Monday, March 18, 2013

Catholic Monday: What must I do to be Saved?

"What must I do to be saved?" This question from the rich young man in Luke's Gospel still tugs at man's heart today. I certainly felt this struggle in my spiritual journey in my early 20s, and I wish that a book of this nature had been written when I was going through my spiritual turmoil. What must I do to be Saved? is written by Marcus Grodi, a convert who hosts the television show The Journey Home on EWTN. He also founded The Coming Home Network for people who have converted or are interested in converting to the Catholic Church.

The book starts off explaining the Protestant path of salvation, which varies from pastor to pastor. Most methods consist of some form of the Romans Road (scripture passages in the Letter to the Romans that help you realize you're a sinner in need of being saved), which leads to a sinner's prayer and has led to the whole "Jesus and me" attitude. Mr. Grodi then goes on to explain why this method is insufficient and how one can still feel like they aren't saved because they didn't experience that emotional feeling. I remember the Romans Road well, and definitely prayed the sinners prayer what seemed like hundreds of times.

Mr. Grodi then uses the rest of the book to walk the reader through an Old Testament path of salvation and a New Testament path. With his clear flow charts, one can see the striking similarities between the two and see how the Old Covenant was replaced by the New Covenant, complete with grace, sacraments, and the Church. I definitely feel like I could have used this explanation when I was going through a searching phase, from my Southern Baptist background to my eventual conversion to Catholicism.

I have one grief with this book, and it occurred in a paragraph in the Conclusion.When asked about how he views the Eastern Orthodox Church, Mr. Grodi said, "A quick glance into any phone book reveals the absence of unity...The Orthodox churches are divided churches not one united Family of God." I assume he is referring to the fact that there are Greek, Russian, Antiochian, etc. Just because they say their Liturgy in a different language, does not mean they aren't united in their beliefs. These are our Eastern brothers, and Jesus wanted us to be one.

For the reason above, I am taking away 1 star from my rating of this and only giving 4 out of 5 stars. Blessed John Paul II worked toward ecumenism, as did Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. I'd even wager Pope Francis will as well. The above section should be omitted if this book is ever edited and a revised edition is released. Other than that, it was a well-laid out book that would benefit someone at any stage in their journey from Protestantism to Catholicism.