Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
A man is saved who is free forever from the prospect of going to the eternal misery of hell. The soul that is saved has necessarily been separated from this earthly life of probation, and has gone either to purgatory for a time, or immediately to the eternal happiness of heaven.
No one can be sure of salvation until he is safely dead, finishing this life in a state of grace. During this life a man, no matter how just he may be, is able to forsake the path of justice and lose all the merit of previous goodness. You may think this hard, but a murder on Tuesday could not be excused on the score of almsgiving to a beggar on the previous day. Previous good actions do not justify subsequent bad ones. Thus God says, "If the just man turn away from his justice and do iniquity .... all his justices that he hath done shall not be remembered." Ezech. XVIII., 24.
All the faith in the world could not save a sinner who intends to go on sinning. A man must repent of his sins, and try to live a good life.
Faith in Christ is one condition of eternal life. If a man'sees the facts and will not believe, he cannot be saved. If he does believe he can be saved, but it does not follow that he must be saved. By mere belief in Christ no man has certainty of salvation. St. Paul believed in Christ yet had to write, "I chastise my body and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway." I. Cor. IX., 27. In the following chapter, verse 12, he warns all of us, "He that thinketh himself to stand, let him take heed lest he fall."
This does not suppose an exemption from judgment. "We must all be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ." 2 Cor. V., 10. Your text means, "If you have faith and all other necessary conditions, you will not meet with the judgment of condemnation; and even now, if you be in God's grace, you have a title to this merciful judgment since you have passed from the death of sin to that life of grace which is intended to yield only to eternal happiness." Thus Christ says, "He who perseveres to the end, he shall be saved." Matt. XXIV., 13. Those who do not persevere in God's grace will not be saved. St. Paul says, "With fear and trembling work out your salvation." Philip. II., 12. Why, if they were already saved and had nothing to fear? Again he speaks of those who were once illuminated and who were already then fallen away. Heb. VI., 4-6. You claim to be assured of salvation and that you cannot fall away, whilst Scripture tells us of some who were as believing as you are, yet who did fall away!
All decent Protestants are getting rid of that principle as rapidly as possible. Faith alone without a good moral life is not enough. Everyone is disgusted with the man who professes a Christian life yet who lives an evil life, and no one really believes that to be the road to salvation. St. James tells us that "Faith without works is dead in itself." II., 17. Martin Luther knew that this text was the end of his doctrine, so he rejected the Epistle of James, calling it an epistle of straw. But Protestants have had to accept that epistle. Far from owing gratitude to Luther for his principle of justification by faith only, most Protestants are heartily ashamed of it.
Good works prompted by purely natural motives cannot save a man. Thus St. Paul says, "If I should give all my goods to feed the poor, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." 1 Cor. XIII., 3. Yet good works inspired by faith in Christ and love for Christ are necessary. "By works a man is justified, and not by faith only." James II., 24. Indeed the "Son of man will come in the glory of His Father . . . and then will He render to every man according to his works." Matt XVI., 27.
The Holy Spirit dwells not only in the Church, preserving her from error, but also in the soul of every Christian who is in the grace of Christ. In the individual soul the Holy Spirit inspires love for God and the desire of Christian virtue, and in that sense He is called the Sanctifier of the soul. But since God cannot contradict Himself, the Holy Spirit never inspires any individual in a way at variance with the teaching and discipline of the Church established and guaranteed by Christ And since man can easily deceive himself or still more easily be deceived by Satan who can pretend to be an angel of light, the Church applies certain tests to see whether a given influence be really of the Holy Spirit. Thus St. John warns us, "Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits if they be of God." 1 Jn., IV., 1. What are the tests? Firstly, negative. Is the notion I think inspired in any way at variance with the doctrine of the Catholic Church? Since it is already certain that the Holy Spirit guides the Church and that He cannot contradict Himself, it is certain that any ideas conflicting with Catholic teaching and discipline cannot be attributed to the Holy Spirit. Secondly, and granted this negative test, there is a positive test Does the supposed inspiration incline the recipient to sane conduct rather than to some form of religious mania? Does it tend to foster humility rather than pride; obedience rather than self-will; purity, charity, and holiness? No impulse can be accepted as being of the Holy Spirit unless it can pass all these tests.
Calvinism taught that some men were predestined to heaven no matter what they might do; others were predestined to hell no matter how they might try to serve God. But the Catholic Church teaches that God sincerely wills all men to be saved and that none should be lost. Anyone who does his best with all goodwill and dies sincerely repentant of his sins can certainly attain salvation through the merits of Christ. Every such man will have the necessary grace offered to him.