Part II, §4 "Synthesis," ch. IV "On the Certainly of Predestination," § "Signs of Predestination" of Fr. Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.'s Predestination: The Meaning of Predestination in Scripture and the Church says:
Signs of Predestination
Can we be certain in this life that we are predestined? In answer to this question the Council of Trent says: "No one, so long as he is in this mortal life, ought so far to presume as regards the secret mystery of divine predestination as to determine for certain that he is assuredly in the number of the predestinate; as if it were true that he who is justified either cannot sin any more, or, if he do sin, that he ought to promise himself an assured repentance. For, except by special revelation, it cannot be known whom God hath chosen unto Himself."14 The reason for this is because, without a special revelation, we cannot know for certain what depends solely upon God's free will. Not one of the just, unless it is specially revealed, knows whether he will persevere in the performance of good works and in prayer. We shall be, says St. Paul, "heirs indeed of God and joint heirs with Christ; yet so, if we suffer [perseveringly] with Him, that we may be also glorified with Him."15
Are there, however, any signs of predestination such as to give one a sort of moral certainty of perseverance? The Fathers, especially John Chrysostom, Augustine, Gregory the Great, Bernard, and Anselm, according to certain statements of Holy Scripture, pointed out several signs of predestination often enumerated by the theologians as follows:
- a good life;
- the testimony of a conscience that is free from serious sins and prepared rather to die than offend God grievously;
- patience in adversities endured for the love of God;
- readiness to hear the word of God;
- compassion for the poor;
- love of one's enemies;
- a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin whom we ask every day to pray for us at the hour of our death.
Among these signs, certain ones, such as Christian patience in adversity, are proof that the inequality of natural conditions is at times more than compensated by divine grace. This is borne out by the beatitudes as recorded in the Gospel: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, the meek, they that mourn, they that hunger and thirst after justice, the merciful, the clean of heart, the peacemakers, they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."16 These are the predestined. St. Thomas points out especially in his teaching that to bear patiently a heavy cross and for a long time is a sign of predestination.
14. Denz., no. 805 [=Council of Trent session 6, ch. 11]; cf. no. 826 [=Council of Trent session 6, canon 16].
15. Rom. 8: 17.
16. Matt. 5: 3–10.