My mother’s youngest sister tried to be accepted into religious life as a young woman but various Abbesses turned her away telling Christine that she wasn’t yet ready for religious life.
Auntie Christine worked as a nurse and mid-wife for many years in Scotland before she relinquished that life and career to become a cloistered nun at long last. She entered the Poor Saint Clares in Bothwell, Glasgow when she was middle-aged. The other sisters who lived with her at the monastery were all professionals. One was a doctor, another a teacher. They no longer practiced their professions, instead focusing on praying for the world.
I believe in the power of prayer. Prayer is necessary in a world that is currently under attack by so many dark forces; however, as Christians, we need to be more proactive than just offering prayer.
James 2: 14-26 says: “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus, also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
Prayer without good deeds is dead.
There are at least 25 occasions in the New Testament where it clearly teaches that we will be granted rewards according to our works. Christ frequently promises that great will be our reward in heaven for doing good works. We are called to do great works, to store up treasures for ourselves in heaven. On top of these temporal benefits connected to serving, there are eternal rewards. Christ pledged eternal rewards in heaven even for serving a beggar a cool cup of water.
As I reach out to people I see in distress, I don’t think about the promises Christ made to us. I am doing what I feel I must for the sake of the person before me in pain. I am to be the hands and feet of Christ on this earthly plane. I will see the results of my courageous acts in the lives of these people here on earth; I need not wait for a heavenly reward.
The believer has his foundation in Christ and as a believer you are to build upon that foundation by doing good works. The concluding assessment comes when we meet Christ in heaven and we receive our final reward for serving one another on earth and helping those who were in need on earth or who were temporarily lost from Christ find their way back to Him. This is what we are called to do especially when it is embarrassing, painful and difficult to do so.
Pray for your brothers and sisters. Be charitable especially to those who persecute you. All must pray but all must do good works too, for there is greater strength in prayer with good works. The love is in the work, so too is the strength.
Don’t be afraid to fight for your faith, for yourself, for another in peril, and most importantly, for Christ. To fight for Christ is what you are here to do — it’s the most important thing — and that can only be accomplished through prayer with good works together.
The Peace is a place of many peoples and faiths. In this space, readers are invited to share their own reflections of faith in the Peace. If you have a story of faith you’d like to share, email email@example.com.