Monday – Saved by Grace
Protestants often misunderstand Catholic beliefs about salvation, claiming that Catholics try to earn their way to Heaven and other such nonsense.
Indeed, Catholics firmly hold that we do not save ourselves. God saves us by grace. His grace is a free gift that He pours into our souls. We do not earn it. We cannot claim it by right.
But we can and must respond to God's grace. God is a gentleman; He never forces Himself upon us. Instead, He waits for us to accept Him, and we do that through faith. Faith is our yes to God. We believe in Him and in His revelation. But even more, we enter into a relationship with Him.
This faith, however, doesn't stand alone. It must flow outward into love. Faith is only alive if it leads to good works. This is why Catholics believe that good works are necessary. We don't earn our way to Heaven by doing them, but we express the faith that accepts the grace of God that does bring us salvation. And of course, God is right there all along, giving us grace, inspiring us to faith, and urging us to work in love.
Tuesday – Deserted
Paul was completely deserted by his so-called friends. Standing before the Romans, putting his life on the line for the Gospel, he was all alone. No one came to his defense. No one turned out to support him. No one seemed to care.
But did Paul hold it against them? Definitely not. And he prayed that God wouldn't do so either. He was determined to excuse those who had hurt him, to understand and forgive.
How could he do this? Paul knew that he was never really alone. Humans may have deserted him, but the Lord was right beside him through it all, strengthening him and giving him everything he needed to proclaim the Gospel. And this was enough.
So when we feel alone, deserted, abandoned by people we thought were friends, we need only to remember that we are never alone. Another One stands by our side, One Who will never leave us.
Wednesday – Confident and Unafraid
“God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid.”
Confident and unafraid. Can we truly proclaim these words and mean them? If not, why not? What is keeping us back from placing our full trust in God and letting go of our fear?
Do we really believe that God is our savior? That He wants to pour out His grace upon us? That He stands ready to give us everything we need to get to Heaven if only we stand ready to open our hearts and receive it?
Lord, make me confident and unafraid. Fill me with faith that I may boldly proclaim that You are my Savior. Fill me with hope that I will trust You throughout my whole life and all the way to Heaven. Fill me with the perfect love that casts out fear. May I stand before You open and ready, confident and unafraid. Amen.