2007

On the number of the elect

"Be one of the small number who find the way to life, and enter by the narrow gate into Heaven. Take care not to follow the majority and the common herd, so many of whom are lost. Do not be deceived; there are only two roads: one that leads to life and is narrow; the other that leads to death and is wide. There is no middle way."

"The number of the elect is so small - so small - that, were we to know how small it is, we would faint away with grief: one here and there, scattered up and down the world! " - St. Louis De Montfort

"I see around me a multitude of those who, blindly persevering in error, despise the true God; but I am a Christian nevertheless, and I follow the instruction of the Apostles. If this deserves chastisement, reward it; for I am determined to suffer every torture rather then become the slave of the devil. Others may do as they please since they are [...] reckless of the future life which is to be obtained only by sufferings. Scripture tells us that "narrow is the way that leads to life" [...] because it is one of affliction and of persecutions suffered for the sake of justice; but it is wide enough for those who walk upon it, because their faith and the hope of an eternal reward make it so for them. [...] On the contrary, the road of vice is in reality narrow, and it leads to an eternal precipice." - St. Leo of Patara

"The majority of men shall not see God, excepting those who live justly, purified by righteousness and by every other virtue." - St. Justin the Martyr

"Nor should we think that it is enough for salvation that we are no worse off than the mass of the careless and indifferent, or that in our faith we are, like so many others, uninstructed." - St. Bede the Venerable

"If you want to be certain of being in the number of the Elect, strive to be one of the few, not one of the many. And if you would be quite sure of your salvation, strive to be among the fewest of the few; that is to say, do not follow the great majority of mankind, but follow those who enter upon the narrow way, who renounce the world, who give themselves to prayer, and who never relax their efforts by day or night, so that they may attain everlasting blessedness. " - St. Anselm

"If you wish to imitate the multitude, then you shall not be among the few who shall enter in by the narrow gate." - St. Augustine

"So that you will better appreciate the meaning of Our Lord's words, and perceive more clearly how few the Elect are, note that Christ did not say that those who walked in the path to Heaven are few in number, but that there were few who found that narrow way. It is as though the Saviour intended to say: The path leading to Heaven is so narrow and so rough, so overgrown, so dark and difficult to discern, that there are many who never find it their whole life long. And those who do find it are constantly exposed to the danger of deviating from it, of mistaking their way, and unwittingly wandering away from it, because it is so irregular and overgrown." - St. Jerome

"It is granted to few to recognize the true Church amid the darkness of so many schisms and heresies, and to fewer still so to love the truth which they have seen as to fly to its embrace." - St. Robert Bellarmine

"That those who walk in the way of salvation are the smaller number is due to the vice and depraved habits imbibed in youth and nourished in childhood. By these means Lucifer has hurled into Hell so great a number of souls, and continues thus to hurl them into Hell every day, casting so many nations from abyss to abyss of darkness and errors, such as are contained in the heresies and false sects of the infidels." - Ven. Mary of Agreda

"I do not speak rashly, but as I feel and think. I do not think that many priests are saved, but that those who perish are far more numerous." - St. John Chrysostom

"It is as though Jesus said: "O My Father, I am indeed going to clothe myself with human flesh, but the greater part of the world will set no value on my blood!" - St. Isidore of Seville

"Notwithstanding assurances that God did not create any man for Hell, and that He wishes all men to be saved, it remains equally true that only few will be saved; that only few will go to Heaven; and that the greater part of mankind will be lost forever. - St. John Neumann

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

St. Alphonsus on salvation

"The greater number of men still say to God: Lord we will not serve Thee; we would rather be slaves of the devil, and condemned to Hell, than be Thy servants. Alas! The greatest number, my Jesus - we may say nearly all - not only do not love Thee, but offend Thee and despise Thee. How many countries there are in which there are scarcely any Catholics, and all the rest either infidels or heretics! And all of them are certainly on the way to being lost. "

"The greater part of men choose to be damned rather than to love Almighty God."

"What is the number of those who love Thee, O God? How few they are! The Elect are much fewer than the damned! Alas! The greater portion of mankind lives in sin unto the devil, and not unto Jesus Christ. O Saviour of the world, I thank Thee for having called and permitted us to live in the true faith which the Holy Roman Catholic Church teaches. [...] But alas, O my Jesus! How small is the number of those who live in this holy faith! Oh, God! The greater number of men he buried in the darkness of infidelity and heresy. Thou hast humbled Thyself to death, to the death of the cross, for the salvation of men, and these ungrateful men are unwilling even to know Thee. Ah, I pray Thee, O omnipotent God, O sovereign and infinite Good, make all men know and love Thee!"

"In the Great Deluge in the days of Noah, nearly all mankind perished, eight persons alone being saved in the Ark. In our days a deluge, not of water but of sins, continually inundates the earth, and out of this deluge very few escape. Scarcely anyone is saved."

"We owe God a deep regret of gratitude for the purely gratuitous gift of the true faith with which he has favored us. How many are the infidels, heretics and schismatic who do not enjoy comparable happiness? The earth is full of them and they are all lost!"

“(St.) Robert Bellarmine relates that having gone to assist a certain dying person, and having exhorted him to make an act of contrition, the man replied that he did not know what contrition was. Bellarmine endeavored to explain it to him; but the sick man said: ‘Father, I do not understand you; I am incapable of these things.’ And thus he died, ‘leaving clear signs of his damnation,’ as is recorded in the writings of Bellarmine. The just punishment of the sinner, says St. Augustine, will be, that having forgotten God in his lifetime, he shall forget himself in death.”

The Fewness of the elect

Most Catholics go to hell

Being Catholic is the first and necessary step toward salvation, but it is not the only one. As a Catholic, your salvation is not guaranteed. Just as good works without the Catholic faith is dead (cannot give you eternal salvation), the Catholic “faith without works is [also] dead.” (James 2:26)

Jesus says that only few men attain eternal salvation. He says, “Enter ye in at the narrow gate… How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!” (Mt. 7:13-14) These few men are only Catholics. The Athanasian Creed of 361 infallibly teaches that “Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all, keep the Catholic faith.”[1]

But not all Catholics will be saved. Jesus also says that only few Catholics attain eternal salvation. Commanding His disciples to evangelize, He says, “Go ye therefore into the highways; and as many as you shall find, call to the marriage [evangelize]. And his servants going forth into the ways, gathered together all that they found, both bad and good: and the marriage was filled with guests [good and bad Catholics]. And the king went in to see the guests: and he saw there a man who had not on a wedding garment [a bad Catholic]. And he saith to him: Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? But he was silent. Then the king said to the waiters: Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness [hell]: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called [Catholics], but few are chosen [saved].” (Mt. 22:9-14) Jesus, speaking of the Catholic congregation at Sardis, says, “Thou hast a few names… which have not defiled their garments: and they shall walk with me in white, because they are worthy.” (Apoc. 3:4) That is why St. Paul tells Catholics to “work out your salvation in fear and trembling,” (Phil. 2:12) and St. Peter says, “If the just man [a good Catholic] shall scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Pt. 4:18) St. Leonard of Port Maurice, in his sermon “The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved,” gives a fearful account of how few Catholics are saved. He says, “One day Saint John Chrysostom, preaching in the cathedral in Constantinople and considering these proportions, could not help but shudder in horror and ask, ‘Out of this great number of people, how many do you think will be saved?’ And, not waiting for an answer, he added, ‘Among so many thousands of people, we would not find a hundred who are saved, and I even doubt for the one hundred.’ What a dreadful thing! The great Saint believed that out of so many people, barely one hundred would be saved; and even then, he was not sure of that number. What will happen to you who are listening to me? Great God, I cannot think of it without shuddering! Brothers, the problem of salvation is a very difficult thing; for according to the maxims of the theologians, when an end demands great efforts, few only attain it. That is why Saint Thomas, the Angelic Doctor, after weighing all the reasons pro and con in his immense erudition, finally concludes that the greater number of Catholic adults are damned…
“The following narrative from Saint Vincent Ferrer will show you what you may think about it. He relates that an archdeacon in Lyons gave up his charge and retreated into a desert place to do penance, and that he died the same day and hour as Saint Bernard. After his death, he appeared to his bishop and said to him, ‘Know, Monsignor, that at the very hour I passed away, thirty-three thousand people also died. Out of this number, Bernard and myself went up to heaven without delay, three went to purgatory, and all the others fell into Hell.’”

You should now have an idea of how very, very, very few Catholics attain eternal salvation! This truth ought to rid you of any false confidence and make you aware of the fact that every day you live your salvation is in danger. Dear Catholic, if every day you do not sincerely work, by God’s grace, to obtain salvation, you will lose it. Salvation, then, comes only by faith and persevering labor. Jesus says, “Labour… for that which endureth unto life everlasting.” (Jn. 6:27) St. Paul says, “Labour as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 2:3) “We labour, whether absent or present, to please him.” (2 Cor. 5:9) “Being mindful of the work of your faith and labour and charity: and of the enduring of the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess. 1:3) And St. Peter says, “Wherefore, brethren, labour the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election. For doing these things, you shall not sin at any time.” (2 Pt. 1:10) From St. Alphonsus Marie de Liguori’s book The Dignity and Duties of Priests, we read, “St. Bernard says that the solicitude of the devils for our destruction should make us solicitous in laboring for salvation.”[2] For Catholics to gain eteral life, St. Paul says they must finish and win the race for the salvation of their immortal souls. He says, “Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run that you may obtain.” (1 Cor. 9:24) The Haydock Commentary on his passage says, “It is true in our case many obtain the crown for which we strive, but every one is in danger of losing it, and so must use all his endeavours to obtain it.”

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Blog Updates

Voice in the wilderness has just passed 60 posts since its conception back in April. There have been some recent updates, one of the most notable of which was the decision to invite Philip Candido, AKA: Athanasius, of Athanasius Contra Mundum to contribute to VITW a series on Archbishop Lefebvre and the origins and development of the SSPX from the indult/SSPX perspective, which will be coming up sometime soon, hopefully, considering that we've left it at his discretion as to the date of its production. Also, there has been the addition of a few posts to the series on the Ottaviani Intervention, which is still somewhat in the works, that has been one of the major post series's and objectives of VITW in its topic of the Traditional Catholic movement. We have also the addition of several posts regarding Protestant beliefs, such as sola scriptura and sola fide, which has bearing on the modern ecumenism of Vatican II and its subsequent theologies and exegesis, two Protestant heresies that must be as G. K. Chesterton says, "whatever may be said for it [error], the most important thing to be said about it is that it is erroneous", described as the errors that they are. There was also the coverage of the Motu Prorio, back in July, and the reaction of bishop Fellay, superior general of the SSPX, and the document on the clarification on the doctrine of the faith also produced in July, including a commentary on it and its effects. This being to keep you up to speed as to what's been going down and, also to introduce what is about to transpire out here in the wilderness.
In Christo,