Once a person went to a very wise and holy teacher asking, “what should I do to attain salvation?” To his surprise, the holy man asked him, “what do you do for the sun to rise!?” In other words, the holy man wanted to tell him that, as the rising of the sun does not depend on any of our actions, so also our salvation does not depend on any of our actions, but rather it is God’s action.
To put it in the words of St. Paul, we all are saved by God’s grace: Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement, effective through faith (Rom3:23-25). For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift God (Eph2:8).
YOUCAT (Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church) describes grace in the following words: By grace we mean God’s free, loving gift to us, his helping goodness, the vitality that comes from him. Through the Cross and Resurrection, God devotes himself entirely to us and communicates himself to us in grace. Grace is everything God grants us, without our deserving it in the least. (YOUCAT #338).
We are saved by God’s grace. It is God’s work. But it can only be realized through our free consent and cooperation, which is our faith. St. Augustine wrote: “The God who created you without your consent cannot save you without your consent.” St. Francis De Sales wrote: “My past no longer concerns me. It belongs to divine mercy. My future does not yet concern me. It belongs to divine providence. What concerns me and what challenges me is today, which belongs to God’s grace and my response to it.” It is our life-long task to cooperate with God’s grace and be what God’s grace wants us to be.
About the Author:
Fr. Binoy Puthusery, C.M. is a Vincentian priest belonging to the Southern Indian Province. He was ordained as priest on December 27, 2008 and soon after served as an assistant parish priest in Tanzania. In 2011, after two years of ministry, he was appointed as Spiritual Director to the Vincentian Sisters of Mercy, Mbinga Tanzania, where he still is today.