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Elliot Miller wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • I was wondering, what the relationship between prayer and salvation?

I ask because I pray a great deal at work, (I'm a Security Guard), and I do have some good works but tend to be on the prideful side.

  • Do you believe someone who focused almost exclusively on prayer such as a Trappist monk would receive the same joy in Heaven as say a prayerful nurse?

Elliot M.

  { What the relationship and will a Trappist monk have the same joy in Heaven at a prayerful nurse? }

Mike replied:

Hi Elliot,

Thanks for the question.

You said:

  • I was wondering, what the relationship between prayer and salvation?

I think the very first paragraph in the Catechism under Part Four on Prayer answers your question:

Prayer in the Christian Life

2558 "Great is the mystery of the faith!" The Church professes this mystery in:

  1. the Apostles' Creed (Part One) and
  2. celebrates it in the sacramental liturgy (Part Two),
  3. so that the life of the faithful may be conformed to Christ in the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father (Part Three).

This mystery, then, requires that the faithful:

  • believe in it
  • that they celebrate it, and
  • that they live from it in a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God.

This relationship is prayer.

Salvation implicitly requires a person to acknowledge a Loving God, who without the Creator, he or she could do nothing.

When someone does not acknowledge a Higher Power through which they came into existence and through which they are able to do everything they can do, salvation is impossible. Those who do not acknowledge a Higher Power, due to their human frailty, end up making themselves their own God, and chief decision maker of what is (true and not true) and (what is OK and not OK) in all aspects of life.

The purpose of going to Sunday Mass (and renewing ones Covenant) with the Lord, as with regular daily prayer, to aid the Christian in making healthy, moral decisions throughout the week/day in a culture that is increasingly anti-Christian, even in the United States!

You said:
I ask because I pray a great deal at work, (I'm a Security Guard), and I do have some good works but tend to be on the prideful side.

Living the sacramental life and having a daily prayer life will always help us remove vices, like pride, from our lives so just keep persevering.

You said:

  • Do you believe someone who focused almost exclusively on prayer such as a Trappist monk would receive the same joy in Heaven as say a prayerful nurse?

Yes! but I would answer your question, with another question:

  • If lifeless objects had souls and water represented happiness, would a small bucket filled to the brim with water have as much joy as a bucket 10 X larger that was also filled to the brim with water?

Sure, they would. They would both be as happy and joyful as they possibly could be, whether they are a Trappist monk or a prayerful nurse. Each man and woman living today has a unique vocation in life and we fulfill it by performing our vocation in the best Christian way possible.

As I said in this web posting:

  • If all the road construction people in the world, who are responsible for our highways and streets, left for the monastic life, what would happen to our highway infrastructure?
  • If all the airplane mechanics left for the monastic life, how would the Holy Father make World Youth Day around the world on an annual basis?
  • If all the fire fighters left for the monastic life, how would society exist if weather conditions brought danger to people’s homes?
  • If all the police officers left for the monastic life, how would society function in an orderly Christian manner?

By just by being the best security guard you can, you are giving glory and honor to Our Lord. You ensure you are on the right path by renewing your Covenant every Sunday at Mass.

I hope this helps,

Mike

Elliot replied:

Hi Mike,

Thank you for answering my question.

I learned many things from your response.

  • I was just wondering in my own personal life whether there is a problem with me spending more time worshiping God than helping people?
  • Is there Scriptural support for or against leading a chiefly contemplative life?

Thank you very much.

Elliot

Mike replied:

Hi Elliot,

You said:

  • I was just wondering in my own personal life whether there is a problem with me spending more time worshiping God than helping people?
  • Is there Scriptural support for or against leading a chiefly contemplative life?

Spending more time worshipping God is not a problem, if you have a vocation to the religious life, and even if you don’t have a calling to the religious life, all Catholics, and for that matter, Christians of any kind, are obliged to renew their Sunday Covenant with the Lord every Sunday and pray on a daily basis.

In this culture, it can be hard, but as a lay Catholic you have to try to see Christ in others. When you do, then you will see that in helping people, you are honoring and helping God’s adopted children.

I cannot think of any Scripture passages that support the contemplative life but may be my colleagues have some in mind.

I hope this helps,

Mike

John replied:

Hi, Elliot —

We are all called to live a balanced life and be sensitive to Holy Spirit as to what we ought to be doing.

Worship, prayer, and spending time with God is of course paramount as that is why were created. . . to fellowship with Him but we are also called, (as Mike pointed out), to see Christ in our neighbor. We aren't just saved individually but rather saved by being grafted into the Body of Christ . . . which is the Church and we are called to bring Christ to those who don't know him.

That all said, some may be indeed called to a more prayerful contemplative life as a rule.

Now as to the Scriptures, Well, we see right in the Gospels that Jesus would often get away from the Apostles to prayer, fast, and be alone with the Father. The Scriptures also admonishes us to meditate on God's Word. It says in the Psalms, thy word have I buried in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11)

I can't really give you specific Bible passages right off the bat but, yes, the Scriptures call us to pray both privately and together, in community. It instructs us to meditate on the Scriptures as that is how God primarily speaks directly to us.

For the average Christian, it's about finding the sweet spot and that point is going to be different for each of us, according to our gifts and calling. That said, we need to find the proper balance point between private contemplation and action and we must also recognize that this balance may change in our lives depending in our circumstance.

For example, we may find ourselves suddenly, temporarily, or even permanently limited in our activity for physical reasons. Well then at that point, given that we can't do much else, we have to find a new balance between work and prayer . . . keeping in mind that even our work should be offered up as a prayer.

I hope this helps,

John

Elliot replied:

Thanks to all of you for providing me great instruction.

I will try to find the sweet spot between prayer and action, lest I disobey the Lord.

Elliot

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