Salvation for many of our separated brothers and sisters in Christianity is as simple as confessing Jesus as Lord and Saviour. And so, we disagree, because as Catholic Christians, we believe that evidence that a person has accepted their free gift of salvation must exist. So, in simplest terms, we as Catholic Christians believe that that evidence is manifested in a life that shows good works as the fruit of that salvation. If you were to accept Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour, but then hide that free gift under a barrel figuratively, by just going on with your life as you did the day before you accepted that free gift, are you really saved?
My focus is not to debate this concept, but to share the light that has been shed by some things I came across this morning during prayer.
This morning the Lauds in the Breviary were in celebration of one of the Doctors of the Church, St. Leo the Great. The reading was from the Book of Wisdom, which sadly does not form part of the canon of scripture for our separated brethren, as it is one of the deutero-canonical books. But these verses from Wisdom 7:13-14 struck my prayer partners and me as important.
Simply I learned about her (Wisdom), and ungrudgingly do I share- her riches I do not hide away; For to men she is an unfailing treasure; those who gain this treasure win the friendship of God, to whom the gifts they have from discipline commend them.The word "Simply" jumped off the page to me as I read it aloud to my brothers, and we then discussed it, as it struck us all as important. We can study our backsides off trying to understand scripture, and reading commentaries and other literature. We can nail down salvation, redemption, and all the other concepts of the bible intellectually.
We can possess all the knowledge in the world, but Wisdom is different. It comes simply, not by any effort on our part, but by the work of the Holy Spirit in a willing soul, by a soul that sits quietly and lets God minister to our hearts. I have wondered why an ongoing and contentious dialogue that I have been having with one lapsed Catholic who says that he has found his salvation in the Reformed Church, and feels compelled to save Catholics from the whore of Babylon, has been so mentally challenging, as we debate scripture verses and Church teachings, but has been so unsettling, not in its content or our disagreeing about it, but as it turns out, in its lack of Wisdom.
He shares his knowledge. I share my knowledge. We disagree with each other, and do not draw closer to each other for having shared knowledge. And yet Jesus calls us to be One, as He and the Father are One. Knowledge, even of scripture, is still man's knowledge of God's Holy Word.
Wisdom does not need to win debates. Wisdom does not even have to debate. Wisdom is a treasure to be cherished as its Source. And as we SIMPLY gain this treasure through our existing love of God, we grow in friendship with Our God.
I see how I have contributed my knowledge, and maybe even that of the Catholic Church, at least to some extent to this debate, but have not walked in Wisdom. I think it would be wise to stop the debate, as the only fruit I have witnessed for me, is a disquiet in my soul that I am intent on winning a debate, rather than growing closer to My Lord day by day.
That's a lousy trade.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in your love for me, for my debating partner, and for all those who seek to love and serve you to the best of their abilities.