I want to direct your attention to an article in today's Modesto Bee:
this story about Moms in Modesto volunteering at a local school is an example of what happens when Women make decisions to do rather than just be - they put their beliefs into action and make that action a prayer, by its very nature of being an action of charity.
It is not always clear when we are praying, but I have come to the conclusion that the idea of Faith being DEAD without Works has been so mangled by the 'Once Saved Always Saved' camp that we have forgotten the ancient link between action (work) and worship. Because people abused this idea in the past - and it would be foolish not to acknowledge that abuse - today we have more people more afraid of being called "papists" than willing to think through the fallacy of never being able to conciously lose their salvation.
I think, and I may be wrong, that the ancient idea of the action itself being a form of worship, a kind of prayer, has to be recaptured if we are ever going to get over this "I am TOO saved and You are NOT saved, you idol worshiping Catholic You" that permeates the lives of people like James White (an angrier man I don't think I have ever read, unless it is Jack Chick).
It stands to reason that Faith and Works go together, but not in the way that anti-Catholics seem to think WE believe. We cannot work our way into heaven, any more than simply saying a Sinner's Prayer can assure us of eternal salvation.
Rather, it seems to me that the extension of the Old Covenant that Christianity is MUST be a combination of the New Rite and the Old. We carry with us into our religious life today a profound understanding and need for Liturgy. The Church has a structure, a way for Her children to pray. The difference is that we no longer need to stand outside the Holy of Holies and hope that somehow the prayers of the priests will be enough for us. Today, we not only participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we participate in the priesthood - we are members of the Priesthood of the Layity. While it is not through me that mere bread and wine are transformed into The Creator of the Universe, my pariticipation in the Sacrament lends it a more complete universiality - I am important in this equation too.
But more than that is the idea that the Mass is a part of the MISSION of a True Christian - we eat Our Lord and Savior and then we take the Mission of His Church out into the streets and parks and houses and schools and stores and, and....on and on and on.
That's what these women did: while they do not have The Eucharist, they have the zeal...the need to have their Faith manifested in outward signs of Love for Jesus.
Dare I say it? Their actions have become a kind of Sacrament.
And I am proud to know them.