Thursday, February 20, 2014

Faith Without Works Is Dead

Friday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

By Melanie Rigney
See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (James 2:24, 26)
Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord’s commands. (Psalm 112:1)
Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it. (Mark 8:34-35)

Lord, let me answer Your call, doing Your will to bring souls to the kingdom.

Ah, the old faith vs. works debate. You know the basics: Protestants say we’re saved by faith alone. Catholics say we show our faith by our works. I’m no theologian, but I suspect that chasm isn’t as deep in practice as it sounds in theory. For if we are saved, are we not bursting to share the Good News with others? Do we not want to do all we can to bring souls to the kingdom? Do we have to do that? Does that really matter? Isn’t the important thing that our hearts and souls are on fire for Christ, and that we attempt to live our lives and relationships reflecting that?

We’re all on a mission here, a mission whose outward appearances vary by individual and by time and place. It may be raising a family for some; for others, it may be drawing others to faith by a charism in the arts. It may be a ministry in social justice or with friends, or it may be a ministry of cloistered contemplation and meditation.

Picking up that cross and living a Christ-centered life involves loss—loss of self, loss of demons and doubts, loss of fear and ego. It is through our attempts to live that life that we show our love—for Christ and neighbor, difficult as both may be at times. For me, all this gloriously blurs the line between faith and works, and leaves me indifferent to the great debate. And I suspect this is one of those debates that will matter little in the next world, for we’ll all be too busy singing the Lord’s praises.

What works does your faith result in today? Make a list. Thank God for the gift of your ministries. Resolve to do them joyfully.

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