Sunday 13th September - Fide et Labore

'We need God's grace not only for our lips to profess our faith, but to live it in our lives.'

My priest's homily was focused on today's second reading on fide et labore. His point being that there is no use in saying something like ‘I am a Catholic’ even if it is with conviction; good deeds are also required for us to truly be ‘Catholic’.
Just as there’s no use in saying ‘I’m sorry’ if you continue to hurt the person; or telling someone that you hope they get better when instead you can spare an hour of your time to keep them company. It doesn’t hurt to act upon our words once in a while.

The reading also reminded me of the time I had to attend a Baptist church as part of an essay involving a comparison between two Christian types of worship. The whole fide et labore or sola fide debate was something I would have liked to touch upon, but discussion about salvation deserves an essay in itself. In short, Baptists believe that professing one’s love and faith to Christ is all that is required for salvation, whereas Catholics believe faith and works are necessary.

I really enjoyed writing this essay, one reasing being that I was able to take the easy way out by comparing a service with a Catholic Mass. Aside from writing about the obvious architectural variations and theological differences on the Eucharist, I couldn’t help but insert a bit of humour into my essay:

‘Just to raise a point, I found it peculiar the way in which the pastor appeared to ‘force’ God’s will by asking Him to ‘remove [their] sins now’. Although I’m sure this effect was not intended, I could not help but visualise the image of God from Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam ‘zapping’ away their sins.’

Luckily for me, my tutor saw the funny side of it and in the end my moment of flippancy actually paid off. My conclusion was quite a critical one, choosing to take the ecumenical high road by asking why we prefer to recognise the disparity between the two traditions rather than the similarities. But that’s another story.

I don't have very good memories of Baptist services (yes I've been to more than one; 'Traitor!' I hear you cry), one because I was Bible-bashed for not believing that I am 'already' saved and two because three whole hours of my life were squandered away trying to (reluctantly) be converted by phrases such as ‘JESUS LOVES YOU VERY MUCH’.
Everyone knows if you want to convert someone all you have to tell them is that ‘bells, smells and altar rails’ are the gateway to heaven.

I don’t really know what my point was; perhaps I was even trying to make several… Anyway it doesn’t matter. I think I just felt like I needed to add some theologically insightful flesh to my blog. Although saying that, I think it’s still looking a bit skeletal, don’t you think?

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