Several years ago, my adorable wife and I had a heated argument. Things were said that hurt terribly. I sat in the living room, thinking. She was in the kitchen, and I looked at her. The thought that occurred to me—which I will never forget—was: “I love you because I choose to love you, and I choose to never stop loving you. It is not because of what you do or what you do not do; I just choose to love you always.”
This leads me to today’s Gospel reading, regarding the woman accused of adultery being brought to Jesus. It causes my mind to go back to the Old Testament, to the minor prophet Hosea. I am not going to go into the literal interpretation of the Book; I want to talk about the spiritual meaning. God told Hosea, “Go, get for yourself a woman of prostitution.” “Hosea” means “strength of God.” The strength of God is Jesus Christ. The woman of prostitution is us, humanity, those who will become the Bride of Christ. When we sin, we essentially commit adultery against God.
Many people hate predestination. We must remember that the Catholic Church says that to not believe in predestination is heresy and to not believe in free will is heresy. The Catholic Church plainly teaches that the Blessed Virgin was predestined. Nevertheless, her will was free and she used it in obedience. Jesus told the twelve, “You did not choose Me; I chose you.” What do we have that we did not receive? Grace comes before faith, and grace came without us asking for it or earning it. If we are saved by virtue of our using our free will, how can we thank God for saving us? He would only be giving us what we earned. St. Paul did not ask to be saved. He was trying to destroy the Church. Nevertheless, when Christ chose him, gave him grace and faith, he cooperated by utilizing his free will. When we bring our babies to the Church to be baptized, the babies do not ask to be saved, do not ask for grace or faith. Although it is our will to have them baptized, that is only our will cooperating with the gifts of grace and faith which the Holy Spirit first put in us. “But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. God works hard to save us, but we can reject His grace and the faith he gives us as a result of that grace by loving the things of the world more than Christ. Too often we attempt to become our own judge, making the decision whether we have done, or are doing enough, to remain in that grace.
This theological reflection courtesy of the parishioners of St Paul Catholic Church in Pensacola, Florida: stpaulcatholic.net