102. Q. Which are the chief effects of the Redemption?
A. The chief effects of the Redemption are two: The satisfaction of
God’s justice by Christ’s sufferings and death, and the gaining of grace
*The satisfaction of God’s justice! We can’t do any better than that!*
103. Q. What do you mean by grace?
A. By grace I mean a supernatural gift of God bestowed on us, through
the merits of Jesus Christ, for our salvation.
*In other words, a supernatural gift from God that we cannot earn.*
Right…the gift of grace is His, by Christ’s suffering and death, and it satisfies God’s justice. I truly cannot wrap my head around the mental gymnastics that have to be done to be able to say with a straight face that the Catholic Church teaches salvation by works. Over and over again the Catechism of the Catholic Church repeats the themes of grace and redemption, of Christ’s atonement that provides satisfaction.
It is a dishonest and slanderous allegation that the Catholic Church teaches eternal life is earned by our works of righteousness. Both the Baltimore Catechism and the Catechism of the Catholic Church have clearly shown that the Church teaches that salvation is a gift of God, through the work of Christ, and there is no other way to achieve it. Be careful that the words you hear and repeat are not bearing false witness.
That said, I will not hesitate to agree that an honest paradox happens in the teaching of the Catholic Church in this matter. It is true that the Catholic Church teaches that we do participate in our salvation by our response in obedience to what is commanded. As I pointed out earlier in this post, the “His gift/My response” dynamic. That’s not to say that we earn it, but that we participate in it by our obedience. This thought process continues in the next post…in the meantime, you might read through Chapter 3 of the Catechism (Man’sResponse to God), and look up the verses that are listed with each section.