Choose a topic from Part 2B:

21. Presumption

1. Presumption as a sin against hope is the wholly unreasonable expectation that God will save us despite the bad will in us which makes that saving impossible. Under the name and guise of reliance on God, presumption insults God and dishonors our own intelligence. It is presumption, for example, to expect forgiveness for sins without repentance. It is presumption to expect heaven without working to get there by merit.

2. Presumption is a sin, and can be a very grave sin, but it is not so grave a sin as despair. For, though it is inordinate and unreasonable in its expectation, presumption does recognize(however insultingly and distortedly) the divine mercy and goodness which despair utterly rejects and denies.

3. Presumption seems, at first glance, to be contrary to fear rather than to hope. For the presumptuous man seems to fear nothing, whether by servile fear or by filial fear. But this is mere seeming. The virtue to which presumption stands directly opposed is hope. Hope and presumption deal with the same object; hope, in an orderly manner; presumption, inordinately.

4. Presumption arises from vainglory, that is, from a prideful trust that a person has in himself as powerful enough to cope with anything, and as a being so excellent that God could not allow him to be punished.

"It is better to be burdened and in company with the strong than to be unburdened and with the weak. When you are burdened you are close to God, your strength, who abides with the afflicted. When you are relieved of the burden you are close to yourself, your own weakness; for virtue and strength of soul grow and are confirmed in the trials of patience."
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

* * *

"Before a man chooses his confessor, he ought to think well about it, and pray about it also; but when he has once chosen, he ought not to change, except for most urgent reasons, but put the utmost confidence in his director."
St Philip Neri

* * *

"The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God's will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

* * *