The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Thoughts on Salvation

After preaching on salvation (see previous post) this morning, I found myself thinking about the wonders of God's mercy. Here are a few of the thoughts that bounced around in my undisciplined mind:
Salvation is not something we can give ourselves. It is pure gift.

It is especially wonderful to realize that God's mercy means salvation is not reserved for the mystics; it's offered to everyone. It is God's grace, a gift from Jesus, through the Holy Spirit that saves. Our interior prayer life is important in that it helps us become vessels for that gift, but it's not necessary for salvation.

Religion, then, doesn't save. Only Jesus Christ saves. Jesus is God's gift of Himself to us. Our Christian faith is not a religion, but a revelation. It's not something we have devised to lead us to God; rather it's a gift from God through which He reveals to us the Way and the Truth and the Life.

The gulf between God, the eternal Creator of all, and man, the creature, is so objectively great it is beyond our understanding or imagining. But Jesus Christ is the Bridge. He is the One who spans the gulf between God and man. To be this Bridge Jesus had to become one of us and yet remain God as well. This had to be. It had to be because God is Love and only such an act could show us the depth of God's love. What a wonderful mystery this is!

All who are saved are saved through Jesus Christ. Every Jew, every Muslim, every Hindu, every Buddhist who is ultimately saved -- and, yes, millions upon millions of these will be saved -- is saved only through Jesus Christ. The Law doesn't save. The Five Pillars of Islam don't save. Yoga doesn't save. Nirvana isn't salvation. All who are saved are saved because Jesus Christ, the Word of God, came into the world. Through His infinite love, He not only saves those who know Him and believe in Him, but He also saves those people of good will who do not know him. To believe otherwise is to place human limits on God's mercy.

We need the Church -- the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church -- because without it we would distort God's gift of faith through human error. We need the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit just as Jesus promised, to keep us from error and on the path God wants for us, to help us accept the gift of salvation.
Pax et bonum. Being is certainly good.

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