Friday of the Sixth Week of Ordinary Time
“For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” St James is severely critical of those who claim to be believing Christians but do not act as if they are. Sometimes we can think that this does not apply to us because we feel like we do enough to demonstrate our faith. The fact is though, we all fail to act on our Catholic convictions from time to time. Our faith is often dead.
So, what works does Our Lord tell us are necessary? First and foremost, it is Love with a capital L, which refers to the Triune Godhead–Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. That is, our primary work is living in complete union with Christ such that our hearts, inflamed with supernatural charity, are inclined to participate in acts of service and charity toward our neighbor.
Furthermore, in the Gospel, Our Lord bestows on us another work to aid the primary work of Love. “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it.” This much is clear then: our works must include an annihilation of our very selves in the love that is modeled on Christ’s charity. We must lose our preferences, our desires, our accomplishments, our bad habits, our ego, our pride, and our possessions. When we lose these things, we will find that our spirit prevails against the flesh, our idealized life is gone, and our faith is very much alive. This command to take up our cross is necessary for any true disciple of Christ, and we should delight in that.
Reflection by Xavier, seminarian