Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Wrath of God

I once heard a Scott Hahn recording, in which he speculated that the “wrath of God” is when God gives us what we ask (wrongly) for in prayer. In other words, God does us a favor when He does not give us what we ask for because we too often ask for what will not assist us on our way to heaven, but gives us what we need instead. To remove this, and give us what is objectively not good for us, certainly would seem to be a sign of wrath. Nice theory.

Then I find this in St. Alphonsus de Ligouri’s “Preparation for Death”

“The physician,” says St. Augustine, “knows better than the patient what is useful to him”(1). The holy doctor adds, that God refuses to some through mercy, what he gives to others through wrath.(2) Hence we should ask temporal blessings only on condition that they will be profitable to the soul. But spiritual graces, such as pardon of sins, perseverance, divine love, and the like, should be asked absolutely, and with a firm confidence of obtaining them.

1. Ap. S. Prosp. Sent. 212
2. Serm. 354.

1 comment:

  1. The truth of this was even grasped to a certain extent by the pagans of classical times. The ancient Greeks said that whom the gods wish to destroy, they favor (i.e., with worldly abundance).

    Of course, the gods of the Greek pantheon were arbitrary, lustful, vengeful, and otherwise replete with every human failing -- not paragons of justice or charity by any stretch of the imagination. But the realization that great wealth and power could corrupt and ultimately ruin forever was still a kernel of truth that was not lost on the pagans.