Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Daily - 11/3/10

Philippians 2:12-18

12 So then, my beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling.

13 For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work.

14 Do everything without grumbling or questioning,

15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world,

16 as you hold on to the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

17 But, even if I am poured out as a libation upon the sacrificial service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with all of you.

18 In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.

What does it mean to work out our salvation? This is both a simple concept and a surprisingly difficult question to address.

It's easy, because Paul is telling us that salvation is a PROCESS that we "work out" throughout the course of our lives. The Catholic Church teaches that salvation is not a one time event, it's a journey toward union with Christ -- toward holiness. This is a lifelong endeavor. We can become "perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matt. 5:48) through prayer, acts of charity, and the graces provided in the sacraments, ESPECIALLY the Holy Eucharist.

It is difficult because it is a point of differentiation between the Catholic Church and pretty much all Protestant denominations (all 30,000 of them). If I just enter "work out your salvation" in Google, I'll get 435,000 answers. If I add "catholic teaching" , I get down to 277,000 results. If I start clicking on them, I see a lot of back and forth between Catholic and Protestant authors. Some of it can get pretty snippy. More importantly, some of it can lead you down the wrong path in your faith. So if I'm going to sit and write about this, I need to be careful and make sure I'm passing on Church teaching.

When I come to a point like this - where I'm unsure of what Church teaching really is -- I typically look to 3 sources:

1. Catechism of the Catholic Church - this is the first and best source. There's a great online version that allows you to search the CCC pretty easily. Link: .

2. Writings of the Saints, particularly the Church Fathers and the Doctors of the Church. I look to people like St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas.

3. Catholic Answers Website - this website has a great amount of Catholic teaching and explanations. Most of the teaching articles have been approved and certified by bishops - the teaching office of the Church. Link: .

Remember - when trying to learn about the Catholic Faith, it is important to first seek out what the Church teaches, from the Church itself.