Isn’t the believer’s response to grace by faith a “work”?

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Q: Isn’t the believer’s response to grace by faith a “work”?

A: Faith is a virtue that is the result of cooperating with God’s grace.

Faith is also a free-will response to grace.

Grace always precedes faith. Without grace, there can be no saving faith.

Infant baptism as routinely practiced in the Catholic Church is the only authentic demonstration of salvation with no personal works at all, since the infant can do nothing for himself and is wholly dependent on the grace of God and the faith of the Church for his salvation.

So much for all those who say Catholics “work” their way to Heaven!

Inviting Protestant in-laws to a Catholic (infant) Baptism?

Q: Inviting Protestant in-laws to a Catholic (infant) Baptism?

I am having my baby baptized, but all of my in-laws are hardcore Baptists/Evangelists. Should I even invite people who aren’t Catholic, or will they be respectful about it? Anyone had a similar experience?

They are always bagging on me for being Catholic, giving me names of “different” churches that we can attend. I have a feeling that they will roll their eyes through the whole ceremony and glare at me for not doing things the Baptist way.

A: You definitely should invite them … because it would be an insult not to.

Your non-Catholic relatives probably don’t believe in original sin. They don’t believe in the primacy of grace, and they don’t believe in the necessity of sacraments for the purpose of infusing grace into the soul.

Surprisingly … Baptists don’t believe in the necessity and effectiveness of the sacrament of baptism, either … they think it’s just a nice thing to do … but only for those who are old enough to make a profession of faith … hence their problems with infant baptism.

Ask the priest or deacon to explain to all those gathered for the baptism that infant baptism, as practiced in the Catholic Church, is THE most definitive demonstration of salvation with ABSOLUTELY NO WORKS AT ALL … according the FAITH of the Church … FREELY given by God … who desires all to be SAVED, and to come to the knowledge of his TRUTH.

Since the Holy Spirit IS the Spirit of Truth … and “knowing” that truth involves the indwelling of one’s soul by that same Spirit … it’s clear that Catholics have always had this one right, from the very earliest days of the Church.

It would also be a good idea to mention that grace necessarily preceeds faith … and that baptism is all about grace … and all about the Holy Spirit sweeping original sin from the soul and taking up residence there … making the infant a temple of the Holy Spirit, an adopted child of God, co-heir with Jesus Christ, a citizen of Heaven, and a member of the Church.

Let anyone attempt to make a case against that!

Furthermore … the Bible DOES NOT prohibit infant baptism … while the OT practice of circumcision is cited by St. Paul as one of the strongest precedents for infant baptism.

Your Baptist relatives will likely understand things framed in this manner … even if their Protestant beliefs don’t quite measure up.

Will many Christians ever get past salvation and into understanding the kingdom of God?

Q: Will many Christians ever get past salvation and into understanding the kingdom of God?

A: Catholics “got past” mere salvation around 1600 years ago.

That’s probably why so many protestants seem to have such a hard time figuring what Catholics believe … and why.

The simple fact is, once baptized, works DO matter, since the foundation of the Kingdom of God is not built on good intentions, but on the heroic works of Jesus Christ, and all those who, according to his grace, choose to know, love, and faithfully follow him.

Catholics: Why did Jesus forgive the criminal instantly, but not us??

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Q: Catholics: Why did Jesus forgive the criminal instantly, but not us??
When Jesus was dying, one of the criminals Jesus was being crucified with him said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”

Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
(luke 23.40)

Jesus never mentioned that the criminal hadn’t done enough in his life to be saved. In fact, he was a criminal!! So clearly he wasn’t saved by his works. Jesus says “today”, so the criminal isn’t going to Purgatory first.

Why would Jesus forgive this criminal but make us work to be saved??
 

A: You should first, seriously consider WHY Jesus didn’t choose to forgive BOTH thieves!

Next, consider that the word “Paradise” does not necessarily mean “Heaven”. If Jesus had intended to say Heaven, he likely would have. So your argument against at least the possibility of Purgatory is very, very weak. 

Consider this, as well:

Infant baptism, as typically practiced in the Catholic Church, is the most definitive example of salvation, freely given, and freely received, with absolutely no works at all, since the infant cannot “do” anything for himself, yet in every case, original sin is swept from the soul, the baptized truly becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit, an adopted child of God, a citizen of heaven, co-heir with Jesus Christ, and a member of the Church, simply because God desires all to be saved … and because the authentic Church does what it correctly understands to be God’s will.  

So far as St. Dismas, “the good thief” is concerned, it’s obvious that God provided the necessary grace of conversion that led him to make his very timely profession of faith … and I have no doubt that due to that same grace, Dismas also became truly sorry for all the sins he had committed during his lifetime … and that he would have truly repented, if he had somehow survived the cross.

Grace-inspired faith in God, contrition for sins, and authentic repentance have always been essential for forgiveness, so why shouldn’t Jesus have mercifully extended his divine favor at that time … especially since the Church … the Universal Sacrament of Salvation … did not yet exist?

Besides, God is sovereign, all powerful, not bound by ANY of  the rules he makes for us, and he has the power to “save” anyone he chooses, for any reason, or for no reason at all.

Similarly, because God is all poweful, no one, by ANY MEANS WHATSOEVER can force God to “save” them. This means that salvation will ALWAYS remain a free gift.

In light of the totality of the Gospels, Christ’s Great Commission, the teachings of the apostles, and the constant testimony and actual practice of the authentic, universal Church, the sacrament of Baptism is typically (but as in this case, not always) necessary for salvation, and once baptized, WORKS do indeed matter.

Jesus gives us the definitive word on the subject here:

Mat 25:31 And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty.
Mat 25:32 And all nations shall be gathered together before him: and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats:
Mat 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.
Mat 25:34 Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Mat 25:35 For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in:
Mat 25:36 Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.
Mat 25:37 Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry and fed thee: thirsty and gave thee drink?
Mat 25:38 Or when did we see thee a stranger and took thee in? Or naked and covered thee?
Mat 25:39 Or when did we see thee sick or in prison and came to thee?
Mat 25:40 And the king answering shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.
Mat 25:41 Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels.
Mat 25:42 For I was hungry and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty and you gave me not to drink.
Mat 25:43 I was a stranger and you took me not in: naked and you covered me not: sick and in prison and you did not visit me.
Mat 25:44 Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to thee?
Mat 25:45 Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen: I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.
Mat 25:46 And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.

In the Book of Revelation, St. John also speaks of Judgment, and of works: 

 Rev 20:11 And I saw a great white throne and one sitting upon it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away: and there was no place found for them
Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing in the presence of the throne. And the books were opened: and another book was opened, which was the book of life. And the dead were judged by those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

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