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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.

Click here for the rest of today's answer

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


Philip Neri: Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise. 
<p>At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate. </p><p>As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome. </p><p>At the urging of his confessor, he was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way. </p><p>Some of his followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services. </p><p>The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory three centuries later.) </p><p>Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.</p> American Catholic Blog We need do no more than we are doing at present; that is, to love divine Providence and abandon ourselves in his arms and heart.<br />—St. Padre Pio

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