The Gift: Salvation in the Catechism Rob Koons St. Louis
The Gift: Salvation in the Catechism Rob Koons St. Louis
Salvation in the Catechism
St. Louis King of France
March 4, 2013
Why Should You be
Admitted to Heaven?
A typically Evangelical
It's a good question: we
should know the proper
Catholic and Christian
What do I base my hope of
Some Possible Answers
Because Jesus saved me.
Because I have faith in/ believe in Jesus.
Simply by God's grace ( undeserved favor
Because I have lived the sort of life that
merits eternal happiness.
How do these answers
relate to each other?
This is the central problem that still divides
Catholics and Protestants.
Many Protestants say: we are saved by
God's grace through faith alone.
Are good works needed? The sacraments Eucharist and reconciliation?
We are saved by Grace
Grace is God's favor and help for us, which
we cannot earn or deserve.
God graciously infuses in us the three
theological virtues: faith, hope and love.
When we cooperate with God's grace, His
grace in our lives merits still more grace.
Faith: The Beginning
We cannot convert ourselves.
Faith is a free gift. Nothing we can do
before faith can merit the gift of faith.
CCC 153: Faith is a gift of God, a
supernatural virtue infused by Him.
The Pelagians held that this cause was
nothing else than man's free-will: and
consequently they said that the beginning of
faith is from ourselves.... But this is false, for,
since man, by assenting to matters of faith, is
raised above his nature, this must needs
accrue to him from some supernatural principle
moving him inwardly; and this is God. ST II-II
The Council of Trent
We are justified freely, because none of those
things which precede justification -- whether
faith or works -- merit the grace itself of
justification. For, if it be a grace, it is not now by
works, otherwise, as the same Apostle says,
grace is no more grace.
Sixth Session, Chapter 8.
Merit and Grace are not
The merit of man before God in the Christian life
arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to
associate man with the work of his grace. The fatherly
action of God is first on his own initiative, and then
follows man's free acting through his collaboration, so
that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the
first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful.
Man's merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his
good actions proceed in Christ, from the
predispositions and assistance given by the Holy
Spirit. CCC 2008
Meriting isn't Earning
Catechism 2008: there is no strict merit of
man before God, since we owe him
To 'merit' God's blessing, grace is simply to
claim God's promises by meeting their
conditions. Like 'meriting' a discount by
cutting out a coupon.
Our Merit Depends on
our Connection to Christ
Filial adoption, in making us partakers by grace in the
divine nature, can bestow true merit on us as a result
of God's gratuitous justice. This is our right by grace,
the full right of love, making us "co-heirs" with Christ
and worthy of obtaining "the promised inheritance of
eternal life." The merits of our good works are gifts
of the divine goodness. "Grace has gone before
us; now we are given what is due.... Our merits are
God's gifts." CCC 2009
The Quality of our Merit
comes from Christ
The charity of Christ is the source in us of all our
merits before God. Grace, by uniting us to Christ in
active love, ensures the supernatural quality of our
acts and consequently their merit before God and
before men. The saints have always had a lively
awareness that their merits were pure grace. CCC
Faith is a free human act
God must take the initiative, but this does not
exclude the necessity for a free human response.
154 Believing is possible only by grace and the
interior helps of the Holy Spirit. But it is no less true
that believing is an authentically human act.
Trusting in God and cleaving to the truths he has
revealed is contrary neither to human freedom nor
to human reason. Even in human relations it is not
contrary to our dignity to believe what other persons
tell us about themselves and their intentions, or to
trust their promises...
155 In faith, the human intellect and will co-operate
with divine grace: "Believing is an act of the intellect
assenting to the divine truth by command of the will
Our actions are meritorious in so far as they proceed
from the free-will moved with grace by God. Therefore
every human act proceeding from the free-will, if it be
referred to God, can be meritorious.
Now the act of believing is an act of the intellect
assenting to the Divine truth at the command of the
will moved by the grace of God, so that it is subject to
the free-will in relation to God; and consequently the
act of faith can be meritorious. ST II-II, q2, a9
Faith is the Beginning
We are therefore said to be justified by faith,
because faith is the beginning of human
salvation, the foundation, and the root of all
Justification; without which it is impossible to
please God.... Council of Trent, Sixth
Session, chapter 8.
Living vs. Dead Faith
A living faith is 'formed' by love or charity.
We are saved by faith 'working through
love' (Galatians 5:6).
When the gift of charity is lost (through
mortal sin), the gift of faith may remain, but
then it is dead faith.
Dead faith cannot save. James 2:14-24.
The gift of faith remains in one who has not
sinned against it. But "faith apart from
works is dead": when it is deprived of
hope and love, faith does not fully unite the
believer to Christ and does not make him a
living member of his Body. 1815
Mortal Sin and its
Mortal sin involves three elements: grave
matter, knowledge and freedom.
It implies a decisive turning away from God
and His grace.
The sacramental remedy: confession and
Council of Trent
CANON XXVII.-If any one saith, that there is no mortal sin
but that of infidelity; or, that grace once received is not lost by
any other sin, however grievous and enormous, save by that
of infidelity ; let him be anathema.
CANON XXIX.-If any one saith, that he, who has fallen after
baptism, is not able by the grace of God to rise again; or, that
he is able indeed to recover the justice which he has lost, but
by faith alone without the sacrament of Penance, contrary to
what the holy Roman and universal Church -- instructed by
Christ and his Apostles -- has hitherto professed, observed,
and taught; let him be anathema.
Object of Faith
The object of our faith is God and His
promises, offered to us thought the Holy
We don't put faith in our own faith, or our
own experiences or feelings.
The Sacraments don't depend on us for
their validity: ex opere operato ( they act
by their own action, not ours).
Faith comes from the
Word of God
21. Therefore, like the Christian religion itself, all the
preaching of the Church must be nourished and regulated by
Sacred Scripture. For in the sacred books, the Father who is
in heaven meets His children with great love and speaks
with them; and the force and power in the word of God is so
great that it stands as the support and energy of the Church,
the strength of faith for her sons, the food of the soul, the
pure and everlasting source of spiritual life. Consequently
these words are perfectly applicable to Sacred Scripture:
"For the word of God is living and active" (Heb. 4:12) and "it
has power to build you up and give you your heritage among
all those who are sanctified" (Acts 20:32; see 1 Thess. 2:13).
Vatican II, Dei Verbum, chapter 6.
Justification is at the same time the
acceptance of God's righteousness through
faith in Jesus Christ. Righteousness (or
"justice") here means the rectitude of divine
love. With justification, faith, hope, and
charity are poured into our hearts, and
obedience to the divine will is granted us.
Why Faith comes First
For since the end is the principle in matters of action, as stated
above (I-II, 13, 3; I-II, 34, 4, ad 1), the theological virtues, the
object of which is the last end, must needs precede all the
others. Again, the last end must of necessity be present to the
intellect before it is present to the will, since the will has no
inclination for anything except in so far as it is apprehended by
the intellect. Hence, as the last end is present in the will by
hope and charity, and in the intellect, by faith, the first of all the
virtues must, of necessity, be faith, because natural knowledge
cannot reach God as the object of heavenly bliss, which is the
aspect under which hope and charity tend towards Him.
Thomas Aquinas, ST II-II, q4, a7
Faith informs us about God's love and
mercy in Jesus.
By hope, we are encouraged to cooperate
with grace, despite obstacles, in pursuit of
Two opposite vices: despair and
Despair and Presumption
Despair means giving up on one's own
salvation, believing that one has exhausted
Presumption can take 2 forms:
1. Believing in my own righteousness so much that I take
no pains to avoid mortal sin.
2. Believing that I cannot lose grace even if I commit
The greatest of the three. Charity
completes the other two.
Even in heaven, love of God will remain,
uniting us with Him.
Like faith and hope, charity is infused in us
by God through the sacraments, for
Christ is the one Savior: it is His
righteousness that unites us to God.
The sacraments, the Church, Mary and
the saints are the means by which we are
drawn deeper into Christ.
Not in competition with Christ, nor
obstacles between us and Him, but means
through which we connect WTO Him.
Back to the Original
All of the answers are correct: by God's
grace, through faith, because we merit
These aren't in competition or conflict.
Christ is in all of them. He is the substance
and essence of our salvation.