Saved How?

Christ was “moved with pity” for us. So He saved us.

goodshepherdChrist has saved us. We believe that—we utterly, completely believe that, since it’s the Christian faith.

But what exactly does it mean? What exactly does it mean to say that Jesus of Nazareth is our Savior? Thoughts?

Part One

Seems to me that we must first answer that Christ has saved us from condemnation after death.

We read that Christ took pity on us because we are “troubled and abandoned.” Troubled first and foremost by not knowing the meaning of life and the fate that awaits us after we die.

Without Christ’s offering of Himself on our behalf, we would have no hope of happiness in the life to come. We could only seek satisfaction in this life. And even the most genuinely satisfying joys we know of endure only so long.

Christ has saved us by turning the ultimate horizon of life into something luminous, rather than dark. We need not fear nor dread death; death no longer holds an enemy’s power over us.

Instead, we serenely acknowledge that life on earth is short. And we hope for a better life, a better realm in which to live, a place of true peace, with joy that doesn’t pass away.

But Jesus Christ saves us not just for the life to come. He also saves us here and now. He is alive and at work, using His infinite powers. He helps us directly, all the time. He gives holy inspirations and interior strength; He softens our hearts and clarifies our minds; He loves—with divine love—in us and through us. By virtue of that divine love, the heavenly life that we hope for begins even now.

Christ our Savior governs us from within. Because we believe, we can participate in the working of His perfect wisdom, simply by obeying Him. He took pity on us because we were like “sheep without a shepherd.”

Sheep can and will thrive and live happy lives, but never as rugged individualists. Sheep don’t do well when they try to stand out from the crowd. To the contrary, they relax and enjoy life precisely when their knowledgeable shepherd tells them where to go and when. They don’t resent him for it; they rejoice in his patient but firm guidance.

sheepChrist saves us by giving us His law to obey. Moral free-lancing does not suit us. Nor does blind conformity to the ways of our neighbors. No, we need the interior law of Christ. To have Christ in charge of us is itself salvation.

Part Two

How does Christ save us?

First and foremost, He saves us by giving us eternal life in heaven. We have no hope of such grandeur without Him. But He offers it to us freely.

But that’s not all. Christ also saves us here and now by healing our wounded souls by His grace and gathering us into His flock.

It’s hard to imagine anything more improbable than the catholic and apostolic Church. None of the principles of successful business or government have ever been followed. The Church makes no appeal to the worldly interests of mankind. To the contrary, She insistently demands that mankind cast away its worldly interests.

And yet this little band of spiritualists—which began with a pair of brother fishermen, a tax collector, and some revolutionaries—this little band has extended its weird, improbable tentacles to this place and this time. Using the same ceremonies and customs in force for almost two full millennia, Christ Himself gathers us and forms us into His obedient flock. Through the ongoing life of His Church, He infuses Himself into our lives, saving us from ten million foibles that we might not even know we would have, were it not for Him.

We need to be saved both from our own self-destructive individualism and from mindless conformity with the Joneses. We find that salvation in Christ’s Church.

And the communion of Christ’s obedient flock is not just a matter of the laity obeying the clergy. We clergy need to be saved from ourselves, too; we, too, must obey.

We all live in the peace enjoyed by Christ’s true sheep when we submit ourselves to the beautiful, motley reality that is the Church. The Church that got founded when Jesus said to the Twelve, “the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

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One thought on “Saved How?

  1. Now, you are speaking to one who used to raise sheep. This subject I know something about. I should clarify that I was a specialist in the lost sheep at one time and now I understand what it means to be saved. Even if you find your Shepherd late in life you can practice following your Shepherd. It really is quite simple, just reach out – dust off your rosary and begin praying. You would be surprised and you might hear that creaky gate open yet again for you. Are you better at doing good deeds? Pick up a few McDonald’s gift cards and keep them on hand. You may find a needy soul or souls along the way (that practice was told to me from a priest) and voila’, you have started your own private ministry. Now you are following the Lord – the Savior of us all! 🕊 🐑

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