But thankfully, passages like today's first reading (Rom 10:9-18) remind me that I am saved not by my successes...not by my accomplishments...but by my belief in Jesus...my trust in Him. I say this very cognizant of the faith vs. works debate that has long raged between Protestants and Catholics. And to that all I can say (beyond what The Church teaches) is that for me...my belief and trust are work. Everyday I have a decision...and really every moment of everyday...to follow Him. That decision...that choice is my affirmation (or denial) of my belief and faith in Jesus. My life is recognizably different when I am working out my faith...and striving to please God. Unfortunately, my striving does not always end in success.
But I need to recall the lesson I learned from a fantastic book by Henri Nouwen titled, "The Return of the Prodigal Son. Taking inspiration from Rembrandt's "Return of the Prodigal Son," Nouwen takes the reader through a spiritual journey aimed at bestowing the reader with a radically new appreciation for the life-changing reality that God loves us...He truly loves us. Even though we reject Him and are selfish and take advantage of His blessings and distort His truth and pervert His gifts...He still loves us. St. Paul teaches us this so very plainly in Scripture:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8And so today, in the light of Christ's saving grace...I renew again my pledge to always keep God's love for me and for everyone at the forefront of everything I think and do. Though I will fail today, I am still loved. Though I will give in to weakness today, I am still His Child. And though I will sin...thank God...I am also saved.