GOD WANTS YOU IN HEAVEN
BUT MOST REJECT GOD'S SAVING MERCY AND CHOOSE SIN INSTEAD
Run to God!
We Greatly Need His Help!
Lacking TRUE Sorrow for ONE SIN... Rejects God's Gift of Eternal Life
Souls are Dying!
Even though God spends our entire life trying to save us, tragically, we are still dying.
We simply must learn the Way! We need a SAVING FAITH. We are rejecting God’s saving merciful grace from not having true sorrow for our sins!
“[Tragically,] there are few who wish to receive Him and to be saved by Him [most choose their sin instead], although His yoke is sweet and His burden light.”
–St. Francis of Assisi (Letter to All the Faithful).
Because our flesh is so weak from original sin, we couldn’t save ourselves through obedience to the Law. So God from His great love for us, sent His Son to save us. (cf. Romans 8:3).
However, even though Christians have received Jesus’ most merciful free gift of saving, forgiving grace from His suffering, death and resurrection at our baptisms (cf. Acts 2:38), we reject that sanctifying (saving) grace when we lack true sorrow for any sin.
“Thy death will not save me, if I do not on my part detest every evil and have true sorrow for the sins I have committed against Thee.”
–St. Alphonsus, Doctor of the Church (Meditations for Every Day of Advent, Med. 11)
Salvation is by the Forgiveness of Our Sins
Salvation is only found in the forgiveness of our sins, since “all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
This forgiveness is first received by Christ’s sacrifice and it is kept in our souls by “godly grief [true sorrow, which] produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief [false sorrow] produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10), since it rejects God’s perfect forgiveness He gave us from lacking sorrow for offending God.
“I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts may be corrupted from a sincere [and pure] commitment to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). We can see the devil’s deceive tactics have won, as he has confused most of us to what a saving faith and true sorrow really is. We think if we feel really badly about a sin and “say” we are truly sorry, we surely have true sorrow. But that just isn’t true.
True sorrow is so much more than a word or thought as I will explain in this article. Oh, “how few the Elect are” as St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church, warns us in his commentary on Matthew. The tragic reality is, so few have a saving faith/true sorrow for all of their sins.
Sure, we need to, “confess our sins, [then] he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:19). But this confession we must make can’t be lacking in true contrition, saying we are sorry, but in our hearts we really aren’t. We need godly grief (true sorrow), and this godly grief we need, for most, takes much time to acquire.
Sadly, our confessions, if we make them, for most, are simply done in word alone. Our hearts aren’t truly sorry for our great offenses committed against God.
“Many, I tell you, will attempt to enter [Heaven] but will not be strong enough [for they lack a saving faith]” (Luke 13:23-24).
So we can begin to see our errors in thinking, so the devil won’t own us for all eternity, please ask ourselves, “How can we be truly sorry for sinning if we aren’t even working with all of our heart to stop?” What kind of sorrow is that?…I tell you, it isn’t true.
“We must be ready to suffer anything rather than fall back into those sins which we have just confessed. People should be able to see a complete change in us; otherwise we have not merited absolution (not been forgiven).
–St. John Vianney (Sermons of the Cure of Ars, Merit Absolution)
God who reads our hearts (cf. Luke 16:15), knows most of us simply don’t hate many of our offences against Him enough to be truly sorry for them especially since we aren’t continuously and correctly seeking His transforming grace, making resolutions and amending our ways.
Honestly, how many sins are we not even putting forth effort, never mind a true effort, into amending? Each one is deadly (cf. Acts 3:19).
My friend, unfortunately, very few grow in their sorrow, from just some sorrow into gaining a true godly grief–a true hatred–for every sin. We can clearly see this in our constant repeated sins, which results in most never coming to truly love God and unknowingly rejecting His forgiveness since we still have some liking for some horrid sin.
“For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14).
Tragically, “very few Christians are saved” as St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, tells us in St. Leonard of Port Maurice sermon on The Little Number of the Saved.
Such a great loss of life. An eternity in terrifying anguish awaits so many. We desperately need God’s mercy to give us a saving faith!
From not properly seeking God's grace, we die still having a liking for some sins (lacking sorrow) and choose sin over His love and lose Eternal Life.
Oh, many are part of the faith, but so few actually live it.
Believing in Christ is the Beginning of Faith–Not the End
To obtain a wonderful saving faith from God’s mercy that truly hates every sin (has true sorrow), we need to understand that this beautiful perfect forgiveness is only given to “everyone who believes in Him” (John 3:16).
But let’s not become deceived by the evil one, who wants to own us for all eternity, and not correctly seek God’s helping, healing mercy to save us (take away our liking for sin), because we think we “believe” in Christ and are forgiven.
We simply must come to know, we don’t have a saving faith–true belief–the instant we recognize Jesus as Lord. That is the beginning of faith…the infancy in faith…not proof of a saving faith. We need to “grow into salvation” (1 Peter 2:2), and for most that takes much time.
Please realize, even the devils “believe” Jesus is Lord, “I [the demon] know who you are—the Holy One of God!” (Luke 4:34). Surely, we need more faith than the devils, who are damned.
After our baptism, when we matured and gained full knowledge of right from wrong and didn’t truly hate nor sincerely wish to stop our first sin, we lost (rejected) God’s magnificent gift of saving grace from lacking true sorrow for offending God–which is an abomination of love; it is a mortal sin!
From the consequences of original sin, sadly we desire sin–lack contrition–very greatly. Now for the rest of our life, we are supposed to seek God’s unfathomable mercy–follow Him, the Way–gain grace and grow into a mature saving faith, that has true sorrow for every sin (true love for God) so He can save us.
This is what our faith is truly supposed to be…having the goal of seeking God’s mercy (grace) so we can learn how to truly love Him and gain a saving faith so to live in Eternal Paradise.
“[Only] those who have grown to maturity [into a saving faith] in the grace of God will find the joy of adopted children in the kingdom of heaven; those who have not grown to maturity [haven’t reached a saving faith] will become God’s enemies and, even though they were once his children [from baptism], they will be punished according to their deeds for all eternity.”
–St. Andrew Kim Taegon (His Final Exhortation Letter).
Jesus only becomes Our Savior (cf. Luke 2:11) when we allow His helping mercy–His actual grace–to transform our hardened hearts of self-love, which still desires sin, into softened hearts of true love for God (cf. Ezekiel 36:26), which now truly hates all sin and all pleasures of the world (cf. 1 John 2:15) and desires God and His will alone so we can embrace God’s saving mercy He died to give us.
Truly, God doesn’t reject us; sadly we reject Him for sin. (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:8)
It is true, “everyone shall be saved who calls on the name of the Lord” (Acts 2:21), but only if we call upon Him truly wanting Him and not any sin. Therefore, we need to learn how to run to God correctly, so we can open our hearts to receive His grace and come to truly love Him by gaining a true hatred for each and every sin.
Please understand, accepting the gift of eternal life isn’t hard, KEEPING IT is.
Wonderfully, God “is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to [true] repentance.” (2 Peter 3:3). Yet the horribly reality is, “many are called [to Heaven] but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14)…But we can be with the “few” if we repent and change and then grow in wonderful joy as we “attain the goal of faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:1).
Reject One Word – Reject God
Because “the Word became Flesh” (John 1:14), God is the Word. They are one.
Therefore, if we reject any of the Word–don’t want to obey even one command—we reject God from still having a desire for sin.
This perfect observance of the Word that we must seek (cf. Matthew 5:48) can’t be done just for the sake of obeying either, thinking it is by obedience that we are saved. We are saved by faith, not obedience (cf. Galatians 3:11). We must have true faith in Christ–the Word–as the Way to Eternal Life (cf. John 14:6).
If we want to be saved, we must strive to perfectly obey the entire Word–the law of love–because we believe God is the Word and understand that by rejecting any of the Word we are rejecting God, whom we should be loving (obeying) with all of our heart. That is why we seek to perfectly obey, out of great LOVE FOR GOD.
“Whoever loves me will keep my word” (John 14:23).
“Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day” (John 12:48).
We desire sin–lack concern with disobeying the Word–and reject God by:
- thinking any sin is not serious,
- ignoring any of the Word not wanting to obey,
- not truly seeking–with all of our heart–to stop any sin,
- desiring anything opposed to the Word,
- lacking sorrow in any way for any sin…
When we do any of the above, we don’t truly care if we are offending God and don’t truly love Him. We desire sin…not God.
The sad reality is, we reject God—“the truth” (John 17:17) and His most merciful saving grace for some wretched sin in so many ways. Oh, how many sins do we desire? Not sure…well I will show you more clearly in this article so we can gain at least some awareness of our great need to change.
We greatly need God’s mercy to take away our desire for sin. Now is the time to learn the Way! Eternity is forever!
“There is such a thing as deadly sin” (1 John 5:16-17) and rejecting God (desiring any sin/lacking sorrow)–in any way–is one of them. It’s a mortal sin.
We Need A Horror for Sin
We must have a horror for sin and only seek God’s will, not our own sinful desires (cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10). If we only understood the gravity one small sin has against perfect Goodness we would be absolutely horrified. The consequences of sin against God, others and ourselves, is incredible. If we truly comprehended this, we would run from sin like the plague it really is.
- wounds Our Lord’s Sacred Heart of Love,
- caused His crucifixion,
- separates us from Him,
- rejects grace, weakening us, making it easier to commit additional sins,
- creates much blindness to the Way, and
- produces great suffering on Earth, in Purgatory, and in Hell for eternity for us and others.
Please understand when we reject God for sin, we don’t choose Purgatory either. We choose Hell. Purgatory is only for the saved who are truly sorry for their sins but still need to atone (pay the punishment/purify themselves) for their offences committed after baptism, if they didn’t “cover”–atone–for their sins while on earth through love (cf. 1 Peter 4:8), so they can enter into Heaven since “nothing unclean will enter it” (cf. Revelation 21:27).
Being Attached to One Sin–or Anything at all…Forfeits Salvation
As we can see, we can’t love/desire both God and sin, we “will either hate the one and love the other” (Matthew 6:24). If we still desire–are attached–any sin, even ONE–because of the infinite injury one sin causes God–as I said, we are guilty of denying of the whole Law (God) because we reject God’s saving mercy for some dreaded worthless sin (cf. James 2:10).
But that isn’t all. If we are attached to anything at all, that is idolatry! Without a doubt we must “love the Lord our God” (Mark 12:30) alone if we want to be saved by Him.
“If anyone is attached to any one thing…everything is…lost…He who follows what is lost, is lost himself; and what greater loss, what greater blindness, what greater calamity, can there be than making much of that which is nothing!”
–St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church (The Life of St. Teresa, Ch. 34, No. 20)
But the devil has stripped away our horror for sin. We don’t hate it; we love it. Sadly, we don’t see where our heart is being pulled to the world–because of our vast attachments–and not to God.
The evil one has us even thinking we don’t “love” sin. “Who would love/desire sin?” we say, but our lack of hatred for sin is shown in our actions–as we stay in our repeated sins from having some liking for that evil which causes us to reject God’s transforming grace by wanting that sin instead of love Him and ultimately leads us into rejecting God’s saving mercy at the hour of our death for that sin.
Horribly, “the majority of men shall not see God” as St. Justin, Doctor of the Church, declares (First Apology, Ch. 21). We live deceived.
This is because the devil has caught us. Most aren’t even concerned with salvation. We walk around believing we are saved. If we are blessed to gain some fear of punishment, some poor misguided soul who thinks they are loving us will quickly steer us right away from God’s gift (servile fear-fear of punishment). “Servile fear is a gift of the Holy Ghost” –St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church, (Summa Theologica II q.19, art.6). Then, we will go back to living our blind, concern free, lukewarm lives all over again.
We are so deceived, we don’t even know what our faith really is nor possess “the gift of fear of the Lord [which] is definitely the basis [of the Holy Spirit]. It is the FEAR OF SIN.” (St. Pope John Paul II (Spiritual Diary, Sept. 23, 1976). To learn about the marvels of true fear of the Lord, and not the deceptions which have spread today, please read the article “fear of the Lord.”
“The souls in hell having been found at the moment of death with a will [desire] to sin [any sin], have with them an infinite degree of guilt; and the punishment they suffer, though less than they deserve [because of the infinite degree of guilt from one sin], is yet, so far as it exists, endless.”
–St. Catherine of Genoa, (Treatise on Purgatory, Ch. 4)
Please don’t allow the devil to convince us that we don’t desire sin. In this article, I will show several ways, we clearly do. The evil one wants to darken us to our misery (sinfulness) and the Way to Heaven, so we lack motivation to repent and change (cf. 1 Peter 1:13-16). But we most certainly need to if we want to Live.
“Repent [become truly sorry], therefore, and be converted [stop your sinful ways], that your sins may be wiped away [forgiven]” (Acts 3:19).
Our Pride Kills Us
The reason we don’t correctly run to God for His unfathomable mercy (helping grace), which is waiting for us, to bring us to a truly contrite (sorrowful) heart to save us, is from our PRIDE. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
God hates our pride. (cf. Proverbs 8:13). Our pride–arrogance, vanities, jealousies, stubbornness, unwillingness to see our faults–from our hard hearts, blinds us to the Way. It confuses us to what is right from wrong, obscures the truth from a lie, and blinds us to the misery of our sinfulness that lives within us. Then we lack true sorrow for for our trespasses and choose sin over God’s sanctifying grace.
From this blindness, many never gain enough humility to see our true need for Jesus’s mercy (help to obtain a saving faith); we wind up only seeing Jesus as our help for us on earth and pretty much forget all about salvation. Then we guide ourselves and others to our doom (cf. Luke 6:39), all the long thinking we are saved.
Truly, when we have much pride, we will see evil as good and good as evil and wholeheartedly believe we are correct (cf. Isaiah 5:20) in so many aspects of our life and faith. It is a horrifying state to live in and most are clueless such a problem exists.
“They [the proud] are unable to perceive this light [the Way], for their eyes are sick with pride”
–Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweden (Revelations, Ch. 30).
Our pride causes us to have little or no wisdom (cf. Proverbs 11:2). Then we believe a lie and from that lie, we lack of true humility (don’t know our sinfulness) and then we never grow into having true contrition (true sorrow) for every sin.
The proud, who suffer much blindness, who read that very few Christians are saved as St. Augustine teaches, either:
- don’t believe the saint,
- misinterpret the saint’s words so to remain blind,
- point to a misunderstanding of the Word, hoping to some how justify our sinfulness, refusing to see,
- believe that from our perceived good works and faithful life of prayer and devotions, we are one of the “few” who are saved.
However in contrast, the truly humble or ones who desire true humility–ones who know their great sinfulness–who don’t suffer from the presumption of salvation–they cry out to God, “Oh, Lord help me to gain a saving faith, ‘I do believe, [but] help my unbelief!‘ (Mark 9:24)…teach me the Way…give me a truly sorrowful heart for every sin so I may desire you alone and embrace your saving mercy.”
I know it is very hard to know the Way, largely because we have been misguided our entire life, and it is doubly as hard to see our lack of humility, especially if we don’t know how to look, but if we want to grow at all, please at least humble ourselves enough to believe the saints, who have far greater wisdom than we do and cry out to God, “teach us the true ways of true holiness so we too may be saved by Your mercy.”
“Every proud heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured that none will go unpunished” (Proverbs 16:5).
“The vast majority of Christians [even the faithful] are enveloped in the most shocking ignorance [of their faith]” –St. John Baptist Vianney (Sermons of the Cure of Ars, Lost Works).
Obtaining Salvation is Very Difficult
I know it is hard to believe obtaining salvation is difficult and that “scarcely anyone is saved” as St. Alphonosus says in his, Discourse to the Brethren of a Confraternity, since most of us have been deceived our whole life into thinking that mercy will save us if we just have some belief in Jesus. But that just isn’t true.
However, the saints and the Word concur perfectly with St. Alphonosus and warns us that “the just man shall scarcely be saved.”(1 Peter 4:18-19). Why don’t we believe the Word and the saints who have far greater wisdom than we do?
Truly, we don’t need just “some” belief in Christ to be saved, we need a true saving belief in Jesus: a faith so great that JESUS IS THE WAY, that we come to truly hate everything that is opposed to the Way…especially everything that is opposed to love of the Cross (suffering and sacrificing for the salvation of souls). We need a repentance that can lead to the Truth.
“[I pray] God will grant them [us] repentance that leads to knowledge of the truth, and that they [we] may return to their [our] senses out of the devil’s snare, where they [we] are entrapped by him, for his will.” (2 Timothy 2:25-26).
Sadly, the devil has caught us so greatly in his trap; it is as if we are looking for any excuse to justify our sins and think mercy will save us, even if we lack sorrow, so we can stay blind, not have guilt and remain in our trespasses. We don’t have a horror for sin nor much love for God!
“The path leading to Heaven is so narrow and so rough, so overgrown, so dark and difficult to discern, that there are many who never find it their whole life long. And those who do find it are constantly exposed to the danger of deviating from it, of mistaking their way, and unwittingly wandering away from it, because it is so irregular and overgrown.”
–St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church (Commentary on Matthew)
“Make no mistake: God is not mocked, for a person will reap only what he sows” (Galatians 6:7), and if we don’t sow in tears of true repentance for all of our sins, we will reap the disaster of eternal suffering.
Hate All Sin
If we truly love God and are truly sorry for our offences against God, we must HATE ALL SIN.
“Let love be sincere; hate what is evil [all sin]” (Romans 12:9).
I have been talking a lot about hating sin. True hatred of sin is quite complex. But to start understanding it we need to realize it is much more than simply feeling badly about sinning. This hatred isn’t in word alone (cf. 1 John 3:18) either. Like I said, how can we truly love God and hate our sins, if we aren’t running to God wholeheartedly for guidance and strength, making resolutions and changes in our life, doing all we can to stop ALL of our sins?
Truly, doesn’t God deserve our love not our malice. If we aren’t amending our life, to “stop sinning” (1 Corinthians 15:34), our great love for God and hatred for sin we claim to have is just a lie. God’s grace is surely enough to take away our sins, if we allow Him (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:9).
The sad reality is, we don’t correctly seek God and as a result, we are not accepting His transforming grace and changing.
We aren’t stopping our sins! We continue in them day in and day out thinking this is just who we are, or perhaps we feel we just can’t stop, or maybe we think our sins are just venial and no big deal.
We have a great lack of hatred for sin and prove complacency with our offences–great and small alike–against God because we don’t change…but with God’s grace (our strength), we most certainly can and must.
What little love we have for God! Most of us aren’t trying to stop all of our sins; we are apparently fine with many of them. Sadly, most aren’t even trying to stop any of them. We say we are sorry for our sins, but our sorrow is far from true, starting with the fact that we put no or such little effort into changing.
The reality is most don’t even know what true sorrow is–as I will explain later– so we aren’t working to obtain that goal and are unknowingly rejecting God’s saving mercy for bounds of sins. Lord help us! (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
“Put an end to all this sin put an end to it, my dear Brethren: know that the greater the patience that God has had with you [in trying to teach you the Way so you will change], the greater will be the chastisement [punishment] that he reserves for you [in hell], if you do not hasten to amend your life.”
–St. Alphonsus, Doctor of the Church, (Exercises of the Missions, Ch. 1)
We Can’t See Our Sins
The real problem is, most of us have been so deceived that we intentionally cover (hide) our sins, so to stay in them without guilt…but we don’t know we are doing this. Therefore, we don’t see the vast ways we reject God for sin nor know of our great need to repent and change. We perhaps will see a couple of sins, thinking that is all we have, when we are really drowning in them.
We don’t know how to love; we think loving someone is making them smile and feel happy. Now that could be a sign of love but that surely isn’t the example of what God showed us true love is. We may think we are so loving from our outward worldly acts of love, but in God’s eyes we are a misery.
Most of the time when we love the way the world loves, it is done from prideful motives; we just don’t recognize the self-love coming from our actions. Preaching the truth (to guide us to the Light), forgiving (removing anger, wiping out self-pity and truly loving in return) and self-less sacrificing and suffering to help save our neighbor is the love God taught us.
We have been tricked into thinking we are righteous because we have changed some parts of our lives and try to be (what we consider) good people, but if we only honestly looked into our hearts we would see we aren’t really trying to become saints: those who don’t want to sin, who intentionally “deny himself [of worldly pleasure] and take up his cross daily [not complain about suffering and challenges] and follow me [truly live the Word]” (Luke 9:23), just like God has commanded of us.
Sadly, we are still ignoring many of God’s commands. We might agree with God’s law, but we don’t understand that we really need to obey it. We still haven’t abandoned (still desire) countless sins. Yet, we must work to obey God and desire God alone/not be attached to—long for—any sin or anything but God (no idolatry).
“If they believed in the eternal joy of Heaven and in the horrific torments of hell, they would desire nothing but me. If they believed that I see and know all things and have power over all things and that I demand a judgment over all, they would hate the world, and they would fear more to sin before me than before men….Their hope is vain, because they hope that their sin will be forgiven without justice and a right judgment…Their love for me is completely cold.”
–Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweeden (Revelations Ch. 39)
Pope St. John Paul II speaks in length about this reality of humanity losing the sense of sin in his Apostolic Exhortation on Reconciliation and Penance as he tell us, “When the conscience is weakened [from sin] the sense of God is also obscured, and as a result…the sense of sin is lost. This explains why my predecessor Pius XI, one day declared…that ‘the sin of the century is the loss of the sense of sin.'”
If we want Eternal Life we must become humble–come to know our sinfulness–our we will die. God tells us, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments [the entire Word]” (John 14:15)…we need to know where we are failing to obey so we can seek His grace to amend our ways.
But since most don’t see ourselves in the correct light–even if we think we obey and love God–from the great deception that lives in us, we actually obey little from our sadly little love for God and great love for sin. Truly, this is the horrible reality for most.
“Unfortunately, such a large body of Christians do not now themselves [their sinfulness] and do not even try to know themselves. They follow routines and habits, and they do not want to see reality. They are blind, and they move along in their blindness.”
–St. John Vianney (The Sermons of the Cure of Ars, Routine Followers)
Tragically, most Christians aren’t growing in true faithfulness, but only growing in a facade of the faith while still justifying our sinfulness, still staying in spiritual infancy, while being deceived that we are “faithful” since we grow in prayers, works and knowledge of the faith.
However, we greatly lack wisdom “fear of the Lord”–fear of sin–therefore, we never grow in true faith towards Life (cf. Proverbs 19:23). Those prayers, works and knowledge could lead to a saving faith, but it doesn’t for most because we have so much pride and are rejecting the grace they send or could send.
From being deceived, we wind up only blaspheming God’s Holy Name…not truly living the Christian faith. Sadly, we don’t know the true faith, greatly lack a true horror for sin and horribly cause many injuries to God as a result.
“Through the Blood of My only-begotten Son, as I have said, men are not grateful, but, going from bad to worse, and from guilt to guilt, even persecuting Me with many injuries, taking so little account of the graces which I have given them [to help save them]…by divine justice, the greater their suffering in eternal damnation [shall be].”
–God the Father to St. Catherine of Sienna, Doctor of the Church, (Dialogue, Treatise of Discretion)
Of course God’s incredible mercy wants to save us and will save us no matter how many sins we commit, but from God’s justice, that is ONLY if we are truly sorry for each and every one of them. And we aren’t truly sorry for any sin, if we aren’t resolved in doing all we can to stop…that is the most basic requirement for true sorrow. Please don’t believe the lie or we will surely die.
Look at Our Lack of Peace
We can’t work to stop any of our sins, if we refuse to see them. How do we know if we have the true faith…the Word says to “test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5). We won’t see most of our sins unless we look for them.
Denial leads to doom and boy do we love to deny that we are at fault. We will come up with a thousand lies to cover our sins since our pride can’t bear being guilty. If we want to Live this must stop. We must look at our actions and see how we respond to life’s challenges (our tests) to see our errors.
Everyone is good and acts well when things go as we desire, but how are we when God allows us to carry a cross? Have we passed the test or are we riddled with unrepentant/unchanging sin?
It is easy to see if we are living the faith, if we want. Every time we become angry, complain, worry, impatient, frustrated, anxious, have self-pity, and suffer anything outside of peace…bingo, those are our sins. This isn’t just how we are…no, these are our sins, or at least some of them. God promises us great peace to us when we obey and trust in Him. “You maintain peace; in peace, because of our trust in you“ (Isaiah 26:3). Believe!
“Lovers of your law have much peace; for them there is no stumbling block” (Psalm 119:165).
We obviously don’t love the law very much, nor trust in God’s will very well either, as our distress during suffering and challenges proves. Sadly, we still love much sin and are rejecting God’s peaceful grace as a result.
The only reason we are outside of peace is because we want our will and not God’s. Truly, even when we are suffering horribly and terribly sad, we will still remain in the peace of Christ, if we trust in His will: that what ever He allows to happen will lead to great good but that is only for those who trust in Him.
Sadly, though, we mostly want our will, therefore most of our suffering/challenges are in vain or we only gain a small fraction of the grace God truly has to offer because we have such little faith. Truly, “if you were dead to yourself [your will] you would not be so disturbed” as St. Gemma Galgani’s Guardian Angel told her (autobiography part 4).
We must die to our selves–lose our self-will–have no goals in our life except filling God’s will, not just some of the time, but all of the time if we want to Live (cf. John 12:24-25 ). We can’t want our will over God’s…we must truly believe God knows the Way.
“Our whole life and salvation depend upon uniting our wills to the will of God.”
–St. Alphonosus, Doctor of the Church (Conformity to the Will of God, Med. 98)
All of our issues with not being able to handle suffering or problems in life, is not of God. God doesn’t want us crumble under His cross. No, HIS GRACE, when we accept it, is to makes us strong through the cross and teach us, so we can grow towards a saving faith. (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:9).
We shouldn’t become stressed or upset over anything (except sin–and even then it should be met with much patience and sorrow). As St. Faustina said, when we trust in God, we should “fear nothing except sin” (Diary #309).
Truly, His “burden [cross will become] light” (Matthew 11:28-30), when we accept His healing transforming grace. We just need to learn how to gain God’s strength and stop rejecting it.
No Self-Knowledge, No Humility, No Hope
To accept God’s grace, we need humility and that comes from gaining self-knowledge of our sinfulness. How can we have true contrition if we don’t even want to see our sins? We can’t.
Of course we need to read the Word and the commandments to learn what sins are, but there is so much more than that. There are sins that are easily seen and ones we need to look deeper to know. But if we love God, we will want to know them all so we can stop offending Our Lord.
“There is no attaining to God without self-knowledge; for from such knowledge alone come humility and the fear of God, which is the beginning of [obtaining the goal of] salvation.”
–St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church (His Last Work).
Therefore, when we notice our lack of peace during our day. We simply need to stop and look into WHY we responded in such a sinful (unloving/impatient/unpeaceful/untrusting) way and didn’t contentfully relent to God’s will knowing that is truly what is best. That’s how we will come to know the sin under the sin.
Our misery will be reveled in this way as we examine our conscience. Sure there is much more involved than just this in coming to know our sinfulness, but this is a beginning. Please read the article “How to Know My Sins” to learn more.
After that, we need to look to see if we are honestly in great pursuit of God’s grace to stop these sins. Then we will see at least some of the sin we lack sorrow for, and what we need to change. We will know when we are correctly seeking God’s transforming grace, and making resolutions to amend our ways because those sins will be leaving, not staying the same.
Here is an example: Lets say someone treats us poorly, do we really have pity on them and “bless those who curse you” (Luke 6:28), loving our cross or do we feel offended? Then do we think about the great offence that was committed against us as we fill our self up with self-pity, become angry and complain? To justify our sins, we might say, “I have every right to treat him with anger. I’ve been offended” or we might think, “Oh, everyone does this; we are just sinners.”
Yes, that is true, we are all just sinners but that can’t be an excuse to sin. Plus, if we justify our sins by thinking we, who are great sinners ourselves, have a right to anger and self-pity and can lack mercy towards another–rather than offer love, pity them for their lack of grace, and give them true forgiveness (not in word alone but in our actions)–we will die from having an approval of our sins. We are not sorry. There is a reason “those who find it [Heaven] are few.” (Matthew 7:14). Don’t follow the lost, but those who have a horror for sin. Follow the saints.
The “few” who have accepted God’s grace, have allowed God to remove“all bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling” (Ephesians 4:31) as the Word says we must do. Honestly, have we done this…are we even trying? Are we really obeying the Word…living the true faith, or do we still habitually lack love when God tests us? Do we pass one test, but fail many others? The truth is easy to see, if we want. Please understand, without love we are nothing (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:2). Do we believe!
After a life time of prayers and seeking God’s mercy, have we still rejected most of God’s transforming grace and still can’t even show love and mercy to others who correct us or who we perceive as sinning against us. Truly, “It will be easy for you to accept a harsh or disrespectful word [if you are humble]” as St. Maximilian Kolbe teaches in his spiritual writings (# 969). Where is our faith?
“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart [that he is faithful], his religion is vain” (James 1:26).
Truly, we are not yet faithful if we still can’t habitually love, under any circumstance–no matter what horrible cross we have to suffer. It is true, we have a billion excuses, filled with self-love, why we can’t obey God…please stop them and admit our guilt. Seek God’s grace, which wants to heal us of our misery and carry the crosses He allows us to bear, however long He wills, learning the Way and growing in wonderful holiness trusting in Him.
Venial Sins Easily Become Mortal
I know it is hard to believe that not hating a venial–small–sin is going to damn our souls, especially if we have been deceived into thinking venial sins are fine to commit. But the saints in their true wisdom tell us otherwise.
Understand that one venial sin can do us greater harm than all the forces of hell combined — for that is really true.”
–St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church (Autobiography, Ch. 24)
To help up us understand why this is so, we need to know…
…it isn’t technically the venial sin that is damning us. Venial sins don’t separate us from God’s saving love, if we are so blessed to be in the state of grace, even though all sins, even venial ones are horrible atrocities against God’s perfect love.
It is our lack of contrition for that venial sin that merits us eternal doom. This is because the lack of sorrow—being OK with offending Perfect Goodness–is an abomination of love. It’s a mortal sin.
We must be firmly resolved to amend all sin...even a venial ones to Live.
Truly, mercy can’t save us, no matter how faithful we believe we are, no matter how many hours of prayers and devotions we have prayed, or bounds of works we have done if we still reject mercy from desiring–lacking sorrow–for a single sin, any sin, even the smallest, at the hour of our death. We have to honestly desire to stop every sin, even the small ones, because we can’t bear offending God, if we wish to be saved. Don’t be deceived!
And this true sorrow we need, as I will explain, is very hard to obtain.
“[A] venial [sin]…becomes mortal,” when someone “fix[es] one’s end in that venial sin [has no desire to amend]”
–St. Aquinas, Doctor of the Church (Summa Theologica, Qu. 88, art.4).
This is the truth. Yet, the devil has deceived so many of us away from having any fear of sin, mortal or venial, so we will continue in our sinful ways, thinking mercy will save us, when we are rejecting mercy for our disgraceful sins. Oh, the horror! Where is our love for God. The infinite injury just one sin causes to Perfect Goodness is unfathomable.
“How sad you make me feel when you are not sorry for your venial sins! For, until you are, you cannot begin to have true interior life” –St Joesmaria Escriva (The Way, #330).
Some of us are actually trying to stop some of our sins, and that is great! But many are deceived into only seeking to obey the “big” commands thinking only those will damn us, taking little account of the smaller crimes against God. How can we truly love God and be content with offending God even a little? What kind of love is that?
“I detest the slightest sin” –Jesus to St. Faustina (Diary #1728)
Sadly, most don’t detest the slightest sin. We aren’t truly seeking to stop sinning literally every crime against God. But that is the first step towards obtaining a saving faith…a true desire to sin no more.
Tragically many can’t get to this point in faith because we are blinded by our pride into thinking we are righteous because we appear so much better than the rest of the people who come across as far greater sinners. Oh, if we only knew the scale God weighs our guilt on…we would be amazed who is more guilty.
If we just sincerely looked at ourselves, even if we aren’t committing the seemingly greater sins as others might be, we would clearly see we are not truly growing “in imitation of the Son of God, the God-Man, [which] the children of God are to work away at their salvation” –St. Maximilian Kolbe (Will to Love, Christ Transforms Us).
Even if we are growing or have grown, if we are not growing towards perfection; sadly we are still lukewarm. What a horrible state that is! (cf. Revelation 3:16). Tragically, most are not growing in God’s image…not like someone should be if we were really following Him by living the faith.
From a lack of self knowledge and fear of the Lord, we are far from even striving to obey (perfectly seeking His will) with what we consider the smaller commands…striving to make “holiness perfect in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1) as God has commanded of us. Most aren’t even tying at all, never mind with all of our hearts, using God’s transforming grace to change.
We are too busy with our worldly problems to even think of stopping our sins. Yikes! We must know, our sins are the source of our problems (cf. Isaiah 59:2). If we obey God, from the removal of sin, we will have much grace, and now even problems, won’t be problems. Sure, God would also be wonderfully guiding us along the right path and so many of our problems would leave, but the crosses God does allow us to bear, would be sending fantastic grace for the salvation of our souls and we would love them.
We would be in wonderful peace, during our crosses and all, like God promises to those who truly love Him (His Law) and trust in Him (cf. Philippians 4:9). But, sadly we run from our crosses and even if we want to be happy with them, from our lack of grace, we simply can’t, which causes us to live greatly outside of peace.
Peace is found through trusting obedience and learning the Way through the cross.
Remember, “He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him [all of Him]” (Hebrews 5:9). We must believe, but tragically, we don’t understand the Way nor the gravity of just one small sin.
“Neglect of God’s law [any law] brings inescapable punishment for the soul and that unquenchable fire.”
–St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, (On Marriage and Family Life, SVS pg. 89)
Even Most of God’s Faithful Don’t Have True Contrition
This saving faith, of true love for God, driven from perfect sorrow for every sin, that we need to accept God’s saving mercy, sadly so very few have…even among God’s faithful. Please don’t be deceived.
We might do a lot of good things—perhaps we have left the world and joined a religious order, or maybe we do bounds of good works, lead fantastic lives of prayer, and participate in great devotions—and all of that is very good and needed, but that doesn’t prove a saving faith.
We could have left everything and are living homeless preaching and loving the poor and still cling to some useless pleasure of the world or still desire our will in some facet in life, choosing to not see it and sadly never desire God alone nor gain true contrition…clinging to some form of hidden idolatry. Truly, nothing we do saves or proves we are saved.
We are saved by Jesus’ sanctifying grace alone. If we don’t believe this, then we believe we are saved by ourselves and not God and have no real faith in Christ.
Honestly, being complacent with just ONE offence against God rejects His gift of Life that was meant to save us.
As St. John Vianney teaches us, “A lukewarm soul [one who deceives himself that he is faithful] will [perhaps] go to Confession regularly, and even quite frequently… But what kind of Confessions are they? …no desire to correct faults, or, at the least, a desire so feeble and so small that the slightest difficulty will put a stop to it altogether.”
“The Confessions of such a person are merely repetitions of old ones...How many seem to be good Christians in the eyes of the world who are really tepid [lukewarm] souls in the eyes of God?” (The Sermons of the Cure’d Ars, The Dreadful State of the Lukewarm Soul).
Bounds of poor deceived souls searching for God, wanting God, hear God’s call and even answer it to a certain degree but sadly still never develop a true hatred for each and every sin. Many from the religious and laity alike, think we have found Jesus and are united with Him but in reality, the deceiver has got us. We have only found Him a little; but think we have a great faith because we appear holy and in the state of grace when “God [who] knows your hearts” (Luke 16:15) knows our faith is far from true…that we still desire many sins…even though, from our pride, we will tell ourselves we don’t.
We simply must stop thinking we are the “good” ones because we go to church and do charitable things. Sure we have changed some of our life, but we are still sinners and injuring Our Lord. The saints focused on their sinfulness, not their “goodness” for a reason…that brings true humility…not low-self-esteem or depression (when done correctly), but wonderful much needed HUMILITY. To learn more please read “How Can I Gain Humility?”
But the devil has deceived us, and we continue to pride ourselves on our good works. But honestly, have we really “put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires?” (Ephesians 4:22-24). No. There are plenty of sins we still continue to commit but we want to pretend like we aren’t wretched sinners, but we are. We have no humility.
St. Faustina tells us how “the Lord Jesus began to complain about the souls of religious and priests, about the lack of love in chosen souls.” “[Jesus said] I will allow convents and churches to be destroyed. I [St. Faustina] answered, “Jesus, but there are so many souls praising You in convents.” The Lord answered, ‘That praise wounds My Heart, because love has been banished from convents. Souls without [true] love and without [true] devotion, souls full of egoism and self-love, souls full of pride and arrogance, souls full of deceit and hypocrisy, lukewarm souls who have just enough warmth to keep them alive: My Heart cannot bear this.'”
“All the graces that I pour out upon them flow off them as off the face of a rock. I cannot stand them, because they are neither good or bad. I called convents into being to sanctify the world through them. It is from them that a powerful flame of love and sacrifice should burst forth. And if they do not repent and become enkindled by their first love, I will deliver them over to the fate of this world ” (Diary #1702).
This is just terrible, but horribly so true. As we know those, who truly love God, have left the word and are following whatever God’s calling is for their life. (If you don’t know what God’s will is for you, please read the article “What is God’s will.”) Those who truly love God have wonderful works…as we must if we love God (cf. James 2:14-26), but plenty of souls, who serve God greatly and sacrifice much still don’t even know what a saving faith is and are tragically still blindly clinging to many sins.
If we only knew how easily the devil gets into our “good works” and makes them done from a heart of self-love, we would be very fearful and diligent, but most don’t understand and are sadly living blind walking to our doom. We just can’t see our errors.
Leaving the world and wanting to do God’s will is just the beginning of the journey towards a saving faith, that is if it is combined with a true desire to never sin again. Truly, nothing we do saves or proves we have a saving faith. Believe! We can’t read our souls. Lets leave that up to God.
Horribly, this knowledge, prayers and works of the faith, from the lost, if we don’t truly repent, only leads us to even greater suffering in Hell. (See article “Who Suffers the Most in Hell” to learn more.) So tragic!
“Few spiritual persons–even among those who think themselves most advanced [in spiritual life]–attain to a perfect resolution in well-doing [true desire to stop sinning–true sorrow for all their sins].”
–St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church (Spiritual Maxims #80)
However, those who are honest with ourselves, know it is very hard to truly surrender our desire for every sin, since we have made sin a part of our desires in life, part of who we are. The honest know, it takes bounds of grace, much of God’s mercy, to get to this point in one’s faith. Tragically so few are willing to let go of our sins or even open our eyes to the fact that we have them.
Therefore, we the faithful, need to grow in much humility and look into our souls wanting to learn the truth of our sinfulness. Please “be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour” (1 Peter 5:8) by our pride, so we stay blind and don’t correctly seek out God’s helping mercy to grow into a saving faith.
“I confess that I am scandalized to see good Catholic souls… [with] so little care of eternal salvation as to expose themselves to the danger of never seeing the face of God, and seeing forever, and feeling, the horrors of hell…what torments me most is the very little appearance they show of the true sorrow which they ought to have for the offence against God, since they take no pains to hinder it [stop their sin] in future.”
–St. Francis de Sales (Letter 23 to a Lady)
I know it is just horrible to think of ourselves, no matter where we are in our religious life, as so unholy especially if we have considered ourselves quite religious, but it is only in honest humility that we have hope.
God the Father told St. Catherine of Sienna just what kind of humble plea we need to make, a plea to God so pure that it renders the devil powerless. God said to pray like this, “[Oh, Lord] I have committed so many sins, and have hardly begun to know them with grief and true contrition.” God the Father goes on to say, “Then [after such a humble prayer] the devil, not being able to resist your humble hope in My goodness [can find no way to take you] ” (Treatise on Prayer).
This is what we all need to do to begin to find the path to Life…turn to God for help with true humility. God wants us in Heaven. He sends us His Divine Mercy and His saints to teach us, because He doesn’t want us to die but to Live. He wants to save us; we need to let Him be our Savior.
God Loves Us, But Do We Really Love Him
I have to speak about God’s love, since much deception exists in our thinking in this area too.
Oh, how much God loves us. We really have no comprehension of His love. It is beyond our understanding. Many of us see much of God’s love as He has answered many prayers, healed us and even performed us miracles.
Some have had first hand experiences, with the peace, help & grace God sends, when we truly live the faith especially during trials, and some have responded to God’s love and have decided change their entire life to truly follow Him by seeking to become a real self-sacrificing saint, while others sadly have pretty much made that wonderful experience the height of their faith and have grown no further (no growth…no life). Nonetheless, God has done so much for us; His mercy is incredible. But much of the time it is only because He is trying over and over again to lead us to the Light.
Those signs of love don’t prove we are in the state of grace–that we are saved. Sure they might be a sign we are moving in the right direction but not that we are saved. If we think this is so, it’s from our pride that we are being deceived. “He [God] makes his sun rise on the bad and the good” (Matthew 5:45).
Those blessings only proves God’s love for us as He is most likely just trying to get us to “see” His love, the power of faith–the power we have found a little–so we will continue to grow enough in faith to want to truly repent and change our entire life and truly love Him in return by seek to stop all of our sins.
How have we responded to God’s fantastic blessings towards us? Are we now truly loving Him?
We must humble ourselves. We are wretched sinners. Only by Jesus’ sanctifying grace are we saved, and we only accept His saving love from the true contrition for every sin in our hearts. Our self-righteousness must end.
Oh, we want all of God’s love, but sadly, we don’t want to trust and love Him. We beg God for mercy; we even speak about His great mercy. Amazingly, even when we don’t deserve any help from God, He gives us great grace. Then, we take His gift; some say thank you and praise God in our words, but most of us, our actions are far from that of true gratitude as we go and STAB HIM IN RETURN. Yes, we injure God greatly in return for the many graces He has bestowed upon us. Truly, I’m not being too dramatic…I can’t be dramatic enough.
Unbelievably, God gives so much love to us, trying to save us and we abuse His mercy over and over again. We don’t seek to love Him in return–we don’t honestly want to stop offending Him. We think our words of praise are love, but they are truly daggers into God’s Sacred Heart of Love, especially if our false praise comes from the souls God has chosen for doing His great deeds for the salvation of souls.
“The infidelity of a soul especially chosen by Me wounds My Heart most painfully. Such infidelities are swords which pierce My Heart. ”
–Jesus to St. Faustina (Diary # 367).
When we praise God and don’t truly desire to stop offending Him and only want to take His mercy to benefit our life, we injure God’s most Tender Heart of Love tremendously. Tragically, most only want to take God’s mercy for help in this life or to hopefully use it as a get out of jail (Hell) for free card. We don’t want to accept His grace to help us grow in more perfect love of Him (to help us to follow His will perfectly). We are self-absorbed, greatly lacking love. His heart can’t bear such pain. We don’t know how to love; we just take love. God help us!
But there are a few who love Him. “There are souls living in the world who love Me dearly. I dwell in their hearts with delight. But they are few” as Jesus said to St. Faustina (Diary # 367). And for them, the love God gives them, the great responsibilities and callings they have or their great acts of faith they partake in are from someone with a saving faith, but most of the time God’s love is only another proof of His love for us, not our love for Him.
Sadly, most never come to truly love or know God and live deceived into thinking we were righteous because we do great deeds or believe we have taken God’s mercy and are saved. Much of the time, we think our consolations we receive from God and wonders God does through us proves our righteousness too, but it doesn’t. Our pride kills us!
“’Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’” (Matthew 7:21-23).
Truly, even some people who have had supernatural experiences with God…live deceived by their pride. Beware, some of the experiences we have aren’t even from God and are just illusions from the devil to deceive our souls. The devil’s illusions (truth intermingled with lies) are only to confuse us so to lead us to our doom. We must “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1) to see if ALL is of the Truth–especially that of love of the Cross: guiding us to a life of self-sacrifice and suffering for the salvation of souls (true love of our neighbor) or we will live deceived. Every thing we do must be with the intention of promoting our neighbors salvation by Way of the cross as Christ did for us.
Sadly, some people are “trying to learn but never able to reach a knowledge of the truth [for from our pride, we don’t want to see our sinfulness so to abandon sin for Truth]” (2 Timothy 3:7)
Horribly, We Habitually Desire Sin
Sadly, like I said, we reject many of God’s Words and want to stay in many of our sins, as our constant repeated sins…even venial sins prove.
“It [venial sin] leads to mortal sin as sickness leads to death; Repetition of venial sins…weakens the fear of God, hardens the conscience, forms evil attachments and habits [which are mortal].”
–St. Ignatius of Loyola (Spiritual Exercises, on Venial Sin)
Tragically, we make confessions, deceived…our sorrow is in word alone or our sorrow is so little, it is far from true. We aren’t amending our ways by the power of God’s transforming grace; we are habitually committing them. To learn more please read, “How to Make a Good Confession?”
“Habitual sin binds down the mind, so that it cannot rise to uprightness.“
–St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church, (Catena Aurea, 13:10-17)
Truly, only “the upright are close to him” (Proverbs 3:32). However, the devil has us convinced we are being forgiven when we just show up in the confessional so we stay blind and won’t seek God’s divine mercy to grow into a truly “contrite, humbled heart” (Psalm 51:19), which can receive His transforming grace and forgiveness. Habitual sins are serious.
“He is a scoffer, not a penitent [not someone sorry for their sins], who commits what he repented of. Nor is he cleansed [forgiven] who weeps for his sins, yet does not forsake [stop] them.”
— St. Isadore of Seville, Doctor of the Church
Wonderfully though, God’s helping mercy is here to strengthen us so we can gain a saving faith. If we gain humility (knowledge of our sinfulness) and fear of the Lord, which moves us to truly desire to stop sinning and detest all our sins, then Jesus and His transforming grace, which is more fantastic than words can describe, will take away our sins…especially our habitual sins–the sins we still desire, and help us grow into a faith that can save.
However, there are so many ways we desire sin but the devil has darkened us from this understanding. Therefore, please don’t be deceived and think we don’t desire sin–that we have God’s saving grace in us–especially if we have not allowed God’s helping mercy to banish all of our habitual sins. From our pride, we would just be living blind and believing a lie, walking to our doom and taking others with us (cf. Matthew 15:14).
Honestly, if we didn’t still have some liking for our habitual sins, we would do all we can to stop them and from accepting God’s transforming grace, we would stop.
Our habitual will wouldn’t be the desire for sin, but the desire to love God…and we would show our constant love for God in our removal of all sins that we used to repeat over and over again…the sin we used to think took control of us…God, from His mercy, would have banished our desire for them as we now desire Him alone. Alleluia!
“Thanks be to God that, although you were once slaves of sin [desiring and habitually committing them], you have become obedient from the heart [desiring God, not sin] to the pattern of teaching to which you were entrusted. Freed from sin [by accepting saving grace], you have become slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:17-18).
We do need to know that habitual venial sins are permitted to exist and still receive Holy Communion if we are resolved to amend that sin and can muster our being into true contrition (to the best of our ability) right before we receive Christ…this is because the nature of the the sin is venial. However, if the habitual sin’s nature is mortal, then Holy Communion must be abstained until that habitual mortal habit ends. Please read “What sins Can I Continue to Commit and Still Receive Holy Communion?” to learn more.
Don’t be Discouraged Trust In God
If you still can’t surrender to God’s will and suffer from bounds of habitual sins, don’t become discouraged. God most certainly can take away all liking for our sins no matter how many we have, if we allow Him (cf. John 1:29). But of course we need at least have some real desire (not in word alone) to amend, working towards growing into a true desire and then growing into a true saving faith, if we want to even begin to accept some of God’s transforming grace to change.
For most, it takes much time, because we are only willing to accept just a small amount of grace (help) from God’s divine mercy. And it takes much much grace to remove our habitual desires for evil since we have made them part of our lives and personalities.
Even St. Augustine struggled greatly before he finally gained a true resolve to stop his habitual sins since he desired them very greatly. But be careful, weather we desire mortal or venial sins, we must stop them all and desire God alone.
“God has marked out for us innumerable ways of [obtaining] salvation, if we be willing to attend [use them]. Let us then attend, and let us every way cleanse out our wounds, showing mercy, remitting our anger against them that have displeased us, giving thanks for all things to God, fasting according to our power, praying sincerely. For so shall we be able to obtain pardon for our offenses”
–St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church (Homily 42 on Matthew).
If only we sought and utilized God’s great strength, obtaining salvation would be easy. However, once we seek God’s grace and finally gain enough grace to have a true desire to never sin again, everything will change and change and change. Our life will be filled with great peace, especially during great sadness and suffering, and boy will we suffer as God transforms our hard hearts into new softer hearts of love, (cf. Acts 14:21) but like I said, we will love it, knowing the good it brings. We most likely won’t even have true contrition (true hatred) for all or sadly even any of our sins, but from just wholeheartedly desiring to never sin again–God rewards us with unfathomable blessing which are beyond words to describe.
But our desire to change must be true. We must be willing to let go of the world, suffer and relent our will in order to not sin and be oh, so humble and admit our guilt clearly when we do sin, as will happen often. Then being persistent, working with God and His grace to come up with real effective resolutions so to learn how to not sin again. Finally, one day after much persistence, if we surrender perfectly to God, we will perfectly love God and follow His will the way God calls us to do like St. Theresa the Little Flower was able to do.
“Since that day [when I had made my Act of Oblation on June 9, 1895], love has surrounded me and penetrated me through and through. Moment by moment, the Merciful Love of God renews and cleanses me and leaves my heart without a trace of sin.”
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux (Story of a Soul, Ch. 8)
However, we are far from the correct path, the devil wants to deceive us around every corner to hasten our steps. Please understand, if we don’t grow in faith fast enough–gain a strong faith–from great FEAR OF THE LORD–starting with the much needed servile fear (fear of death/punishment/suffering) and then advancing to finial fear (fear of offending/losing God)–the fear we need to be saved–we simply won’t rid our life of our great desire for sin and will die an eternal death. We must “keep alert and always persevere in supplication [prayer] for all the saints [especially God’s Mother to help us]” (Ephesians 6:18). This path is hard!
However, if we are persistent and correctly seek God’s mercy–as this web site can help us learn–while working towards perfect obedience, trusting in Him to take away our liking for sin, He will save us! We will grow to hate what we once loved and embrace His divine mercy instead of rejecting it. God wants us in Heaven!
Don’t Judge Ourselves
Sure we will always sin, and sadly do what we now finally hate (cf. Romans 7:15), even if we are with God’s saving grace and don’t desire any sin any more. However, we know for sure, when we are with God’s saving grace, we will loose our desire for sin–our habitual sins will leave–and our will will be transformed into habitually desiring God alone.
Of course, we could also just be blind to what our sins are and lie to ourselves thinking we desire God and His will alone, but we would be terribly deceived. Nonetheless, when we truly love God, we don’t desire sin…any sin.
Please, since we live in a time of great pride, don’t allow the devil to deceive us and convince us we are saved so we don’t run to God to seek a saving faith. Therefore, follow apostle Paul who says “I am not conscious of anything against me [I don’t see any sin that separates me from God]” (1 Corinthians 4:4) but, “I do not even pass judgment on myself [I don’t assume I’m in the state of grace either].” (1 Corinthians 4:3).
We can’t read our souls. We can easily tell if we don’t have saving grace, unless we become over scrupulous, but we certainly can’t tell if we do. Only God “knows the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:22).
God desperately wants us to know how to be saved. Our Lord spends our lives loving us, trying to show us the Way. “He waits for our lamentations [tears]…that He may spare us those which shall be eternal…That He may pour forth His goodness….He waits for our conversion, that He may Himself restore us to grace” as St. Ambrose of Milan tells us in his Book Concerning Repentance Ch. 5, #22.
However most of us, even if we believe we are very faithful, tragically just aren’t hearing Him. We aren’t converting. Our tears, if we have any, have been proven to not be sincere…nothing but a fleeting moment of some kind of sadness. We don’t have don’t habitual true sorrow for our crimes against God, because when we accept God’s grace and keep it, our habitually desire is to change, and we do.
We Don’t Know What Sorrow Is
The mis-guided love of others has sent us running away from sorrow into self-love. Someone who doesn’t know the Way, but wants to love others might say, “If we still have guilt over our sins after we have confessed, that is from the devil.” Oh, no! What horrible guidance away from true contrition into complacency with our sins.
Guilt is the beginning of sorrow…remove our guilt, remove our hope. (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:10). Why would we not want to feel sorry for offending our most perfect Lord? Does being forgiven of our sins remove the fact that we have committed a horrible atrocity against God? No. Why would we not want to feel guilty for our sins; we are guilty and deserve Hell. Understanding this reality should help us grow in great love of God for the incredible merciful forgiveness He does give us most undeserving sinners for a life time of injuries, if only we are truly sorry for our crimes against Him…just sorrow and God forgives all (cf. Luke 7:41-50). What love!
St Alphonosus tells us, “One day her [St. Margaret of Cortona’s] [confused] confessor said to her, ‘Margaret, cease to weep; for God has pardoned thee.’ But hear what the penitent sinner answered: ‘Ah, Father, how can I think of no longer bewailing my sins, while I remember that they afflicted my dear Redeemer during the whole of his life?’” St. Alphonosus goes on to say, “My beloved Jesus, I also must have afflicted Thee during thy life by my sins. St. Margret knew how to bewail her sins and to love Thee; but when shall I begin really to bewail mine, when shall I begin really to love Thee?” (The Way of Salvation and Perfection, Meditation 95).
Great guilt–godly grief–over our sins is what the saints begged God to give them. They wanted to grow from some sorrow into perfect sorrow. But from our blindness, we run from guilt. Yet, the saints never wanted to grow so cold that they forgot the wretchedness of their life and what their sins have done. This is how we gain humility and wonderful “fear of the Lord.”
Sure some people like to bash ourselves over our sins, but that isn’t even sorrow based on offending God. That is sorrow driven from self-love–self-pity. That is from someone who is self-absorbed. Plus some may cry because we are embarrassed and humiliated we have sinned, but even atheist have this kind of sorrow when they do wrong. That isn’t sorrow for offending God, but that of self-concern. Also some may cry because we fear our sins haven’t been forgiven (perhaps we know we don’t have the true contrition yet or we don’t believe in God’s forgiving mercy if true contrition does exist).
Nonetheless, with proper guidance, that kind of low self-esteem or self-concern driven false sorrow or sorrow from fear of death, can be directed into the correct sorrow that can bring about true godly grief–true contrition–but not if we are being mis-directed away from sorrow all together. So many confessions are not even true because of many issues with sorrow. (To learn more please read “How Bad Confession Damn Us).
This true sorrow we need to be saved has two working parts to it:
- First a true resolve to stop every sin…an honest desire to change our entire life, to seek to become a real self-sacrificing saint through loving our neighbor by way of LOVE OF THE CROSS: self-denial of worldly pleasure and suffering with joy for the salvation of our neighbor’s soul, as God has commanded of us (cf. Luke 9:23). Striving with all of our heart to perfectly live the Word since we are “called to be saints” (1 Corinthians 1:2).
- Second a true hatred for sin…a disdain so great we would rather die and suffer any persecution than to commit a single sin.
“Among the penitent’s acts [the person confessing ones sins] contrition [sorrow] occupies first place [since it is needed to be saved]. Contrition is sorrow of the soul and detestation [great hate] for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin [any sin] again.” (CCC #1451)
“[Those who hate sin and seek only God’s will] would let themselves be tortured rather than be guilty of one imperfection and die a thousand deaths rather than commit sins.”
–St. Theresa of Avila (The Life of Teresa of Jesus, Ch. 15)
For sorrow to be true, it must have both parts being perfectly present, and those conditions must be present not just because we fear eternal suffering in Hell, but mostly because we can’t bear offending God whom we should be loving with all of our heart. Our sorrow must be driven from a great love for God.
Like I said before, in order to start towards gaining true sorrow for every sin, we must go from some desire to not sin into coming to have a true desire to never sin again–honestly want to become a saint.
That is the beginning of the journey towards a saving faith, which is driven from fear of the Lord (fear of sin)…starting with fear of suffering to spur us to amend, and then after we come to know God more perfectly, from the removal of sin, we can accept God’s grace, grow in love with Him and can move into a true fear of offending God: Perfect Contrition (finial love).
“For those who desire Eternal Life, a pure love detached from themselves is necessary, for it is not enough for eternal life to fly [from] sin from fear of punishment [self-love]…Sin should be abandoned because it is displeasing to Me [true-love].”
–God the Father to St. Catherine of Siena (Treatise on Discretion)
When we start moving towards a saving faith, God will enlightens us, most of us, over time, to the sins we sadly desire so we can obtain the grace to truly hate each and every one of them. The sacrament of reconciliation will start to greatly benefit us. We will go from just receiving some actual grace into receiving true healing forgiving mercy, for one sin and then another and then another. Moving into perfect forgiveness for every sin.
“The soul that is determined to strive for sanctity and to derive fruit…benefit from confession.”
–St. Faustina (Diary #56)
After greater grace is received, then we finally would rather die than commit our sins again. Wonderfully, when we obtain that kind of saving faith, we won’t have a shred of self love attached to any sin. This fantastic saving faith all comes as a gift from God’s divine mercy.
Please understand, this true hatred for sin doesn’t have a “but” attached to any sin. Like when we say, “I won’t lie, but…unless I can get out of paying some of my taxes.” Someone with a true hatred for sin, would rather die than sin, and would gladly suffer any penalty from the government than commit any deception (sin) for personal gain.
No personal gain (if someone could truly gain anything by sinning) is acceptable at the expense of offending God for those who truly hate transgressing against their Lord. Honestly, when we are truly contrite (have this sorrow habitually present in our soul), we would gladly suffer any insult, persecution, and have every kind of evil said against us falsely because of living and preaching the Truth (not sinning) (cf. Matthew 5:10-12).
Someone with true hatred for sin, doesn't seek ones own benefit and would choose to suffer anything than sin against their beloved Lord, because they finally love God above themselves.
If we are going to gain a “true belief” in Christ, that His Word is the Way, we must be honestly willing to die..suffer any cross so to live the Truth and not sin. Therefore, we need all of the guilt we can get so we can run away from sin and run to God wholeheartedly with true humility for the grace needed to obtain it. Then after we obtain it, we can advance towards Christian perfection. Praise God!
“If we are not in readiness to die into His passion [for the sake of righteousness], His life [saving grace] is not in us.”
–St. Ignatius of Antioch (Epistle to the Magnesiarns, Ch. 5 –Death is The Fate of All Such)
Much Grace During Death
Everyone has their hour that God will call us to judgement. Our entire life is preparing for this moment weather we are young or old. We must know, when someone is dying, God sends much grace to our souls, from our merits and/or prayers/sufferings of others in the hopes to save our souls.
God’s mercy is so unfathomable, even someone who has rejected Him their entire life, God will welcome him into Heaven (after he atones for his sins) if only he truly repents of his life time of crimes, with perfect contrition, at the moment of death..like the thief on the cross next to Christ did.
But the sad reality is, even though this fantastic mercy is right before us, most still reject this unfathomable grace from unknown love for sin. But it is possible that someone can be so moved, at the moment of death, especially if they are suffering greatly and still with faith, come to truly believe if God were to give them another moment to live, they would truly hate their sins so greatly, they would honestly strive with all of their heart to leave all the pleasures of the world and seek to perfect obey (love God) because now they can’t bear to offend God whom they should have spent their entire life perfectly loving and living for His will not their own.
That is why teaching someone how to obtain true contrition and praying and suffering for the dying is the greatest gift we can give to someone in their last hour….not necessarily making them comfortable but more importantly bring them the true words and prayers of everlasting life. Also of course, the sacraments of the last rights, correctly administered, are powerful and is God’s last gift to us to help soften our hearts into accepting His grace for a saving faith. To learn more please read, “Does Anointing of the Sick Forgive Mortal Sin?”
We Must Run the Race to Win?
If we want salvation we need to “persevere in running the race [to Life] that lies before us, while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Tragically, since we live in a time of great darkness…hardly anyone is guiding us to the Way correctly, and we are lost loosing the race to Life…horribly, most don’t even know we need to run it.
But even with misguidance, we can find the Way through the Catechism of the Church, the saints and the Word–our directions to Heaven (2 Timothy 3:16).
“[The guardian angel said] He will teach you all that you should do. I wish you to read in the Book of Life [Bible] in which is contained the science of love” -St. Therese of Lisieux (Quotes St. Margret Mary in The Story of a Soul).
The evil one might have stolen our “fear of the Lord”–fear of sin and its consequences–but we can regain it. He has us thinking we have already won the race–that we are saved–when we haven’t even obtained the wisdom to begin. But we can change…please, seek God’s mercy (help), with a new humble heart, and we will find the Way.
“Fear of the Lord [fear of sin] is the beginning of wisdom [the fear needed to begin the race/journey towards a saving faith]” (Proverbs 9:10).
The Race to Life:
- Before we can start the race we need: fear of the Lord-fear of sin- the beginning of wisdom (the desire to seek a saving faith). “Souls of those who are going to converse with wisdom [gain knowledge of the Way] are first purified through the fear of God” St. Basil the Great (Homily on the Beginning of Proverbs),
- The first step in finding the path for the race is to: gain some desire to perfectly obey (a real want to stop sinning & loose all attachments–even if isn’t yet true, but it must be beyond word alone) “Whoever wishes to ascend to God must first avoid sin” as St Bonaventure instructs (The Souls Journey to God, Ch. 1),
- The next step is: humility —learn our sinfulness–so we know what to change and can open our heart to accepting grace. “[We] must above all else strive to cultivate humility” as St. Francis of Sales teaches (The Introduction to the Devout Life Part 3 Ch. 1) so we don’t die blind,
- Then to succeed, we must: persist in seeking the Light (as I have listed below) so we “may grow into salvation” (1 Peter 2:2) and to obtain the strength, knowledge and wisdom to run well and win.
To obtain true fear (wisdom), true desire to amend, true humility and everything else we need to win the race, we need to start desiring to run the race, like I said, with, at least, some of all of the above qualities or we won’t go towards the path of Life and never even find the difficult road to Heaven.
“In truth it [the Way] is so very narrow, much narrower than you think…He [Jesus] teaches us that the soul that will enter in by the gate of Christ, which is the beginning of the road, must first of all constrain itself [from sin], and detach the will from things of time and sense, loving God above them all.”
–St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church (The Second Night of the Spirit, Ch. 7)
After seeking God’s grace and gaining a true desire in the above steps we will finally let go of our will and say “Ok, God, I’m truly going to give my life to You. I’m going to stop my sins. Every day I will work to remove one more attachment, one more sin…through your help, I’m going to become a saint.”
When this happens, we will seek to rid our life of the desire for all pleasures: things/comfort, people/praise, and even spiritual consolations, which also keeps us from desiring God alone-His will. We will work giving 110% like a true Olympian with a fantastic fear of sin, knowing our dreaded sinfulness, burning for the “Crown of Life” (James 1:12) out of great love for God.
You must not only cease to sin but you must also purify your heart of all affection [liking] for sin [that is the goal–perfection].”
–St. Francis of Sales (Introduction to the Devout Life, Ch 1., #7)
But before we begin to find the path of Life, we must acknowledge that we aren’t doing our best to avoid sin nor are we correctly seeking God to obtain a saving faith, since we haven’t even humbled ourselves enough to accept God’s transforming grace to even remove our habitual sins, which is clear proof that we still habitually desire–have an affection for–sin. For now let that be our enlightenment to our misery to help motivate us to want to change…and gain true humility.
Even though things look grim and we might be full of grief, praise God! From His goodness, He has enlightened our minds (cf. Ecclesiastes 1:18). Sure we might have been happier living deceived, but who cares if our eternity will be in the flames of Hell. Having false happiness for a moment so we can live an eternity in great anguish is not love or real happiness. What a gift it is to grow in some knowledge of the truth. Now there is true hope and a chance to grow in true happiness.
The truth is the Way and there is so much more to learn. If we have been deceived as to the Way, we are being deceived in many aspects of life/faith; we just don’t know it yet. But for now, run the race as to win. God’s unfathomable divine mercy grace is waiting to assist us in the battle to win the race. He will show us the Way, if we really want to see.
“If sinners knew My mercy [help], they would not perish in such great numbers. Tell sinful souls not to be afraid to approach Me; speak to them of My great mercy [which is waiting to help us save our souls no matter how far from God we are]…The loss of each soul plunges Me into mortal sadness” –Jesus to St, Faustina, (Diary # 1396, #1397).
To succeed in the race we must:
- Read the Word daily, not just to read it, but pray it and sincerely want to live ALL of it, looking for our failures to obey (2 Timothy 3:16-17),
- Strive with all of our heart to avoid the slightest sin like it is poison..(Proverbs 23:31-32),
- Associate with people that are striving for true holiness (2 Timothy 3:1-5),
- Live to love and serve others for the salvation of souls in every thought, word and deed, like Christ has done for us., (
- Pray throughout our day, especially at 3:00 pm (the hour Jesus died) and the Rosary, truly meaning what we say, making time for dedicated prayer, striving for unceasing prayer,
- Really fast (sacrifice things we like..not just food), offer up our suffering for our sins and the sins of the world, striving to make everything a sacrifice,
- Seek the Mother of God, the saints and angels assistance (pray for their help and read the books of the saints…stay away from other books, they mean well but there is so much mis-guidance and/or omission of the essentials to a saving faith),
- Contemplate God’s passion and the consequence of sin,
- Learn what is a sin (please don’t assume we know this especially if we lacked the wisdom to know how to obtain a saving faith),
- Honestly examine our conscience daily (look at our thoughts, words and deeds to see where we have sinned; ask God to teach us our sinfulness we are blinded to especially the ones we desire),
- Repent daily after all sin, and confess (learn how to make a true confession) at least weekly or better or even monthly, if that is the best we can do, before a priest in the sacrament of reconciliation and receive the grace to help us amend and gain true sorrow for all our sins and be forgiven,
- Make real resolutions to stop the sin,
- Implement our resolutions into our life and modify them until we gain success in riding the sin,
- Praise God for ALL He allows to happen in life (even horrible things); it is all for a reason (good); therefore, trust, learn and change towards perfection,
- Practice great penance for our sins (to learn more please read “Why true penance is needed to be saved”),
- Attend Mass daily, or at least on Sunday,
- If our desire to amend is now truly sincere–we truly want to become a saint–receive the Holy Eucharist during the Mass for wonderful enlightenment, help and to grow in love with God (to learn more please read, “What Sins Can I Continue to Commit and Still Receive Holy Communion?”),
- Live for God and His will alone…loving and trusting in Jesus to save us through the Cross which is the Way.
Make a plan to do all of these perfectly. Start by taking small steps, doing something we have the strength/grace to do. Then change and grow daily. If we move too fast or desire something which is too big for us, since we still lack grace, we will fall (and perhaps backwards) and maybe even become discouraged (cf. ). To learn how to do any of these well please see the rest of this web-site and the other references on this site for further instruction.
Why the Catholic Church is the Surest Way to Salvation.
“Among the penitent’s acts [the person confessing their sins] contrition [sorrow] occupies first place [since it is needed for salvation]. Contrition is sorrow of the soul and detestation [hate] for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again [to become a saint]” (CCC #1451).
What the Saints Say
“All are called to holiness [this is obedience to God and needed for eternal life]: ‘Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect [must be our goal].’ In order to reach this perfection the faithful should use the strength dealt out to them by Christ’s gift [His grace], so that . . . doing the will of the Father in everything, they may wholeheartedly devote themselves to the glory of God [live for God] and to the service of their neighbor. Thus the holiness of the People of God will grow in fruitful abundance, as is clearly shown in the history of the Church through the lives of so many saints” (CCC #2013).
Our Lady of Fatima
“I am the Lady of the Rosary, I have come to warn the FAITHFUL to amend their lives and ask for pardon for their sins. They must not offend Our Lord any more, for He is already too grievously offended by the sins of men. People must say the Rosary. Let them continue saying it every day [for my help].”
God wants you in Heaven. Hear Him crying out pleading for you to repent and change. He gave you your life to live for Him. Don’t reject Him. Come embrace His loving mercy. It is waiting for you. He will take away your sins, if you only allow Him. Let go of the world and live for Jesus. Eternity is forever!