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Working Out Our Salvation


It is not great faith, but true faith, that saves; and the salvation lies not in the faith, but in the Christ in whom faith trusts...It is not the measure of faith, but the sincerity of faith, which is the point to be considered.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon

This month’s First Friday celebration brings with it something of an odd Gospel Passage (Luke 16:1-8), one wherein Jesus seemingly approves of the nefarious actions of a steward who suddenly finds himself in the proverbial soup with his master. In what has been dubbed, “the Parable of the Unjust Steward,” we come to find out that this steward had squandered his master’s property. In jeopardy of losing his stewardship and consequently relegated to being a beggar, the pressure is officially on and time is swiftly running out.

Being the resourceful type, the steward begins to hastily cut deals with his master’s debtors, settling their accounts for 80% and in one case even 50% on the dollar. We are told that the master commended this steward for acting with prudence, a theological virtue we‘ve reflected upon in the past
On the topic of prudence, the Cathecism of the Catholic Church states “Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it. With the help of prudence we apply the moral principles to particular cases without error, and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid.” (CCC Par. 1806). The Book of Proverbs (14:15), and Saint Thomas Aquinas for that matter, explain that prudence is “right reason in action.”

Although his tactics could be deemed questionable (at best), the steward in today’s Gospel teaches a lesson about being a good administrator of one’s life and the importance of acting with a sense of urgency as we seek to “settle the accounts” that remain unreconciled in our salvation journey. Everyone must, in essence, work out their salvation. I should point out that there is a difference between earning one’s salvation ~ an impossibility by virtue of the fact that salvation is a gift from our Lord Jesus (John 3:16) and cannot therefore be earned ~ and working our one’s salvation. The reality of the matter is, whether we want to believe it or not, we will all face our own personal Judgement Day, wherein each of us will assume the role of steward and thus give an account of ourselves and the lives we‘ve lead.

Where do you hope to dwell for all of eternity? There are but two choices. What’s your plan in order to secure your first choice? In this particular case, settling for your second option would result in the unthinkable (Matthew 13:42).

Everyone’s life journey and subsequent path to salvation is different. Some are rocky. All are challenging. But we need not be alarmed by that. We have a Savior who loves and fights for his children. Through the gifts of the Commandments and the Gospels, we have the roadmap. Though the Holy Eucharist, we have the food to fortify us for the journey as we do our best to follow that roadmap. When we stumble and fall ~ not if ~ we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation wherein our Lord forgives us 70 x 7 times, not to mention all the divine graces he lavishes upon us in this great Sacrament of healing. As those who partake of the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a regular basis will quickly tell you, the graces you receive in the Confessional go far beyond forgiveness.

Working out our salvation requires that we cultivate not only a spirit of prudence, but one of perseverance as well. We must come to despise sin, cherish obedience and pray to the Holy Spirit so that we may grow in the virtues of wisdom, patience and humility.

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“Let us begin in earnest to work out our salvation,” said Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, “for no one will do it for us, since even He Himself, Who made us without ourselves, will not save us without ourselves.” As this great Saint knew, Jesus loves us enough to always seek our cooperation in all the amazing things that He does for us; the Salvation journey is no different.

Take a page from the steward’s book and become the resourceful disciple with a plan. A plan that will let you, as our Psalmist declares in today’s Responsorial Psalm (122), “go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.”

For some thoughts on today’s 1st Reading (Philippians 3:17-4:1), please click on the following link:

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