According to Roman Catholic theology, based on Scripture and Tradition, how am I saved? After 62 years as a Catholic, I finally realized that no one ever taught me this–I learned lots of accidentals, but never the essentials, the basics.
Salvation is a free gift from God, as is Faith and accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior, the Son of God. I was baptised and confirmed in order to make a public and sacramental declaration of this. Thus, I became a member of the mystical body of Christ and one of the Redeemed. But, I know Catholics do not find “imputed righteousness” in Scripture; in other words, when I accept Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior, I don’t just get Jesus’ righteousness relieving me of any personal responsibility and action on my part to be saved, even if I can never ever do anything personally to make up for my sins against an infinitely just God.
Faith without works is dead, so I pitifully do some works. Faith and works open me up to receive Grace (divine life?), which is also a gift from God, won by Christ and transmitted by the Holy Spirit as He wills and by Him also through the Sacraments according to my capacity and willingness to receive Grace; thus, the need for “my works” to open me up to receive Grace, or as Mother Angelica used to say (paraphrase): “The Holy Spirit can’t pour a pail of grace into you if you are only the size of a coffee cup.”
So, Faith gets the ball rolling, Works disposes me to receive Grace, and it’s Grace that saves me? (“O Saving Grace, how sweet…”), and everything is God’s free gift.
Am I on the right track, or is there more to it? Just a cradle Catholic still wondering. Thank you.