Two Questions about Romans 8:28, and two Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Brothers and sisters: we know that all things work for the good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. –Romans 8:28.

Two questions about this. The first about our knowledge, the second about God’s purpose. [Spanish]

Question 1:  We “know” that all things work for the good of those who love God.  How do we know it?

Let us freely acknowledge that Romans 8:28 is not self-evident. A lot of people out there disagree. They say they do not know that all things work for the good.

Many of our brothers and sisters in this world look around at the way things work, and they despair. They see nothing but selfishness, or the law of the jungle, or corruption, or the slow arc of inevitable death. Some people have the sense that the higher powers of the universe do not love the human race.

Seven Gifts of the Holy SpiritSo our being able to perceive the sweet hand of divine Providence–that is a spiritual gift, not a purely logical deduction. To know what Romans 8:28 says we know: We call that the Holy Spirit’s gift of knowledge, one of the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Our interior perception that God is in charge of everything, that there is a reason behind everything.

St. Paul pointed out earlier in his letter to the Romans that God brings good out of evil: From the evil of Satan’s temptation, the Fall of Adam and Eve, and the whole history of human sin, God has brought about the infinitely greater good of the mission of His Son to the earth.

Jesus Christ—who suffered and died unjustly, then rose again—Jesus is the best possible thing that ever could have happened.  His goodness trumps all the evil that has ever been or ever will be; His goodness overcomes it all, and turns all evil into an opportunity for holiness.

So now we can answer our first question easily enough: We know what Romans 8:28 says we know; we know that all things work for the good of those who love God and have been called according to his purpose, because:

God became man, lived for us as a man, died for us as a man, rose again and ascended into heaven as a man. And He pours His Spirit out from heaven into our hearts to give us interior knowledge of Himself.

Now, a second question. Romans 8:28 refers to “God’s purpose.” What is God’s purpose in guiding everything as He does?

paulprison12
St. Paul in Prison by Rembrandt

The answer is simple and obvious on one level and impossible to fathom on another. The Lord Jesus taught us God’s purpose in everything: that we would share the divine glory forever.

Simple enough, on the one hand. On the other hand, though: we do not yet see what this glorious destiny of ours is. The prospect of seeing God and being like Him is so utterly beyond our capacities to feature that for now our destiny must remain an interior mystery of faith. So again, the Holy Spirit comes to our aid with a special gift.

The Lord pours divine wisdom into our souls so that we can savor the sweetness of heaven a little bit, even before we get there. The sweetness we savor is nothing other than the sweetness of true love. God’s purpose is to love, and to love us above all. The Holy Spirit lifts us up towards God so that we can have a little share in the divine point-of-view even now.

This wisdom even allows us to savor God’s sweetness in the midst of severe trials and tribulations. We can savor God’s sweetness even in the face of the evils God allows us to have to endure so that we might grow in holiness and conformity to Christ.

Our pilgrimage is not easy, and we have to fight hard in order to attain the victory over sin. But through it all, by virtue of the Spirit’s gifts, we know that all things are working together for our good; we can even have the wisdom to see the crosses we have to carry as special gifts, as we follow in the footsteps of Christ.

 

4 thoughts on “Two Questions about Romans 8:28, and two Gifts of the Holy Spirit

  1. Knowledge helps us to know God, ourselves AND others as He does. However, “Truth and certitude are conditions of knowledge. A man may mistake error for truth and give his unreserved assent to a false statement. He may then be under the irresistible illusion that he knows, and subjectively the process is the same as that of knowledge; but an essential condition is lacking, namely, conformity of thought with reality, so that there we have only the appearance of knowledge.” (https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08673a.htm)

    When conformity of thought without reality exists, there is no true knowledge. While it is true that “His goodness overcomes it all, and turns all evil into an opportunity for holiness,” not all are capable or willing to accept His opportunities for honest reconciliation and growth. If one commits an evil act, the propagation of more evil and anger by another in response to that act is not borne of His goodness or holiness. The subsequent actions become nothing more than fruits of the Devil if the actions are also grave in nature. Holiness leads us to follow the will of God in all situations, not recompense evil for evil.

    The following is just one example of the polar opposite of holiness on this blog:

    “Jorge Bergoglio is a McCarrick himself. Either a McCarrick manqué (never did, but wanted to) or a full blown McCarrick. A despicable McCarrick.”

    There is nothing Christian, honest, or holy in that statement or the countless other insulting, slanderous, calumnious, hateful and gravely sinful statements displayed here against the Church and Her leaders. Some of the comments from your followers here and on Facebook are equally demented. Blind hatred does not come from the knowledge of our God. There is no wisdom in sinful speech.

    Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. He commanded us to love God with all of our heart and to love one another in His truths. That includes all others, even McCarrick. God calls us to love radically as He does. If we love Him with all of our heart, love for our brothers and sisters comes naturally and easy. Disdain and malice are not the way of Christ.

    Carrying the Cross is not borne in pride or an obsession over the sins of others and dedication to a personal blog.

    Wisdom allows us to know God and desire divine things above worldly things. “… Wherefore, if he fixes his end in external earthly things, his “wisdom” is called “earthly,” if in the goods of the body, it is called “sensual wisdom,” if in some excellence, it is called “devilish wisdom” because it imitates the devil’s pride, of which it is written (Job 41:25): “He is king over all the children of pride.” (https://www.newadvent.org/summa/3045.htm)

    Fortitude is what helps us endure trials and tribulations brother. It helps us suffer persecution and adversities for the sake of GOOD. There are thousands of examples proving that this blog is not for the sake of any Christian goodness. The most revealing statement you have made over the course of time was “I despise everyone involved in the pope’s Roman meeting. I despise them all.”

    “I despise.” Yes, you do, that is all you do, and that is not a gift or fruit of the Spirit of our God.

    Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,* and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

    Please follow in Christ’s footsteps! Go out into the desert for a period of time and seek God in prayer and silence so you can hear His voice over the clamor on this blog and in your mind that continues to drown Him out. Otherwise, you may end up playing pretend Aquinas with Socrates on social media for the remainder of your existence.

    I continue to pray for you.

    1. Cynthia, I continue to appreciate the time and attention you have dedicated to my well-being. Thank you for your evident love and your continued advice.

      That said, it is dishonest to use quotes out of context. Bishop Knestout used that dishonest tactic in his letter to the parishioners here in March, and it totally backfired on him. A fair consideration of the full post in question makes what I wrote much more understandable. The full post you quote from can be found here: https://frmarkdwhite.wordpress.com/2019/02/25/count-the-holy-see-among-the-abusers/

      Did you read the whole thing yourself? Seventeen months have passed since the Vatican meeting I wrote about then. What explanation do we have for the total lack of accountability among bishops and the pope? I grant you that we need to pray for the grace not to hate other human beings. But to despise systematic dishonesty is no vice. I still prefer to stand on the side of the victim-survivors, and to congratulate them for their clarity and courage. Like McCarrick victim John Doe 14, who filed suit in New Jersey this past week.

      I admire Mr. Doe 14’s evident holiness in lodging this lawsuit. His lawsuit actually shows more real love for the Church and Her future than the meeting at the Vatican in Feb. ’19 showed. Doe 14’s lawsuit insists on real accountability in the governance of the institution, which seems to me to be precisely what we need.

  2. Father Mark,I was reading the New York Post,You have to go the Metro section, Keep rolling up and you will see About Theodore Mccarrick . This was from yesterday paper.

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