[quote=jimmy]I am not sure what you have trouble reconciling. They seem like they go together.
If you have sinned mortally but are repentant, you will be forgiven. It isn’t a matter of I;m in, now I’m out, now I’m in. The main thing is whether you love God. If you love God with all your heart mind soul and strength, you will be repentant of your sins. The goal in life is to make yourself perfect through the virtues of Christ; namely humility, chastity, fortitude and etc.
Good works, done in light of the virtues helps to perfect you in this process and it shows your love for God. Evil works cause corruption in your soul. They are a rejection of Grace.
A more preferable way to think of it in my mind is that you are judged based on your love for God and for your neighbor. If you love God with all your heart mind soul and strength you have mastered the virtue of humility(greatest of all virtues) then you will be saved. If you do not love God and are not worried about the virtues, then you will go to hell.
After typing all this out, I am begining to understand what you mean. I think you are struggling with works and Grace. Am I right? As for that, I would say one of two things.
First, it is God’s grace that inspires us to do good works. We have the choice to accept it or to reject it. It acts as our conscience and it gives us the knowledge of truth. Therefore it saves us. But we have the choice to accept it or to reject it.
You know that quote, “all evil needs is for a good man to do nothing”? It is very true because that is exactly what evil is, nothing. When we sit around and do nothing we are rejecting God’s grace. We are losing the virtue that we have. When we act, with the virtues as a goal, we become more Christ-like.
The second option I can think of is, we do good works and we cleanse ourselves from sin, thereby making us more suseptible to the Grace of God. This Grace that God gives us gives us love for Him and instills virtue in us. I read something like this in Walter Hilton’s “Scale of Perfection”.
This is true, but in my understanding a person who simply doesn’t cooperate with God’s Grace is likely sinning venially, but this is not sufficient to reject the Grace outright and condemn a person. Only mortal sin completely rejects God’s Grace.