Hi, new to this forum.
I grew up Catholic, left Christ from a practical standpoint, became a zealous Calvinist, and now am back Catholic again as a happy Augustinian/Thomist.
What Byzantine_Wolf says is true (and perhaps a shock to some, the Catholic Church would agree with what he wrote). And what the OP’s Baptist friend implies (if nothing else by her sloppy language) is false.
“We love because He first loved us”. Even “Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts!”… yet also, “Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,” and “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
We do accept Christ-- but only because God first accepted us in our sin through the work of Christ on our behalf and graced us with the power and desire to love him. And we love him freely, because we want to, because of grace.
So, indeed soli Deo gloria. God saves us in a way that neither we can take credit for (e.g., if we were the first to act), nor removes the reality of our personal decision to trust Him (e.g., if he were to violate our conscience or desires).
A few samplings from the Catechism of the CC:
1996 Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.
1998 This vocation to eternal life is supernatural. It depends entirely on God’s gratuitous initiative, for he alone can reveal and give himself. It surpasses the power of human intellect and will, as that of every other creature.
1742 Freedom and grace. The grace of Christ is not in the slightest way a rival of our freedom when this freedom accords with the sense of the true and the good that God has put in the human heart. On the contrary, as Christian experience attests especially in prayer, the more docile we are to the promptings of grace, the more we grow in inner freedom and confidence during trials, such as those we face in the pressures and constraints of the outer world. By the working of grace the Holy Spirit educates us in spiritual freedom in order to make us free collaborators in his work in the Church and in the world:
155 In faith, the human intellect and will cooperate with divine grace: “Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace.”
2008 The merit of man before God in the Christian life arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. The fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man’s free acting through his collaboration, so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful. Man’s merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit.
… much more in there, but I won’t post them all. usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/epub/index.cfm#