There is hope for a soul who has fallen into the heresy of good works, as there is for any soul who has fallen into heresy, at least until the death of its bodily container.
But in order to aspire to hope from heresy, the soul must understand how deep they are in heresy.
How, then, does a soul get there? That, friends, is what Dom Chautard, is about to detail, in what he helpfully calls "stages."
Here, Dom Chautard begins his discussion of what is the first stage - the loss of supernatural foundations, which form the bedrock of the interior life:
FIRST STAGE. The soul began by progressively losing the clarity and power (if ever it had any at all) of its convictions about the supernatural life, the supernatural world, and the economy of the plan and of the action of Our Lord with regard to the relation between the inner life of the apostle and his works. He ceases to see these works except through a delusive mirage. In a subtle way, vanity comes to act as a pedestal to his supposed good intentions. “What else can I do? God has given me the gift of oratory, and I thank Him for it,” was the reply made by a certain preacher, puffed up with vain complacency, and totally extroverted, to those who are flattering him. The soul seeks itself more than it seeks God. The foreground is completely taken up by reputation, glory, and personal interests. The text, “If I pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ,” 12 becomes, to him, something altogether without meaning. Besides ignorance of principles, the lack of supernatural foundations which characterizes this stage has sometimes as its cause and sometimes as its immediate result, dissipation, forgetfulness of God’s presence, giving up ejaculatory prayers and custody of the heart, want of delicacy of conscience and of regularity of life. Tepidity is close at hand, if it has not already begun.Friends, from here, everything falls. This is an example of gradualism - make one allowance for evil, and sooner or later, more and more evil will be tolerated, until, eventually, all evil will be tolerated. It is a pattern we see time and again throughout history, even in Catholicism's Golden Age, in various forms.
We can lose this clarity and power of our convictions of the supernatural life not just by the methods Dom Chautard puts up here. It can also happen when we begin to view Holy Mother Church as merely a vehicle of affirming our political ideologies - which is just as tragic, if not more so - and which many have done and continue to do.