Catholics get a bad rap for thinking we somehow “merit” or “earn” our own sanctification (and salvation) through “works” that we do. But that’s a misunderstanding of what the Catholic Church actually teaches. Our sanctification (our being made holy) happens only by the Grace of God. But it does require a response on our part. We must cooperate with it. This submission to and cooperation with God’s Grace, Catholics call a “work” and it takes various forms.
Some identify this response to God’s grace as a kind of “saving” or “justifying” faith (a faith that produces or is accompanied by works of conversion, hope and charity) as opposed to a “work” – something we do. Such a position is reconcilable with Catholic teaching once we understand each side’s terminology. On the other hand, I think it’s confusing to refer to this cooperation with and submission to God’s Grace as simply “faith alone” – which is one reason Catholics don’t refer to it that way (and probably one reason the Bible says we are “not” saved by “faith alone” – James 2:24). Instead, you’ll usually here Catholics refer to it as “faith and works” as they are both mysteriously and intimately tied up together.
Anyway, here Fr. Barron speaks a little bit about some of these sanctifying practices of the Church and what we mean by “Purgatory” (an extension of that sanctification) in the super-natural sense.
This exclusive preview clip was from CATHOLICISM, Episode X: “WORLD WITHOUT END: THE LAST THINGS”.
Explore the Church’s conviction that life here and now is preparation for an extraordinary world that is yet to come – a supernatural destiny. Father Barron presents the Catholic vision of death, judgment, heaven, hell and purgatory as he journeys to Florence, Ireland and Rome.
The vision of the Church sees beyond this world and invites us to consider a world without end. Father Barron shows how this vision is supported by the mystery and truth of the Resurrection of Jesus.
View exclusive preview clips from all episodes of the CATHOLICISM series coming out in Fall 2011.