THE GIFT OF FAITH IS PARAMOUNT TO WORK OUR SALVATION. WHAT IS THE GIFT OF FAITH?
1)-SAINT AUGUSTINE SAYS GOD CREATED US WITHOUT US BUT WILL NOT SAVE US WITHOUT US.
This beautiful assertion from Saint Augustine comes from Saint Paul. Paul, writing to the Philippians, begs them to work out their salvation with all the generosity and complete dedication outpoured from their baptism.
May we read Saint Paul in his own words in Philippians 2:12:
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,…”
2)-SAINT PAUL TEACHES TO WORK OUR SALVATION IN PARTNERSHIP WITH GOD.
In saint Paul, Jesus carry my cross to salvation. However, Jesus demands my participation carrying my cross.
May we read saint Paul in Philippians 2:13-14:
“For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work. Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, …”
Saint Teresa the little flower, in her autobiography, writes that God makes us desire what He wants to give us. This citation from the saint marked me for life. If I have this desire, God is here with me giving me such desire and such impulse to work. Let’s go ahead because God will not fail me in fulfilling the plan He has for me.
3)-SAINT PAUL DEMANDS A TOTAL DEDICATION TO OUR SALVATION IN THE MIDST OF A PERVERSE GENERATION.
Saint Paul knows very well the perverse situation we are in. All the odds are against us; however, Jesus is with us.
May we read Saint Paul in his own words in Phil 2:15-16:
“that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.”
4)-THE MAIN PREOCUPATION FOR SAINT PAUL IS TO AVOID RUNNING OR LABORING IN VAIN.
Thus, for saint Paul, the words of faith are of greatest interest to people peregrinating to eternal life. It is greatly possible to run and to labor in vain. Jesus himself warns us that the majority of men and women are running and laboring in vain since they are going to hell.
May we read Jesus in his own words in Matthew 7:13-14:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.”
One of the most startling teachings of Jesus is his teaching about the two gates. It is startling because so few really stop to meditate these words of faith from Jesus himself. Even bishops and priests never preach this doctrine; thus it means they never think about it themselves. Mouth always speaks from the abundance of the heart!
5)-SAINT PAUL ALWAYS MAKES SURE HE IS NOT “BELIEVING IN VAIN.”
In his letter to the Galatians, Saint Paul proposes himself as a model of the “pilgrim of eternity.” In spite of his meeting with the resurrected Jesus together with his daily assistance in words and deeds, saint Paul must check his teachings with Peter to make sure he is not believing in vain.
May we read Saint Paul in his own words in Galatians 2:1-10:
Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain…
We did not give in to the false preachers for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you…
Peter and other apostles added nothing to my message. On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised. For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. James, Peter and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.”
Our bishops and priests should imitate the honesty of saint Paul, they should submit to Peter, today Francis 1 to make sure they are not believing in vain. To deny the original sin, bishops and priests believe in vain without any doubt. And they do it as the Episcopal body. Some bishops argue they do not deny; they just don´t talk about it. Therefore, please read and analyze with profound meditation the verb TO IGNORE in number 407 of the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.
6)-IN HIS LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS PAUL WARNS EACH ONE OF US NOT TO ABANDON THE FIGHT.
Relativism is one of the oldest heresies in the Church. Saint Paul warns us not to get loose on the words of faith. TO ABANDON DOGMAS OF FAITH, OUR BISHOPS ACCEPTED TO BELIEVE IN VAIN. Not one bishop thinks he believes in vain. It is human to give in to our human frailties! However, the words of faith must not fall in disrepute.
May we read Saint Paul in his own words in 1Cor 15:1-2:
“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.”
“TO BELIEVE IN VAIN” is a doctrine completely forgotten in the Churches especially in the Catholic Church. However, it is the starting point for people going to hell. Why our bishops and priests are so indifferent to such a forceful doctrine?
7)-SAINT PETER REMINDS US OF OUR CALLING AND ELECTION OF OUR BAPTISM.
Our baptism has consecrated us a priestly people to worship God and has dedicated our eternity to serving our Almighty Blessed Trinity. Saint Peter reminds us not to fail our priestly vocation.
May we read Saint Peter in his own words in 2Pet 1:3-6:
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;…”
In his kindness for each one of us, Saint Peter enumerates for us how the words of faith shape our lives. Through the words of faith, which are our knowledge of Jesus and his teachings, we may come to participate in the divine nature of God.
8)-FAITH IS TO ACCEPT THE WORDS OF SOMEONE ELSE AS TRUE.
As studied in the stairway of the faith, as shown in the image, FAITH COMES THROUGH HEARING! Someone must be sent to announce the words of God. Visions are no faith when not accompanied with facts. Faith is to believe through hearing and what is heard is the word of God. The words of God are supernatural; they do not belong to my human level of understanding. Therefore, God must provide me with a supernatural power to bridge the human level with the divine level. This supernatural power is called THE GIFT OF FAITH.
Thus the gift of faith IS DIFFERENT FROM FAITH.
9)-THE GIFT OF FAITH MUST BE UNDERSTOOD.
John Paul II, in his Apostolic Exhortation, CATECHESI TRADENDAE, clarifies the GIFT OF FAITH in one’s life. Faith is a gift from God. God freely gives this GIFT OF FAITH to whomever He wishes. Thus THE GIFT OF FAITH IS A VERY PRECIOUS GIFT which should be nurtured; otherwise it dies out.
May we read the Pope in his own words in CATECHESI TRADENDAE #19: the GIFT OF FAITH is
“the capacity to believe placed within them by Baptism and the presence of the Holy Spirit..”
THIS INTELLECTUAL AND SUPERNATURAL CAPACITY to believe is essential to understand and to accept the words of faith.
10)-BAPTISM CONSECRATES THE BAPTIZED BY VIRTUE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT INTO A UNITY WITH THE BLESSED TRINITY.
The Holy Spirit transforms the baptized into a new creature now vested with the promise of the resurrection.
May we read saint Paul in Galatians 3:26-27:
"For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ"
11)-JOHN PAUL II AFFIRMS THAT ALL THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE BAPTIZED IS DOOMED TO FAIL.
In baptism, the consecrated remains sealed for life and eternity into the Blessed Trinity. However, such consecration remains fruitless without the “first evangelization” received from the parents and continued in the parish church.
May we read the Pope in #19:
“…the initial evangelization has often not taken place. A certain number of children baptized in infancy come for catechesis in the parish without receiving any other initiation into the faith and still without any explicit personal attachment to Jesus Christ; they only have the capacity to believe placed within them by Baptism and the presence of the Holy Spirit;…”
12)-SUCH BAPTIZED WILL GROW WITHOUT ANY KNOWLEDGE OF THE GIFT OF FAITH THEY HAVE RECEIVED.
Most often, they grow in surroundings enemies of Christ and His Church. Perverse cultures lead them to the wide open gate where they are lost for eternity. (Matthew 7:13)
13)-PAROCHIAL CATECHESIS REMAINS THEIR MAIN HOPE TO NUTURE THEIR GIFT OF FAITH TO SALVATION.
The Pope comes to the rescue of such abandoned baptized in proclaiming the absolute necessity of bishops and priests to teach catechism.
May we read the Pope in #14:
“ it is clear that the Church has always looked on catechesis as a sacred duty and an inalienable right. On the one hand, it is certainly a duty springing from a command given by the Lord and resting above all on … bishops and priests in the ministry of being pastors. Lay catechists are a blessing but must never replace the ordained. On the other hand, one can likewise speak of a right: … every baptized person, precisely the reason of being baptized, has the right to receive from the Church instruction and education enabling him or her to enter on a truly Christian life;…”
May the Holy Spirit help us to continue nurture our gift of faith until we cross the threshold of the Beatific Vision. The professor.