Monday, August 25, 2014

Get in the Boat!

I'll be on retreat most of this week - despite the fact that my car looks like this:

(I'm taking  a rental while this one is repaired. my daughter was rear-ended in heavy traffic last Friday; there were no serious injuries, and she was able to continue driving the car while she visited a friend over the weekend.)

Pray for me! And I will pray for you.

In the meantime, ponder this quote sent to me by a good friend; it's from Father Fox, and seems a very good explanation of the teaching that extra ecclesia, nulla salus, or “outside the Church, there is no salvation”.

It is the teaching of the Church that “outside the Church there is no salvation.”

What does this mean?

Let me use an analogy. Suppose you are in the ocean during a storm. And you have a lifeboat. And this boat is special.

If you are in it, as long as you are in it, you can be absolutely, completely certain you will make it safely to port. I repeat: certain, if you’re in it.

But there are folks, in the water, who don’t get in. There are others, who are in, who fall out.

Are they doomed? Can they not find any other way to safety?

The answer is, maybe they can. God is not restricted to the lifeboat. With his help, they may yet find their way to safety.

But then again, they may not. So with the Catholic Faith, or even baptism.
Being outside doesn’t mean you can’t be saved; but why not just get in the boat?

Remember, salvation is God’s idea. So we have good ground for hope that he is working in people’s lives, even when they resist becoming Catholic.

The Council of Trent taught that no one can live a sustained life of virtue without the help of God’s grace. So all those people we know, who aren’t believers, but live virtuous lives? God’s helping them. That doesn’t guarantee their salvation; but it’s a sign of hope.

In the end, all who are saved, are saved by Christ – whether they knew at the time, or not. And in the end, everyone who is saved, will be part of him, and thus, part of the Church, in the fullest sense.

I have several close friends who are “outside the Church”, and a number of family members who are either pagans, Protestants, or fallen-away Catholics. I pray for all of them daily.
A couple of the Protestants have gone so far away from the boat that they think they themselves are the sole authority on all things theological; they say, “The Holy Spirit will teach me, and that’s all I need.”  They seem not to realize – or admit – that the devil can deceive them quite easily into thinking demonic thoughts are from God! That’s what happens when one does not have the full authority of the teaching magisterium of the Church behind one’s beliefs!

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!

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