Why Does God Favor Some Souls More Than Others?

Why Does God Favor Some Souls More Than Others?

Strangely, this question was on my mind recently. 

I’m going to be doing only one thing: I shall begin to sing what I must sing eternally: “The Mercies of the Lord!” (Psalm 89[88]:1)… Opening the Holy Gospels my eyes fell upon these words: “And going up a mountain, he called to him men of his own choosing, and they came to him.” This is the mystery of my vocation, my whole life, and especially the mystery of the privileges Jesus showered upon my soul. He does not call those who are worthy but those whom he pleases or as St. Paul says: “God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and he will show pity to whom he will show pity. So then, there is question not of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God showing mercy” (Romans 9: 15-16).

I wondered for a long time why God has preferences, why all souls don’t receive an equal amount of graces. I was surprised when I saw him shower his extraordinary favors on saints who had offended him, for instance, St. Paul and St. Augustine, and whom he forced, so to speak, to accept his graces. When reading the lives of the saints, I was puzzled at seeing how Our Lord was pleased to caress certain ones from the cradle to the grave, allowing no obstacle in their way… Jesus deigned to teach me this mystery. He set before me the book of nature; I understood how all the flowers he has created are beautiful… And so it is in the world of souls. He willed to create great souls comparable to lilies and roses, but he has created smaller ones and these must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God’s glances when he looks down at his feet. Perfection consists in doing his will, in being what he wills us to be.

Saint Th�r�se of the Child Jesus (1873-1897), Carmelite, Doctor of the Church

From today’s reflection at


Simcha’s reflecting in a similar vein about the diverse talents and vocations God grants to men: Brilliant Men in Dark Boxes

Listen to me.  God sends certain men to achieve certain great deeds while they live.  They are not responsible for what future generations may require:  that is up to the heroes born of those generations.  Great men are great because they do what needs to be done at the time.  They put their own desires and frailties aside, and they make the world new with their particular strengths, their particular form of brilliance.  Heck, that�s what Martin Luther King Jr. did.  A holy man?  No.  He was a serial adulterer.  And Washington owned slaves, and John Paul II allowed the monster Maciel to flourish.

But they were great men.  They took their personal, God-given talents and turned them into something immense � something that made the world better.

It�s not just that we should forgive the wrong they did because they did so much good (although that is also true).  No.  I�m saying that these men were good in the way that they were designed to be good, great according to their own natures.  George Washington�s great strength wasn�t as an abolitionist, you know?  John Paul II�s great strength wasn�t as a disciplinarian.  It wasn�t his calling.

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  • Janet,

    I think I was really thrown when she announced that she was going to tell her story now and then… didn’t. I felt like it was a narrative betrayal. I kept waiting and waiting for her story and it never came. I guess that’s what unreliable narrators do; but my curiosity was never satisfied. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent too much time myself spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere, I’m impatient with a character who does the same. I’m usually not very patient with people whose faults are those I particularly dislike in myself.

  • I’ve had this book, a used copy, on my shelf for three years, at least. Haven’t read it yet therefore i seriously skimmed your post in case of spoilers. If Berkman has read it, well, I think I may pick it up – not now though, too much philosophy and Mariology to read for seminary classes.