God Teaches Us How To Live Out Our Salvation
There are fundamental questions all human beings ask. Who am I? What is this life all about? Why am I here in this particular place at this particular time? As Catholic Christians, we believe the answers, however incomplete, are given to us through our faith in God and in the revelation of Jesus Christ. This series on the core concepts from the diocese’s “Forming a People of Faith: Lifelong Faith Formation Guidelines” addresses our root questions about ourselves and especially the core concept of this article. As we struggle with our life questions, we want to know where God is in it all and whether God really can help us.
The guidelines state that, if we can understand the Paschal Mystery and the various ways we encounter it in daily living, we will find God in our midst. The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” defines the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection as that “which stands at the center of the Good News that the apostles, and the Church following them are to proclaim to the world. God’s saving plan was accomplished “once and for all” by the redemptive death of his son Jesus Christ.” We are to center our personal life on the celebration of the Paschal Mystery through participation in weekly Eucharistic liturgies, prayer and reflection on the suffering, dying, rising and ascension of Jesus. Explaining suffering and loss in the context of the Paschal Mystery transforms the experience of daily deaths and new life in our lives.
As we apply the commandment of love by making life decisions within the Christian moral framework, we will understand how God wants us to live. God wants us to have a Christ-like vision as we organize our activities as lives lived for others. As Christ put love for others above self, so too are we called to do this in our marriages and family relationships. In the other interpersonal relationships of the workplace, society, and the Church, we are asked to apply Catholic principles by bringing a Christian perspective to all we say and do. At times it may be difficult to incorporate Christian values in the workplace and the public arena, but we are to seek ways to do this.
God teaches us how to live out our salvation when we can demonstrate the relationship between faith and culture as it is found in the arts, sciences and technology. Are we able to measure the value of technology as an aid to a more Christ-centered life? How might we do this? What about the arts? Are there some moral values that need to be formulated and applied as part of the Christian vision or is “anything OK?” And science? As we probe the mysteries of natural law and experiment with many types of medical, agricultural, and chemical possibilities, are there any limits beyond which we should not proceed? Where are we to go for the answers to these very relevant and difficult questions? Part of the answer comes as we recognize our own gifts from God to the community and actively apply these gifts through our Christian values and faith to the serious societal issues we constantly face.
As a faithful people do we exercise responsible stewardship toward all creation? How might we do this? Stewardship is not just the time, talents and treasures we give to the Church. It is the time, talents and treasures we extend to all of creation through a lifestyle of awareness and concern that goes beyond ourselves and our own immediate needs. God helps us to live out our salvation as we take a personal stance toward protecting creation, which we have needlessly violated in the past and even in the present. A life of stewardship is to be seen as a response to one’s baptismal call.
Finally, God helps us to live out our salvation as we examine the variety of Christian lifestyles as ways of responding to the baptismal call to a life of service. Not only is God asking us to have a Christ-like vision and to have a life-lived-for-others, but these perspectives are to be integrated into a lifestyle of service. We are to organize our lifestyle in keeping with the Christian mission. We are to test our beliefs through service to all creation.
“God helps us to live out our salvation” is a transformational core concept. Our lives are changed or transformed as we come to practice this fifth core concept in the Lifelong Faith Formation Guidelines, “Forming a People of Faith.”In an age where definitive answers are almost impossible to find and temptations constantly divert us from Gospel values, our faith in living out and integrating the Paschal Mystery into our lives will help us to be steadfast and hopeful people.