So I thought I'd leave you with some thoughts on the reading from yesterday's Mass. (1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22:23)
Brothers and sisters:
If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it! If I do so willingly, I have a recompense, but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship.
What then is my recompense? That, when I preach, I offer the gospel free of charge
so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak.
I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.
I've touched on that before - Catholics believe we have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved.
Contrary to popular belief, Catholics don't believe that we can earn our salvation. There is no board of Labor Appeals on the other side, where we can bring proof that we worked xxx hours; we can't sue God for "back pay".
We are not hirelings, but heirs.
In the same chapter, St. Paul tells the Corinthians (and us): (1 Cor. 9:25-27)
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.Neither is salvation offered at a single moment in time. We can't go to an altar call, and tell God, "That sounds like a good deal. I'll take it. See ya when I die!"
No one would deny St. Paul's conversion experience on the road to Damascus was authentic, sincere, and life changing. Yet, St. Paul tells us that it is not enough. He hopes for a share in the Gospel promise,
We must actively cooperate with God, throughout our life. We must have a good relationship with Him. It is only by taking up our cross and walking with Christ that we will share everlasting life with Him.
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. Mark 8:34-35
The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. John 12:25-26
And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26
As always, I'm just a silly housewife, not a theologian. Also I'm typing this post while passing out peanuts and wiping up oatmeal. Please forgive any mistakes. Catholic belief, and the reasons for them, are laid out in the easily searchable Catechism of the Catholic Church.