On the Catholic Priesthood
The Blasphemer and the Monk
No one can be saved without exertion on his part. Some foolish people assert that no man can influence his destiny.
A Franciscan monk, Dunn Scotus by name, was one day walking alongside a field where a laborer was at work, cursing and swearing all the time. The monk begged him to desist, telling him if he used such bad language he would surely go to hell.
The Man answered: "if God has decreed that I shall go to hell, no prayers will avail me anything; if He has decreed that I shall go to heaven, I shall be saved, however much I curse and swear."
"If so," the priest rejoined, "I cannot understand why you are plowing this field. For if God has decreed that you shall have a good crop, you will have one although you do not cultivate your land: but if He has decreed that the harvest shall fail, all your labor will be in vain." The peasant replied that if he did not till the ground there would certainly be no harvest. The priest smiled, and said: "There, you have just reversed your former argument." Thus the man's eyes were opened to the falsity of fatalism.