San Damiano Cross   

Caritas Newsletter 

July 28, 1994
by Fr. Lucian Pulvermacher, OFM Cap. 

on Free Will, Intellect & Faith

Once again, I open my letter with words of St. Peter in his 2nd Epistle, the 1st verse. I address myself, "to them that have obtained equal faith with us in the justice of our God and Savior Jesus Christ." May the grace and peace of Christ be with each and every one of you. I pray that the Holy Ghost may give to me the words of truth and that you may have the receptive power to receive the truth. 

From my habitual dealing with you it appears clear to me that many of you are not well founded in the basic truths of psychology and faith. Hence, to make my words clear, I have developed what might be called a graph. It explains in unmistakable terms the three different types of people that are on earth. We belong to one of these classes. We must be concerned about the dichotomy between "faith" and it absence. 

In seems that those who are without faith are totally oblivious of their plight, for it is revealed by God that "without faith it is impossible to please God" and therefore it is impossible to go to heaven. Indeed this is a great plight and tragedy. Here is the graph: 

Free Will
Free Will
Mr. A Mr. B Mr. C
Mr. A is a person who is insane. He lacks (at least functionally) human intelligence. He cannot even reason out that two times two is four. 

Mr. B is a person who has his intellect and free will. He can think, and he can make free choices. However, all his operations are in the natural order. Being without divine and Catholic faith he cannot enter the realm of the supernatural. Unfortunately, he is unaware of his plight. 

Mr. C is a person who not only has the natural powers of intellect and free will functioning in the natural order, he also has faith. Faith is our supernatural intellect, so to say. It is a power similar to the intellect, and yet it is entirely above the natural order. It is in the supernatural order. 

Just as the idiot cannot reason in the natural order, so too the person without divine and Catholic faith cannot "reason" in the supernatural order. 

Briefly, Mr. A before Mr. B generally is entirely unaware that he is lacking something. Likewise, Mr. Be before Mr. C generally is unaware that he is lacking something. The difference between Mr. A and Mr. B is not just a matter of degree, it is a matter of kind. Likewise, the difference between Mr. B and Mr. C is not just a matter of degree, it is a matter of kind

What do we mean when we contrast "degree" with "kind?" When Mr. A has dealings with Mr. B, we do not say that Mr. B is just more learned that Mr. A. It would be stupid to make such a statement. Mr. A has no capacity for learning. Hence, there is no ground for comparison. The difference between Mr. A and Mr. B is one of kind, not degree

When Mr. B meets another Mr. B, there is a difference not of kind but of degree. In dealings between a Doctor and a Nurse, see a difference of degree and not of kind. Both have natural intelligence. However, they do not have the same degree of learning. 

Next we deal with the difference between Mr. B and Mr. C. Again the difference is not one of degree but one of kind. When Mr. C deals with Mr. B, he is dealing with someone who is insane in the supernatural order. This is a fact; this is a hard reality, and Mr. B loathes to admit this. Once again, Mr. C is not just more receptive to truths. He is of a kind different from Mr. B. Very likely, Mr. B just thinks that Mr. C is gullible, one who believes everything and anything. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Let me give you an example of what I am talking about. When I was in the seminary, we instructed willing non-Catholics in the faith, by means of a correspondence course. A non-Catholic mother and grown daughter took the course together. Both were doing very well, and it seemed that they were converting to the Catholic Church. Both agreed on the doctrines in the catechism until the explanation of the Holy Eucharist. There it said that in the Eucharist, there is no bread and wine left after the Consecration of the Mass, but only the Body and Blood of Christ (together with His soul and divinity) under the appearances of bread and wine. 

At that point, there was the parting of the ways. The mother said to her daughter, "Do you believe that stuff? I can never believe that." In reply, the daughter said to her mother, "Certainly, I believe that. God revealed that truth, and I believe that with all my mind and heart." Note well, both had the identical same knowledge. However, the mother did not possess the supernatural faculty of learning which the daughter now possessed. The daughter received and accepted the gift of faith. The mother received the gifts of faith, but she rejected it. 

When making man, God ordained that each and every one of His human creatures were to function both with a natural intellect and with a supernatural intellect. When either of these are absent, the human being is defective. Hence, the atheist is not just less learned in supernatural truths, but he is entirely without supernatural truth. God directs man to his natural end by the human intellect, and He directs him to his supernatural end with his faith. As already stated, even a naturally good intellect is defective when it is not assisted by divine and Catholic faith. 

The Bible

Let us consider the Bible. Nearly all conservative ministers claim that the King James Bible is the true Bible. Just how do they know that it is truly authentic. Those ministers either give it authenticity themselves or they learn of its authenticity from some higher authority. If a minister can give authenticity to the Bible, he does not need the Bible at all. If he depends on some higher authority, just who is that authority that is higher than himself? 

Just for fun, let us imagine the minister happens to possess the true Bible. Can he interpret it? No way. Let us read what St. Peter (2 Peter 3, 15-16) has to say: 

    "And account the long suffering of our Lord, salvation: as also our most dear brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, hath written to you. As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things had to be understood, wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, to their own destruction."
In a word, we must both get the words of God from His Church and then have it explained to us by that Church. There is no other infallible way to supernatural truth which is absolutely necessary for us if we are to attain the everlasting joys of heaven. Anything less than heaven is hell, where there is unending punishment. 

What You Need to Enter Heaven

Lest I leave you in confusion about the full requirements for entering heaven, I shall enumerate those supernatural qualities here. One must have the 3 theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. When one has those virtues, he has the supernatural life of the soul, called Sanctifying Grace. The starting point is this dogma of the faith, "outside the Church there is no salvation." Please note what the Council of Florence (1438-1445) told the Jacobites in "Cantata Domino." In Denzinger, number 714, it enumerates those not presumed to have sanctifying grace. Quote: "It (the Catholic Church) firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart "into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels" � unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church." 

Company Keeping

It seems that some of our young people consider themselves lion trainers. Without the least compunction, they start company keeping with those who are without divine and Catholic faith. When you get in trouble before the judgment seat of God, you cannot tell God that I did not warn you! 

The 3 Days of Darkness

From very many credible sources, we are told that there will be 3 days of darkness. If we are still alive when those 3 days of darkness occur, what are we to do? I am taking the following information from a booklet by Lousi W. Barta Publications. Without being sure (i.e. this is not a dogma of the faith), I am going to give a reasonable trust to his quotations. You do as you like. 
  1. Go indoors. Blessed Taigi is quoted as saying "he who out of curiosity, opens his window to look out, or leaves his home, will fall dead on the spot." 
  2. Pray constantly. That is simple common sense. 
  3. Light blessed wax candles. Again Blessed Taigi is quoted as saying: "It will be impossible to use any man-made lights during this darkness except blessed candles." There is no universal agreement as to the content of the candles. Must they be of bees wax? I do not know. What is demanded is that the candles be blessed. If you do not have a blessed candle, and are fortunate enough to have access to a true priest, then have him bless one for you. Also, it says that the person lighting the candle must be in sanctifying grace, hence, a Catholic. Outside the Church there is no sanctifying grace, believe it or be damned. The size of the candle does not matter. It will burn for the duration of the darkness. 
  4. Use Holy Water. That is a religious and common sense thing to do. Again, if you have access to a true priest, have him bless some water for you. 

Contrition & Words 

When you pray your penance, you are to mouth your words. The penance is all right (obligation fulfilled) even if you have distractions. However, when making the act of contrition, no words are necessary. We use an exact formula to lead our thoughts and sentiments where they must be. If the formula is burdened with distractions that leaves one without the internal acts, the act of contrition is no good. Hence, really get down to reality whenever you make the act of contrition. This is especially necessary when the act of perfect contrition is to remove mortal sin. Never treat the act of contrition as some kind of prayer. 

Once again, I must conclude my visit with you. I have done this work of love prayerfully, and I hope that you also receive it prayerfully. May we all be one in the truth. God bless you. 

Sincerely yours in Jesus and Mary, 
Fr. Lucian, OFM Cap. 

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