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Daily Catholic Question

Do our good works help us get to heaven?

It’s my understanding that the result of all the Catholic-Lutheran dialogues confirms that Martin Luther was right all along: Works play no part in salvation and we are saved by faith alone.

I think you may have misunderstood the Lutheran-Catholic Joint Declaration on Justification, with its Common Statement and Annex.

We are saved by Jesus’ death and resurrection. Faith, however, is more than an activity of the mind; it must express itself outwardly. In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus tells a parable about the final judgment, saying that some people are saved because of their actions and other people are condemned for failing to act.

Those who are saved do not “earn” their salvation by good works. Their works of mercy simply reflect a cooperation with God’s sovereign, saving grace. Those who are condemned presumably failed to cooperate with that same grace.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 1/29/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 1/31/2013


Cyril of Alexandria: Saints are not born with halos around their heads. Cyril, recognized as a great teacher of the Church, began his career as archbishop of Alexandria, Egypt, with impulsive, often violent, actions. He pillaged and closed the churches of the Novatian heretics (who required those who denied the faith to be rebaptized), participated in the deposing of St. John Chrysostom (September 13) and confiscated Jewish property, expelling the Jews from Alexandria in retaliation for their attacks on Christians. 
<p>Cyril’s importance for theology and Church history lies in his championing the cause of orthodoxy against the heresy of Nestorius, who taught that in Christ there were two persons, one human and one divine.</p><p>The controversy centered around the two natures in Christ. Nestorius would not agree to the title “God-bearer” for Mary (January 1). He preferred “Christ-bearer,” saying there are two distinct persons in Christ (divine and human) joined only by a moral union. He said Mary was not the mother of God but only of the man Christ, whose humanity was only a temple of God. Nestorianism implied that the humanity of Christ was a mere disguise. </p><p>Presiding as the pope’s representative at the Council of Ephesus (431), Cyril condemned Nestorianism and proclaimed Mary truly the “God-bearer” (the mother of the one Person who is truly God and truly human). In the confusion that followed, Cyril was deposed and imprisoned for three months, after which he was welcomed back to Alexandria as a second Athanasius (the champion against Arianism). </p><p>Besides needing to soften some of his opposition to those who had sided with Nestorius, Cyril had difficulties with some of his own allies, who thought he had gone too far, sacrificing not only language but orthodoxy. Until his death, his policy of moderation kept his extreme partisans under control. On his deathbed, despite pressure, he refused to condemn the teacher of Nestorius.</p> American Catholic Blog Father, I have come to the understanding that Jesus asks very little from us, only that we accept him as our friend and love him and care for one another. How simple! And yet how difficult! Please give me grace not to disappoint him, who has given his all for me. I ask this in Jesus's name, Amen.

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