What’s on your mind?

Have a conversation with a stranger or an acquaintance, anyone at all, and take notice of how often some tantalizingly small portion lingers, refusing to release your mind to other thoughts. It is like a song that you cannot forget, the melody endlessly repeating, filling your every thought to the point approaching insanity. Now consider that perhaps, just perhaps, that persistent unrelenting voice you are hearing is the voice of God and that maybe, just maybe, He is trying to tell you something. While those thoughts that rattle around in that space that lies between your ears may be nothing more than conversational flotsam; many times they are meant as reminders or post-it notes that nag you into awareness of deeper, more pressing issues demanding your attention.

Faith in God

Faith in God

Recently my head has been filled with a nagging remnant of such a conversation and while I have attempted to rid myself of it, it refuses to relinquish its relentless hold on what few brain cells I have and insists – no it demands – that I respond or it will completely consume my every waking thought.

We believe, as Christians, that “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth” [Jn 1:14] and that God, through the sacrifice of His only Son, offered each of us a pathway and an opportunity to merit salvation. And there lies that conversational remnant that is my torment: Is faith all that is required for salvation? This is neither a mere rhetorical question nor one so easily answered. My initial reaction was essentially to plead ignorance by proxy, offering to simply agree to disagree, but the nettle wouldn’t let go and abrogation was unacceptable.

Like wisdom, mercy, and grace, faith is an absolutely gratuitous spiritual gift granted by God, endowed by the Holy Spirit. But what is faith or more specifically what constitutes an act of faith? It is defined as the assent of the intellect to a truth which is beyond its comprehension, but which it accepts under the influence of the will moved by grace and its virtue is a supernatural habit by which we firmly believe those things to be true which God has revealed.

The argument that encompasses faith and its necessity for salvation can be distilled into two opposing praxis:

  1. Faith alone (no works required) is necessary for salvation; or
  2. Faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” [James 2:17]

What must be clearly understood is that faith is absolutely essential for anyone to attain salvation. Where the argument advances is within the conditions or limitations placed upon the faithful – namely whether more is required than faith alone, and whether salvation, once attained, has a lifetime guarantee.

About that guarantee … Have you ever been asked “Have you been saved?” What is implicit within that question is that once you have said “Yes” to Jesus Christ, your mansion in heaven is quite literally guaranteed, without regard to how you might live from that moment forward.

Salvation thru faith alone is akin to a no-cost option; salvation without effort, without works, without cost is worthless, of no value. In the end you get what you pay for.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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