“A meritocracy is a political system in which political power and economic goods are bestowed upon citizens based on their achievements rather than social standing or wealth. In short, people get what they deserve. We Americans tend to like this idea: people should not be rewarded just because they were born into the right family, but because they truly earned it! Many a medieval king gave wealth or choice property to friends; they bestowed important government positions to family. We look askance on this unenlightened political system. Rather, we assert that wealth ought to be a reward for hard work, not for friendship; government roles ought to be bestowed based on one’s competency, not one’s family ties!
Christ is a king, and like any king, He has a kingdom: the “Kingdom of God.” Is this Kingdom of God a meritocracy? One could be inclined to think so. Not just anyone gets into the Kingdom of God, but only those who live good and upright lives! The kingdom has laws one must follow if he is to be a citizen: give alms to the poor, know the faith well, don’t bury your talents, go to Mass on Sundays, do not eat meat on Fridays of Lent, etc. If you want to be saved, it’s not enough to be born into a Christian family or to inherit a Christian culture. No, you have to earn salvation yourself, right?
No, of course not. Salvation is a free gift. It is impossible for man to earn it. As St. Paul writes, “By grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God—not because of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph 2:8-9). Here we have a classic case of trying to fit God into our human categories. A human king can bestow favors in response to the good works of his subjects, but he lacks the power to enable his subjects to do these good works. God, on the other hand, not only bestows favors after our good works, but also gives us the ability to do the good work in the first place so as to deserve the reward. Thus, in a certain sense, God’s kingdom is a meritocracy, for we do truly merit rewards from him on account of our good, free actions. However, at its core, God’s kingdom is not a meritocracy, for all our merits are principally God’s gifts. They stem from the grace He gives. The king Himself says to us, “without Me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5).
For God, human categories break down. On the one hand, having status in His kingdom is about being in the right family. In making us His subjects, He adopts us into His own family without our deserving this gift. On the other hand, God is not guilty of nepotism, for He also transforms us in such a way that we are truly subjects worthy of our places in the kingdom. God does not want us to try to earn His love. Christian life in the kingdom is not principally about what we accomplish for God. Both our adoption and our merit follow upon the free gift of God’s grace. In response to His grace, more than anything else the Lord wants us to do simply this: rest and rejoice in His love for us.”
“Almighty and everlasting God,
Who in Thy beloved Son,
the King of the whole world,
hast willed to restore all things,
mercifully grant that all the families of nations
now kept apart by the wound of sin,
may be brought under the sweet yoke of His rule.” – traditional Collect for the Solemnity of Christ the King.
Love, & His love,
Summa Catechetica, "Neque enim quaero intelligere ut credam, sed credo ut intelligam." – St Anselm, "Let your religion be less of a theory, and more of a love affair." -G.K. Chesterton, "I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men and women who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, and who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it."- Bl John Henry Newman, Cong. Orat., "Encounter, not confrontation; attraction, not promotion; dialogue, not debate." -cf Pope Francis, “You will not see anyone who is really striving after his advancement who is not given to spiritual reading. And as to him who neglects it, the fact will soon be observed by his progress.” -St Athanasius, "To convert someone, go and take them by the hand and guide them." -St Thomas Aquinas, OP. 1 saint ruins ALL the cynicism in Hell & on Earth. “When we pray we talk to God; when we read God talks to us…All spiritual growth comes from reading and reflection.” -St Isidore of Seville, “Also in some meditations today I earnestly asked our Lord to watch over my compositions that they might do me no harm through the enmity or imprudence of any man or my own; that He would have them as His own and employ or not employ them as He should see fit. And this I believe is heard.” -GM Hopkins, SJ, "Only God knows the good that can come about by reading one good Catholic book." — St. John Bosco, "Why don't you try explaining it to them?" – cf St Peter Canisius, SJ, Doctor of the Church, Doctor of the Catechism, "Already I was coming to appreciate that often apologetics consists of offering theological eye glasses of varying prescriptions to an inquirer. Only one prescription will give him clear sight; all the others will give him at best indistinct sight. What you want him to see—some particular truth of the Faith—will remain fuzzy to him until you come across theological eye glasses that precisely compensate for his particular defect of vision." -Karl Keating, "The more perfectly we know God, the more perfectly we love Him." -St Thomas Aquinas, OP, ST, I-II,67,6 ad 3, “But always when I was without a book, my soul would at once become disturbed, and my thoughts wandered." —St. Teresa of Avila, "Let those who think I have said too little and those who think I have said too much, forgive me; and let those who think I have said just enough thank God with me." –St. Augustine, "Without good books and spiritual reading, it will be morally impossible to save our souls." —St. Alphonsus Liguori "Never read books you aren't sure about. . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?" -St. John Bosco " To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher and of each believer." —St. Thomas Aquinas, OP. "Prayer purifies us, reading instructs us. Both are good when both are possible. Otherwise, prayer is better than reading." –St. Isidore of Seville “The aid of spiritual books is for you a necessity.… You, who are in the midst of battle, must protect yourself with the buckler of holy thoughts drawn from good books.” -St. John Chrysostom