The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

RCIA & Adult Faith Formation: Do Your Catechumens Know Jesus Gets Them to Heaven? Part 1

Authored by Fr. Drake McCalister in Issue #6.3 of Catechetical Review

Since becoming Catholic in 2004, I have encountered many, many Catholics who do not understand grace, salvation, or how they are granted access to heaven. Many have revealed they live in fear of going to hell because of some unknown, unconfessed sin or that their understanding of how they are saved is solely based on their works. These Catholics do not understand how faith and works relate to salvation. In short, they do not understand the source of their salvation.

Dr. Peter Kreeft explains the problem in his book, Catholics and Protestants: What Can We Learn from Each Other?[1] Throughout his years of teaching philosophy at Boston College, he would ask students, “if you were to die tonight and meet God, and God asked you why he should let you into heaven, what would you answer him?” He usually would receive one of three answers:

  1. I’m a good person (Pelagian, self-salvation)
  2. I hope in God’s mercy (presumption)
  3. Jesus Christ

He goes on to say that 0 to 5 percent of Catholics cite Jesus as the source of their salvation, and place it mostly on works, but that nearly 100 percent of Evangelical Protestants cite Jesus as the source of their salvation.

If catechumens and candidates do not clearly know that Jesus is the source of their salvation, and how works are related to it, we run the risk of creating works-based Christians who are not converted in heart and incapable of persevering until the end (Mt 24:13, CCC 161).

What follows is part one of two of an overview of how an adult moves from being unsaved to saved (and saved to unsaved) and the relationship of grace, faith, and works. Namely, what are the ordinary means of grace for salvation? Part one will focus specifically how one becomes saved and part two will focus on how one can lose salvation. For the sake of space, I am leaving out the exceptions to the normal process of salvation, since those who receive exceptions are known to God alone (CCC 848).

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting editor@catechetics.com

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Encountering God in Catechesis
By Catechists' Personal Testimonies
For Communion Growing up Protestant, sacraments seemed fairly irrelevant to me. It was not until I turned fifteen that I decided to get baptized because I knew that if I accepted the terms of what baptism meant, by Protestant standards, then I needed to truly accept Christ and all that it meant to follow him. As a Methodist, I always wanted to be... Read more
Viaticum: Sacred Food for the Final Journey
By Fr. Tyron Tomson
We never know which Holy Communion might be our last. We make a big deal of our First Communion, and rightly so. But why don’t we have a strong catechesis and spirituality of Viaticum, that final time we receive the Body of Christ before our soul leaves our own body to meet him? As a Church, perhaps we are missing a robust eucharistic spirituality... Read more
From the Shepherds – A Half Century of Progress: The Church’s Ministry of Catechesis, Part Three
By Monsignor John Pollard
The General Catechetical Directory (1971) – Catechesi Tradendae (1979) In this series of articles exploring a rather extraordinary fifty-year period in the Church’s catechetical mission, we have already considered the impact of the six International Catechetical Study Weeks. We now turn our attention to three pivotal catechetical documents... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now