How do Catholics "receive salvation"?

A Baptist friend asked me how do Catholics receive salvation? What is the prayer or process for a Catholic to be “saved”?

If you want it boiled down to bare-bones, I think the answer is die with no mortal sins on your soul. Obviously there is a lot that has to take place for that to happen such as: baptism, belief in Christ etc. I think your baptist friend may not understand that because most baptists are fundamentalist who believe that once you are “saved” you are always saved. For Catholics it is a life long journey to salvation. We are “saved” every time we make a good confession if we were to die right after. Once we sin again though, we are no longer on our way to the pearly gates until Jesus saves us again through the sacrement of reconciliation. That, I think, is a very simple definition of it.

One of the biggest differences between Baptists and Catholics is that while Baptists believe that they are saved, Catholics believe that they are in the process of being saved. Catholics believe that a person must be saved not only by faith, but also by practicing the Sacraments facilitated by the Church. Assuming a Catholic dies in a state of grace (i.e. without any mortal sins on their soul), then they will be fully purified of their sins in Purgatory and will eventually enter Heaven.

I’m still learning… But …By free gift of gods Grace and our response of faith + baptism.
then holding on to salvation in our life with a faith that is alive and loving and obedient and confessing sin.

I’d like to add to this:

While also practicing the Sacraments given by the Church, we believe that merely having faith and performing obligatory church obligations is not quite enough. We must live our lives as Christ’s examples of charity and humility.

While we do not believe that we can “earn our way” into heaven by feeding the poor or volunteering, Catholics believe that both a strong heart of faith must follow with a strong living representation of what your faith means to you by living your faith through others (2 James 18:22).

In short, you can’t sit on your butt, only go to church and perform its obligations without trying to give something of yourself whenever possible to express the joy that Christ gives you, even it it’s just a smile or kind word. :slight_smile:

The way I try to explain it to my Protestant friends is this; we essentially believe the same as you. That Jesus leads our road to Heaven, and by loving and believing in him, we have the hope of Salvation. However, we must show God how much we love him!

A servant can tell his Master he is loyal and loves him, but if he does nothing to SHOW his love, how can the Master be sure? That’s not saying that all denominations don’t love Jesus; we all do, and God knows how much in our hearts! But Catholics believe that we need to express this love with our actions, words and deeds

I…I thinkI got that right

One of my professors put it this way.

Think of salvation as a gift from God, (the work of Christ and the Paschal Mystery) and this gift is like a free ticket to Disney World.

Well if you just keep the ticket and do nothing with it what good does it do you to have it? You must actually go to Disney World and use your free ticket for it to have any value.

So it is with salvation, we must use the gift of Christ and strive to conform ourselves to the will of God by following His commandments, returning His love and demonstrate our love to one another.

As a Catholic I don’t believe in Sola Fide, faith alone as do Protestants. Faith alone does not exist since the word “Alone” was added by Martin Luther. He later admited this. Paul in his letters talks about faith over 200 times but never with the adjunct “Alone”

For me the pivotal verses in the NT that deal with our salvation can be found in Matthew 25:31-46. It is our final test. We must see the face of Jesus in every soul who is in need of our true Christian charity. When we do this, for the glory of the Kingdom of God, then we are working our way into heaven through loving Christ in the least of His brethren.

We can have all the faith in God but if we leave a homeless man hungry and shivering, then we are leaving Christ unattended. on a cold winter’s night. We do not want to end up on the left hand side of Jesus with the “goats”. “If you love me then feed my sheep”

A Catholic is saved by and through Christ.

The Catholic Church teaches that we are saved by Jesus Christ through His free gift of Grace Alone.
After that, we live to know, love and serve Him during the rest of our earthly sojourn.

By means of the Sacraments, which are vehicles of the grace that comes from Christ to save us from our sins and make us fit for Heaven. :slight_smile:

It is Christ who does all of the work of the Sacraments - all we need to do is show up for them.

Very nice responses from all. I would just like to add a bit because many of my family members believe in event salvation and have asked me this question many times.

The formula for event salvation for many non-Catholic Christians proceeds as follows: (1) Recognize that you are a sinner; (2) Read some scripture and learn about Christ; (3) Rejoice in His love and pray; and (4) Ask Him to “come into your heart.”

Catholics do this too. Every time we go to Mass we first examine our conscience and recognize that we are sinners, we read the scriptures and then rejoice in His love with the readings and the Gloria and other hymns of praise, we pray, and then we ask to receive Him “under our roof” through the Eucharist, even though we are not worthy. We repeat this at least once a week and as often as we can in practice and through the Holy Mass.

As another poster put it, salvation for Catholics is a process, not an event: it’s a lifetime of loving God. It’s like, when I received the Sacrament of Marriage, that wasn’t the end–it was just the beginning. Everyday, I must choose to love my husband if I wish to have a fruitful marriage. Everyday, we must choose to love God through His Grace.

all responses are wonderful !!! but this last one is the best !!! thank you for you faithfulness!!! God bless, Sonja

In order to be saved, a person must die with the supernatural life of God (grace) in their soul. When God created Adam and Even, He created them with this supernatural life within them. When they sinned, they lost this “eternal life” of God and died a spiritual death. In order for us to be saved, we have to regain this supernatural life and die in that state.

How does a person obtain this gift of God’s life, which makes them “a partaker of the Divine nature” a “temple of the Holy Ghost” and “a new creation in Christ Jesus”? They obtain it initially through baptism, whereby they are “born again of water and the Holy Ghost”. The infusion of supernatural life into the soul causes a real spiritual birth. This spiritual birth results in a metaphysical change that takes place within the soul. It completely transforms and supernaturalizes the soul, thereby making it a temple of the Holy Ghost, as St. Paul says, and a “partaker of the divine nature”, as St. Peter says.

For an adult who has the use of reason, in order to attain this supernatural life of grace, he must first have faith; that is, he must believe in the truths that God has revealed - at minimum, he must believe in the Trinity and Incarnation, as well as all of the other truths that have been explained to him. If he has faith, he will receive the life of God through baptism.

But, just as Adam and Eve lost this gift of grace through sin, so too can we lose it if we sin. A person who willingly sins after receiving the life of grace, falls from grace. If that happens, it can be regained through confession, or a perfect act of contrition if confession is not available.

So, the short answer to your question is that a person is saved by dying in the state of grace (with the eternal life of God within their soul). You could say they were “saved” when they initially obtained the state of grace, but this initial salvation can be lost through sin. So, the way a person will ultimately be saved is by dying with the life of God in their soul.

This is how it works… I’ve summed it up into a 7 step process… Salvation is more like an “antidote” to the disease that Adam and Eve won for us… It’s part of a lifelong process… Our time on earth marks the time we have to accept the Graces and build our relationship with God.

  • grace (knowledge of sin)
  • justification (sorrow)
  • **sanctifying grace **(desire for lifelong committment)
  • salvation (the 4-step process prescribed to the Church)
  1. sanctification: To be made holy by Baptism.
  2. redemption: This is where Jesus saved us on the cross.
  3. forgiveness: Confession means sins are actually removed from the soul…
  4. justification: True sorrow / Perfect Contrition.
  • love (to want to thrive in God)
  • works (to do Gods will)
  • Sainthood (final sanctification into communion of Saints)

We are saved by Jesus Christ!

We are saved by grace.

We are saved by faith. (one must of course understand Faith here in Paul’s sense)

We are saved by baptism. “Baptism… now saves you” (from first Peter 3:21)

It can happen that some have faith and never get to baptism.

It can happen that a person has faith infused for the first time in baptism…

It all depends on from what aspect we look at the question…

In early Church – most converts were older and thus heard the proclamation of the Gospel and had faith (by grace of course)…and then were baptized. some it seems were infants (whole households) and were baptized into the faith of the Church and thus faith was infused into them for the first time at baptism…

today with many children being born into Christian homes …it happens the other way around…most receive the faith at baptism and increase in it as they live more and more in Christ. Some are baptized at an older stage and so likely first have faith from hearing the Gospel. all is via grave. all is by the Holy Spirit…

All is from Jesus Christ and from his death and resurrection!

We are saved by Jesus Christ!

Make sure you read these…and perhaps pass them on …

Also give him this quote:

“Happy are you who believe!” (cf 1 Peter 2:7). Let us turn to Jesus! He alone is the way that leads to eternal happiness, the truth who satisfies the deepest longings of every heart, and the life who brings ever new joy and hope, to us and to our world." Homily at Yankee Stadium by Pope Benedict XVI

I think that this was nicely worded. :slight_smile:

They almost got it right, look at what you posted:

"The formula for event salvation for many non-Catholic Christians proceeds as follows: (1) Recognize that you are a sinner; (2) Read some scripture and learn about Christ; (3) Rejoice in His love and pray; and (4) Ask Him to “come into your heart.”

What does Scripture say? Peter in Acts Repent -turn from sinful ways, believe, and be Baptized this is the beginning of the process! We then continue to follow in the footsteps of Christ with the help of the Church that He left us, and the Grace He gives us through His Sacraments. Resisting satan and sin with the help He gives us through these.

U R Awsome!!! Kudos on this perfectly cogent and lucid explanation of the view of Catholics in salvation. This is truely a beautiful explanation.

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