Imagine you are an Olympic Athlete. Your ultimate goal, surely, is to win a Gold Medal at the Olympics? As Christians our ultimate goal, surely, is to spend eternity with God in Heaven?
Now if you are going to win that Gold medal you are going to need to train and to commit yourself to this training. And based on training alone you may or may not win that Gold Medal. For Christians, this training equates to our good works and we may or may not enter Heaven based on our good works alone. We don't know.
But how much more prepared will you be for winning that Gold medal if you are training AND listening to your coach? As for us how much more prepared will we be to follow our spiritual goal if we are doing our good works AND listening to the Word of God. These alone may or may not allow us achieve of goals.
But how much more prepared will you be for winning that medal if you are training, listening to your coach and eating the right food? As for our spiritual goal, how much more will we be prepared if we are doing our good works, listening to the Word of God and receiving the Body of Christ? And these things alone may get us to our goals.
And how much more prepared will you be as an athlete if you are training well, listening to your coach, eating well AND taking some time to rest and recover? Much more I would feel. The same for us, how much closer will we be to achieving our goal if we are doing our good works, listening to the word of God, sharing in the Eucharist AND resting in Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament?
And finally, how more prepared, even on top of all this, if during your training and preparation you get an injury that you take the time to visit the Physio and have it repaired so you can perform at your best? So for us, when we make mistakes, as we all do, we turn to God for healing and mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
If we do our good works, listen to God's word and integrate it in our lives,receive the Body of Christ, rest in prayer & Adoration and turn to God for forgiveness, when things go wrong, surely, we will be at our best to run our finest race.
'Do you not know that in the foot-race the runners all run, but that only one gets the prize? You must run like him, in order to win with certainty' (1Cor 9:24)