This is simple. The Catholic Church teaches that human works, in and of themselves do not have the power to save us. Check this out:
Council of Trent, 1547, the Church convened to issue a proclamation on justification. In Canon 1 the Catholic council declared:
“If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his
own natural powers or through the teaching of the law, without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.”
Canon 3 says very clearly::
“If anyone says that without the predisposing inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and without His help, man can believe, hope, love or be repentant as he ought, so that the grace of justification may be bestowed upon Him, let him be anathema.”
That having been said, works are necessary adjuncts to our faith, fruits of the inspiring grace of the Holy Spirit.
Look at it this way:
God worked for six days straight before taking a breather.
He delegated Adam and Eve to manage (have dominion over) His creation. After the fall, he really put them to work, to earn their bread by the sweat of their brow.
He loved Abel because of his sweet smelling sacrifices.
He punished Cain, not by taking work away from him but by forcing him to learn a new trade.
He put Noah to work to help Him save the good people and the innocent animals. All except those silly Unicorns (You have to hear this) who were too busy playing rather than working.
Can you begin to imagine the work He had Abraham do?
Jacob surely didn't have much time to himself with his 12 children.
Joseph, Jacob's son was instrumental in getting food to the Chosen People during a vicious famine by being an "insider" in the Pharaoh's court.
Then Yaweh called Moses to organize the Israelites and lead them back home. Forty years in the desert!
Joshua takes over and struggles to get them all safely into Jerusalem.
Samuel takes over the lead of the army.
Saul is chosen but turns out to be a bad choice. He spends a lot of his time chasing David in order to kill him.
God is on David's side. Twice David could have killed Saul and twice he spared him.
David centered worship in Jerusalem.
Solomon takes over and builds the Temple, among other things. (This is a family publication)
God is really putting these people to work, right?
I'm going to take a breather here and just briefly mention all the work that God gave the prophets. Some famous, some not, but all gave their lives to God. It was tough. God told Isaiah, "...Go to these hard hearted people. Beware, the more you speak, the deafer they will become..." Paraphrase of Isaiah 6: 9+ 10.
I'm not going to forget my favorites, the Maccabee brothers. Their revolt against the Greeks brought the Temple back under the control of the Israelites.
So, OK, we will talk about the New Testament movers and shakers,
John the Baptist, preaching and baptizing and calling the King out for his sexual escapades.
Jesus didn't exactly sit still either, now did he?
He also kept His disciples on the move.
He never cured anyone without telling them to go now and do something, even if it was a simple, "sin no more."
Finally he tells us to go and baptize all nations. Now that's a direct commandment to get to work.
There is no room in God's plan of salvation for lay-abouts. If Yaweh works; if Jesus works; if they tell us to help them in their work, who are we to say "no" and then proclaim that we that we believe because faith alone in Jesus Christ is all that is expected of us? We have to take the parable of Jonah to heart. We can't wait until we get swallowed by the whale. We must believe and work at the same time.
What about Paul in 1 Corinthians, 9;16, "For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel." I am under compulsion. God is making me do it. If it weren't for him it would be my work and I would be proud of it. But because it is His, I don't boast and He therefore gets the credit for work well done. He then reaches in and touches the hearts who listen to Him through me.
By the way, to whom was Jesus talking to when He talks about the final judgment? Sounds like He's telling us to work or loose heaven.
I therefore invite you all to Believe and to bring your belief (faith) into gear. If you don't, I'm going to leave you behind after having lived a full life of faith and works for Him. I can't help it, my name is Paul. If and when you cry at my funeral, I will joyfully cross the Red Sea of your tears and hope that when your eyes clear, you'll get to work so we can enjoy the sweet angelic music of heaven together as we "Whistle While we Work."