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  • Deacon Dan Wright serves the Diocese of Austin, Texas. His work outside the parish is as a special education teacher serving students with significant cognitive disabilities.

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  • Family activities, spirituality, liturgy, Christian apologetics, social justice topics, special education issues, and promoting the peace and unity of the human family.
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« Sunday Sermon: Finding the Faith of Nachshon | Main | Sunday Sermon: Something Truly Amazing »

September 04, 2011

Comments

Roland Stoller

"[b]Everything we have was given to us for a little while just to share[/b], and in giving, in loving, we attain salvation." --Deacon Dan Wright

A very fitting ending to a very thoughtful, wide, and and deep message!

while I am a little hesitant to agree with the un-bolded portion, the entire message has clarion rings of truth all through-out.

RolandJS

Deacon DW

Thanks for commenting Roland. Can you tell me what it is that you disagree with in the statement? I'll reply with my best answer and we can go from there.

Roland Stoller

...and in giving, in loving, we attain salvation." --Deacon Dan Wright

Perhaps disagreement is not the word I meant.
Obviously avoiding the extremes "earn salvation by works" and "do-nothing freebie salvation," which I don't either of us believes -- I'm simply indicating that caution be taken when we say or write about anything that we can do to attain salvation.
After Jesus and Him crucified, after Jesus and Him raised from the dead -- sometimes some things we hoomin' beans add can and does often muddy the waters within Christendom.
Perhaps the word "attain" is what I am urging caution upon, maybe we can clarify the word better? Whatchathink?
Roland

Deacon DW

Okay Roland – let’s take a look at this and see whether it’s just a semantic thing or if talking about what we can do to attain salvation is valid.

To answer there’s two places I want to go: scripture and to the witness of what historical Christianity holds and has held in this regard.

Sirach 15:14-16 makes it clear to us that in the beginning God left humanity to the power of our choices. He gave us free will so that we choose the path we will take. Therefore, in our freedom we choose whether or not we will participate with God and go on the path that leads to salvation.

Another way to look at it is that we might think of our actions of giving and loving as being our fulfillments in following the commandments of God. Romans 13:10 teaches us that love is the fulfillment of the law.

The Vatican II document Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, teaches us that we “attain to salvation by faith, baptism, and fulfillment of the commandments.” Philippians 3:10-11 tells us, “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” However, we know that without the help of God’s grace we cannot attain our ultimate end. Several places in Lumen Gentium refer to attaining salvation. It is not that we understand this as somehow being apart from grace, but that grace makes actions possible that lead to the attaining of salvation. In this way humanity forms a partnership with God.

Perhaps the Catechism of the Catholic Church (section 1993) clarifies best in terms of the concern you raise:

Justification establishes cooperation between God's grace and man's freedom. On man's part it is expressed by the assent of faith to the Word of God, which invites him to conversion, and in the cooperation of charity with the prompting of the Holy Spirit who precedes and preserves his assent:
When God touches man's heart through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, man himself is not inactive while receiving that inspiration, since he could reject it; and yet, without God's grace, he cannot by his own free will move himself toward justice in God's sight.

Roland Stoller

Deacon Wright!
Thank you very much for your gracious and thorough explanation!
You very well answered my questions and comments!
We shall meet again, in other topics :)
RolandJS

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