Hell is real. If only someone would have guided me away from my sins…I was too blind to see the truth on my own. I needed someone to open my eyes. Where were Christ’s disciples? I rejected God’s saving grace by living life how I thought was best. I didn’t truly live the Word, and I ignored so many of God’s commands…and now I’m damned.
Oh, how many people have never even heard the truth…that we must live the faith to be saved by the faith?
Sadly some people don’t even realize Hell is spoken about clearly in the Bible many times as a consequence of our unrepentant sins. From the deception of the evil one, many people don’t understand or don’t want to understand that Hell is most possible and eternal…that it’s never ending and something we choose if we still desire any sin at all (aren’t truly sorry for the slightest sin) upon our death. Yes, Hell is waiting for those who reject God’s saving mercy because they still prefer some horrid sin over God’s love. Without growing in faith to truly detest every sin (receive complete forgiveness), by obtaining a saving faith, we loose Eternal Life and choose eternal suffering instead.
“These will go away into eternal punishment” (Matthew 25:46).
Infinite Injury of a Single Sin
The topic of real suffering in Hell upsets a lot of people. I completely understand. We like to think God is so merciful that there aren’t any consequences for our sins. Or we feel our sins really aren’t so bad, and the punishment of an eternity in the fires of Hell seems far too harsh for how we view our crimes against God. We simply don’t properly understand mercy, justice, or the infinite injury we inflict upon Perfect Goodness with even one of our least sins. The expression “oh, its just a venial sin,” we declare as we try to justify our sins as not so bad, sends daggers into God’s Heart, especially if those words come from His faithful, who should know how to love Him. Truly, the injury from the least of our sins is beyond our comprehension. Didn’t the whole human race suffer the loss of Heaven—and gain the inclination to do evil—through just one single sin committed by Adam and Eve?
Yet, somehow, we think our sins aren’t a cause for concern. The saints trembled at the thought of offending their Lord. “We shall never, during this life, be able fully to comprehend the entire malice even of a venial sin” (St. Alphonsus, Doctor of the Church). But we don’t even try to stop or half-heartedly put forth some weak effort. We might see that our life is far from what God desires, but we don’t believe enough to make a real effort to change. Where is our love for God? Where is our true belief? We need to think again, as even having a willful desire to commit just one sin, ignoring just one command, makes us deserving of Hell. Yes, even one sin is infinitely offensive to Our Creator. Wanting to cause any affliction upon Perfect Goodness is deplorable, and when we want to sin (don’t work to stop) we are choosing to cause affliction upon Perfect Goodness Himself with a mortal desire. It is only by God’s mercy that any of us are kept out of Hell. We are wretched creatures. With haste, we must seek out the merciful help of Our Beloved Lord. He wants to save us from ourselves so we can be with Him for all of eternity in Heaven.
“When the Lord saw how great the wickedness of human beings was on earth, and how every desire that their heart conceived was always nothing but evil, the Lord regretted making human beings on the earth, and his heart was grieved” (Genesis 6:5-6).
God’s Mercy Saves
Wonderfully though, even though we sin horribly, God does love us. And for that we should be very grateful. Because of the Eternal Father’s great love for us, He did not allow all of mankind to die in its sins. Through His infinite mercy, He sent His prophets to help guide us and finally He sent His only begotten Son to save us undeserving souls by restoring our sanctifying (saving) grace and teaching us the Way to Heaven. Tragically, because of our weakened nature, we rejected God’s magnificent sanctifying grace, He died to give us, the first time we understood right from wrong and willfully desired to sin and for most of us that was at a young age. Wanting to offend Our Creator, not seeking to stop, is a mortal sin against Him. We can’t desire to offend Our God in any way. That is a terrible crime. We must hate all of our sins, not want to commit them. Sadly for most of us, we desire our will (what we want), not God’s will. Truly surrendering our will for God’s will–by the way of the cross and obedience, isn’t what we desire.
We simply don’t want to obey, and it starts at a very early age in life. However, after we fall from our weakness and loose our state of grace, we are supposed to hear God calling us to repent and change and decide to become reborn in Christ. Yes, after our sacramental baptism of water and the Spirit, we are supposed take God’s actual (helping) grace He is delivering us and choose to leave the world and follow Christ, so we can learn how to re-obtain the Spirit of God within us. If we haven’t been deceived, we should be constantly converting and grow from infants, with an immature faith, and through God’s nurturing milk (grace), into a mature saving faith, that doesn’t want to sin at all (truly hates all sin) and accepts God’s merciful saving grace back into our souls. This should be all Christians’ goal. And for most of us, even after we hear God’s call and finally decide we want to leave the world and all of its pleasures to seek salvation by living to know, serve, and love God, letting go of our will–the sins we desire–takes much time and great effort because we have made sin (selfishness) part of our lives and habits.
St. Ignatius of Antioch, who was a direct disciple of the apostle John, explains his journey towards a saving faith: “Now as a prisoner [for Christ but still in sin] I am learning to give up my own wishes [my will]… I am more and more trained in [correct] discipleship [following Christ by carrying my cross] by their ill-usage [poor treatment] of me, but I am not therefore justified [not yet with a saving faith].”
Tragically, for most of us, we never get to that point in life to where we even honestly want to leave the world and spend all of our time working to know, serve and love God perfectly–seeking a saving faith like St. Ignatius. We just don’t want to obey–not fully–and we continue falling for the incitements of this world, going to the them for “happiness,” because we haven’t committed to truly growing towards salvation–sincerely seeking to really love God above all and desire only Him. Some might even hear these words I’m writing and agree we need to change, but our faith is so week, we simply continue in our daily routine, altering nothing…changing nothing, and gaining nothing. Or from our lack of correct or true efforts to obtain God’s help (grace), we simply live as “hearers only, deluding yourselves” (James 1:22). We might be praying and doing many works for God, but sadly many still love some of our sins, because we don’t make a true effort to stop them. And it only takes one small sin that we don’t truly hate and we reject God’s saving mercy for that sin. Yet, most don’t realize we are not waking around in the state of grace (saved), since the presumption of salvation has consumed this generation. The saints knew their lukewarm lives–not surrendering their all to love God at all moments of their life, not truly striving to live the faith–deserved Hell, but today, the evil one has convinced us we are saved by just declaring ourselves as Christians or claiming in word alone, “we are doing our best” or because we are such “good” people, we are deserving of Heaven from our works.
“Woe to me if I should prove myself but a halfhearted soldier in the service of my thorn-crowned Captain” (St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen).
Sadly, to keep us complacent with our injuries we inflict upon God, the devil has tricked most of us into thinking we are saved by one reason or another–convincing us we know the state of our soul. Yet, that isn’t a saving faith and we certainly can’t read our souls. God can be doing much good though us, and we can be feeling and experiening His love but we can be dead in our soul too. We feel God’s love because He is trying to save us. He loves us, but that doesn’t mean we truly love Him. Works don’t save, feeling God’s love for us doesn’t save…Jesus’ sanctifying grace saves. And the lack of true sorrow for one sin kills. We need to grow into a saving faith that truly believes in God as the Way (who we follow Him to be saved), and we prove our true belief by our actions as we continuously become more like Christ and grow into a horrid detestation for all sin (true sorrow) when we fail. “Long for pure spiritual milk [God’s grace] so that through it you may grow into salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). We are not an instant correct follower of Christ the moment we decide Jesus is Lord; nor do we have perfect contrition (perfect/ture sorrow) for our sins the instant we realize we are offending God by our sins. We need to grow into this kind of faith that saves. Are we growing? What are we really longing for? Are we growing fast enough from our stouthearted faith to obtain a saving faith that receives the crown of Life? Or will we never make it there from our lack of wholehearted desire to repent and change?
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through [loving the obeying] me” (John 14:6).
To embrace God’s sanctifying grace, we need more than to just know Jesus is Lord and to have good works, we must wholeheartedly work to follow Christ—to obey His every Word—and hate all of our sins against our Beloved Lord when we fail to listen to Him. Saying we believe in Christ, with a saving belief, is saying we believe in Christ as the Way, who we have to follow to be saved, since it is our sins that are killing us. We must learn how to follow Him correctly so He can take away our deadly offences. Just one mortal sin (serious sin) like the ones listed in the Word or being unconcerned with any sin–being unresolved to stop any wrong–rejects Eternal Life from our proven still love for sin. How much of the Word do we ignore thinking those sins are just the way we are? Truly, we can live life doing much good for others, but if we still hold on to just one sin, we still choose to loose it all. We can’t love both God and sin. We can’t be complacent with a single one of our wrongs (mortal or venial)—by denying God in His Word (Himself) by not seeking to obey if we want to restore and keep God’s saving grace within our souls. “[For] whoever denies me [any of my Words] before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father” (Matthew 10:33). We must love God–all of God–and hate ALL sin.
“These [who sin without repenting] will go away into eternal punishment” (Matthew 15:46).
Wonderfully, from God’s love, because of the incarnation (when God became man), we can now obtain much actual grace (helping grace), actually an abundance of help, so we can learn how to sincerely hate what we love (sin) and restore our saving grace we received at baptism through the forgiveness of our sins. “If we confess our sins [with true hatred for our sins], he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness [restore our saving grace]” (1 John 1:9). From God’s mercy, He shows us exactly how to obtain the true sorrow we need for all of our sins so to restore His saving grace. God wants us saved. We simply have to obey Him to get there. We must fully understand it is God’s mercy that saves. We are deserving of Hell. Wonderfully though, through God’s unfathomable love for us, He tolerates our constant abuse in order to try to bring us to Life. Lets follow Him to Eternal Bliss.
“God hates nothing so much as when you know you have sinned but do not care” (St Bridget of Sweden).
What loving father isn’t a father of mercy and justice? Even our own earthly fathers give us consequences for our actions—in order to teach us right from wrong—in the hope that we will learn to make right choices. Then mercifully, when we inevitably fail, they take us back over and over again as they try to show us the way to a good life. We may very well persist in our wrongdoing and refuse to change our ways. When that happens, our earthly fathers have no other choice than to let us go. They cannot make us do good, since we have free will. God respects that will too. We can choose to follow Him or not.
The Father did not allow His Son to die for us so we could abuse His mercy and sin without care for our injury towards Him and His Sacred Heart, and think all the while that His mercy would save us. No. That attitude—that lack of love for God—rejects His mercy. It is a mortal attitude to not hate to offend Our Creator. “Hate all false ways” (Psalm 119:114). God wants us to run to Him with a truly sorrowful heart, and seek His mercy (help) so we can change from our sinful ways. “Repent, therefore, and be converted [grow in holiness], that your sins may be wiped away [stopped]” (Acts 3:19). Wanting to grow in our faith to where we come to hate all our sins we once desired is how we open our souls to receive His help, so one day our saving grace can be restored. When we have a true desire to change from our sinful ways, we will be willing to leave all the empty promises and pleasures of this world behind so we can live for God and His will alone like the Word tells us to. Wanting to stay in sin and expecting Eternal Life is only wishing to abuse God’s mercy, and it won’t lead to Heaven.
“‘Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?…You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’ He replied to him, …’do this and you will live.'” (Luke 10:25-28).
Growing in Holiness
If we really want Heaven we will not pursue the world, but God, and we will be growing in virtue (goodness). The key word is “growing.” We won’t simply do holy things and then think we are saved all the while remaining lukewarm, staying in our sinful ways, like most do. No, we won’t continue to worry and despair (lack trust in God) when things go wrong or argue and complain (be self-willed) when things don’t go as we desire. No, when we sincerely want Heaven and to please God, we will be changing and growing in wonderful virtue. Our sinful ways will be leaving. Those truly on the path of life are growing. Yes, they are constantly changing, from their constant removal of sin, into the image of their Creator.
“Therefore let us go on toward perfection, leaving behind the basic teaching about Christ [and growing in perfect holiness]” (Hebrews 6:1).
Desire God Alone
Now, this is important. Did you really hear what I just wrote a moment ago? If we want to find the path of Life, to stop offending God, and to become holy, God wants us to LEAVE the pleasures of the world, sacrifice them, remove our desire for them, and DESIRE HIM alone. The problem is because many of us don’t have a lot of material possession we feel we don’t desire the world, but that just isn’t true. The problem is not in what we have, even though what we have can cause of much of our problems, you see, someone can live in a palace and not desire the world. But the problem is in our hearts, as we still desire the much of world. We might not have much, but we wish we did. And if we have much, we wish we had more. Most, still want the vacation, a better spouse & friends, a nicer house, a better job, the next technology, a better car, more praise, more knowledge (for self-glory), greater toys, a more attractive appearance, more worldly fun, a better family, better kids, more respect, greater success, more money, etc. Oh, I could go on forever. Most of the time, having those things ins’t the problem, it is our desire to use them for personal gain, not really for the service of God, which is the issue. We might even say, “I use my money to serve God,” and we might use some of it some times, but are we really using all for God’s honor and Glory or is some for self-gain (the devil’s works). Everything we do must be for the honor and glory of God–doing the Lord’s will–or it is for the evil one. We are to be slaves of God doing His will, not self-willed servants doing our own will for our personal gain. God will take care of us when we truly live for His will alone. Those things and pursuits of the world, what ever they many be, that we desire that isn’t to help us know, serve and love God, that have any other motive must be stopped. They are the sins we love. We can’t do things to grow in wealth, stature and pleasure. Those things are keeping us from loving Our Lord and keeping us from salvation. Desiring them, just one of them, rejects saving grace. We must desire God alone and His will only. God didn’t create us to desire anything that is opposed to what He wants for our life. Wanting something other than to know, love and serve God is greatly offensive to Him. Truly desiring anything that rejects the cross and seeks a more comfortable life, that isn’t for the purpose to know, serve and love God is very offensive to God. The cross is the way to Christ. Sadly most have been deceived so greatly, we see the lives the saints chose as not something we want. We have become so darkened by that dreaded devil, we don’t even know that those things we desire are in fact great sins.
“But what is my [Jesus’] will, except that you should want to love Me above all things and not desire anything but Me” (Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweden).
We must desire Him alone. Why would we want to desire those things if desiring a better earthly life, opposed to His will, is offensive to God. Don’t we love God? Or do we not really care if we are offending Him as long as we hope to get what we want? God wants us to be grateful for what we have, and be very careful that we don’t do or want anything that isn’t to love Him. God wants us to grow in holiness and spend our time and thoughts in pursuit of that, not in an easier, more fun life for ourselves. We are alive to love Him above all by carrying our crosses united with Him. “Those who try to make their life secure [comfortable and better] will lose it, but those who lose their life [who loose their desire for a better life] will keep it” (Luke 17:33). Do we really believe the Word? Are we willing to change? Do we believe there is greater joy when we give it all up for God? Truly, when we pursue growing in worldly comfort, success, obtaining our will, etc., when we desire what ever we think will make us happier on this earth, if it isn’t truly for the purpose to know, love and serve God better, if we don’t repent and chance, we loose salvation because of those disordered attachments. We must seek to repent and change from those sinful ways. Every moment we give our time to growing in the world, is just one more moment we take from growing in love with God. Yet, we are alive to love of Him. “O God, you are my God—it is you I seek! For you my body yearns for you my soul thirsts” (Psalm 63). If we don’t burn within ourselves to know, serve and love God, that is because we still desire the world and at least one of its pleasures and not God alone. Desiring just one pleasure can be so distracting and ruin our thirst for God, we must loose it all. The more we desire of the world, the less we will desire God. Desiring something that isn’t pleasing to God is most certainly a sin and if we don’t desire to stop it, it becomes mortal.
“Let nothing else please us and cause us delight except our Creator, Redeemer and Savior, the only true God…“Let us desire nothing else, let us want nothing else [except God]” (St. Francis of Assisi).
Attachment to Family and Friends
Most of us can’t live without our family and friends; we are so attached to them as we run to them for support when this go wrong and some even feel we would die without them. We yearn for a better relationship and more time with them well above God. Sadly many forfeit growing in our relationship with God because of our attachment with our friends and family. We focus on pleasing them thinking that is what God wants us to do, and of course we are supposed to take care of our family and friends, but for many, our hearts have become deceived. We love them because we like how we feel when they love us in return. We like how it feels to make others happy. This is why atheists love their family and friends too. They love because they like how it feels to do good and receive love in return. They don’t love for the honor and glory of God. They also want to be seen as good, feel like they are good, and like the perks of doing good. If we have been tricked and love with a deceived heart, as many of us have, we loose site on God and His true will for us. We then crave our family and friends to bring us the happiness God alone is supposed to provide. However, when our bodies yearn for happiness and when we find it in God, we can’t stop wanting more of Him. Instead of running to family first when things go wrong, we fall on our knees and consult with God. We will stop running to others for comfort, we will run to Him….His love is unfathomable, far better than the build up words of our friends, which much of the time are leading us away from the truth. Sure having friends and family is wonderful as God can use them to help us in our journey especially when we are in the beginning of finding a saving faith, but eventually if we are walking towards the path of Life correctly, as we grow in faith, we will not want them any more just God alone. We will grow to desire only Him and not feel lonely but enveloped with His constant love. I’m not saying we won’t have friends and family but we simply won’t “need” them to feel whole…all we will need is God. He will become our everything.
“Despise this world. O world, since I do not know the hour when I must leave you, I will no longer set my hear on you. My dear friends, my dear relations [family], let me no longer love you except with a holy friendship [so I won’t become attached]” (St. Francis de Sales).
If we leave the world and all of its pleasures so we can come to know, serve and love God, then God, through His great mercy, He will shower our souls with fantastic grace, so we can grow into a saving faith that gains true sorrow for all of our sins, accepts His sanctifying grace and is saved. But we must first want to leave all of the things we desire that are not for the honor and glory of God first and want to stop all of our sins, to even begin on the journey towards a saving faith. Without these two desires, we haven’t even begun. Yes, even if we have been involved in our faith, growing in knowledge and doing many works for God, if we don’t truly desire to learn how to let go of the world and do all for God and desire to become a saint (to stop sinning), we honestly have even begun to walk on the path towards Life. We have been deceived. We simply can’t open up our souls to receive much of God’s helping grace when we still desire to have our souls filled with all of the pleasures of this world and desire to cling to our sins. We must want to leave it all. We don’t have to leave it all to begin the journey, but we must desire to leave it all eventually and spend every day learning how to correctly do it. Then after we obtain more grace, and work to remove our attachments and sins, little by little all that we desire that isn’t to know, serve, love God will leave along with our sinful behaviors, choices and habits as we grow towards a saving faith.
Do All for God
Are we working to stop offending God? Have we left the world and all of its empty promises and live completely for God? “Him alone shall you serve” (Luke 4:8). That is obedience to the Word? If not, then today are we willing to work towards stopping our sins and leaving all that we love in the world over God and abandon everything that keeps us from knowing, serving and loving Him? Are we really willing to do that? Are we willing to give up our sports, TV, hobbies, socializing with friends, dining out, internet, nice clothes, electronics, laziness, selfishness, seeking praise, wanting things our way (our will),…whatever we do or want, and there are a billion things, that isn’t honestly for the honor and glory of God? Are we willing to little by little remove it all? “Whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:23). This is obedience to God. This is living the faith.
We need to be really honest with our selves to even begin to know why we do what we do so to see our true intentions. If we are not willing to let go of all that is sinful, we are intentionally disobeying the Word, intentionally offending God, intentionally not living the faith, and if we have no honest working desire to change from any sin even the smallest venial sin, those sins are now mortal from our desire for sin, since desiring to sin–desiring to offend God–is a mortal desire. If we love those things or our sins above wanting to give all of our life to Our Creator, we reject salvation.
“[A] venial [sin]…becomes mortal,” when someone “fix[es] one’s end in that venial sin [has no desire to amend]” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church)
Let Go of the World
Sadly, as you know, few are really working to stop all of their sins as many still want to give some of our life to the world (the devil) and prefer many of their sins. As a result so few are saved since we are refusing God’s saving grace from loving our sins. “The whole world is under the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19); we must run from the world. Loving–desiring anything that isn’t holy–desiring just one thing that isn’t for the purpose of knowing, serving and loving God, chooses an eternity of suffering instead of God’s saving love. “Be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct” (1 Peter 1:15). We must repent and let go of our sins and those things of the word to come into a true faith in Jesus that embraces God’s saving mercy. These are the true saving words of Life. This is really hard to do. But with God’s grace, removing our attachments is very possible and in time it will eventually, as you receive more grace, become easy. Yes, we will one day easily give it all up for the love of God. We simply won’t want the world or our sins any more. Truly I tell you, we must leave our sins and the world and desire God alone–who is our true happiness–to be saved. There is no other way to Eternal Life. “God put us in the world to know, to love, and to serve him, and so to come to paradise [Heaven]” (CCC #1721).
“Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:1516).
Follow the Saints
Didn’t the saints strive to be perfect, to stop sinning, and leave the things of this world to peruse God? Is it wise to follow a different path than what the saints followed? Of course not. God gave us the saints as examples of what the correct interpretation of the Word is. God gave them much wisdom so we may follow their examples. Are we wholeheartedly working to emulate the saints in all that we do or do we come up with some excuse to continue life how we think is best. Choosing something else leads to Eternal Ruin. We must be motivated—and stay motivated—to be successful at following Him. Daily, we must make a sincere, wholehearted effort to live the Gospel, to change or we simply don’t desire to follow Jesus to Heaven. If we don’t change, we lack belief and true sorrow for our sins, which rejects saving grace. This is not easy or comfortable, and takes complete determination, because we are fighting for our lives against the devil who is strong.
Fear of the Lord
The realities of Hell are too utterly horrific to fathom. As the saints say, we lose any love we do have for God, hate God, desire nothing good, and are punished in torment, based upon our sinfulness, forever. “They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth” (Matthew 15:42). How awful! And to realize that this is something we blindly choose makes it even worse. Yet, as tragic as this reality is, running from reality leads only to our doom. People don’t want to deal with reality. Reality stresses us out, so we try to block it from our minds in order to live stress-free lives. The devil even convinces us we are loving others by keeping them outside of fear. The evil one has been so successful in removing, “fear of the lord” (servile fear- fear of sin and its consequences) that so few possess it. This “gift from God”, as St. Aquainus says, which is needed to be saved, so to move us into finial fear (holy fear), has been practically removed from our midst.
Some will be blessed to have been given fear of the Lord and are on the verge of gaining imperfect contrition for their sins (sorry for offending God out of fear of suffering) which for most is the beginning of wisdom, as it finally gets someone to take their sins seriously and want to stop. However from the misguided love of another, they are told over and over again that surely God is pleased with them because of their prayers and works, trying to remove their fear of suffering from their sins. We want to comfort others and the devil has us so confused we comfort people away from eternal life. Prayers and works don’t save. Contrition saves. Fear saves. This misguidance strips people of the chance of gaining some form of real contrition. It is utterly tragic. They weren’t guided to Christ’s healing love in the sacrament of reconciliation. They were brought to trust in themselves and their good works to save themselves (self-righteousness) and not Jesus’ mercy. Someone was given such a great gift of fear, to help save their soul, that could have been used to move their soul, like the thief on the cross, into true sorrow (perfect contrition), but it was removed by the wrongful guidance of another. How sad! I believe this is the greatest cause of our blindness and the death of so many—the misguidance of others.
Over and over again I hear others, who have hearts of love (but misguided love), tell one another, don’t worry God loves you when they are trying to help them, which is true, God love us. But they use that expression of love as an excuse to sin. They don’t GUIDE THEN AWAY FROM THEIR SINS that are killing them. They might say something about their wrong choices, but not what is necessary for them to really hear the truth. They are so vague, so as to not “upset” them or have them upset with themselves, that they never really help them and offend God instead and help lead them to their doom. Where is the care for others eternal life and love for God? God wants His children saved and wants to use us to save them.
What is most tragic of it all is, most NEVER tell others about how to be saved and what are the real consequences of desiring sin (sinning mortally). The devil has us so blind. God sends us someone to save, and we leave them blind or, from our blindness, we even steer them further onto the path of death by telling them wrongful guidance. Some say, “it is ok…God understands” when others are suffering from the consequences of their sins or they are told to “go out and have fun…you deserve it” when they can’t carry their cross and are suffering in despair. Sin is not OK, with God. If offends Him. Sure God understands why we have sinned and He forgives us, that is if and only if we are truly sorry meaning we sincerely hate that sin and will do all we can to see we come to stop committing that sin. God doesn’t want us to sin and wants us to help others stop their crimes against Him and to help others to gain a true love for Him. Only then are we able to accept God’s forgiveness into our hearts. God is waiting to forgive us, but we must be wholeheartedly sorry we have offended Him, not sorry because we have ruined our or someone elses life, but mostly sorry for offending God by our great sinfulness. That is true sorrow.
Telling others something nice just to help them feel accepted, loved and to feel “happy” which doesn’t speak the truth and guide them away from their sins, or encourage them to remove their attachments or help them to carry their cross, is not truly loving them. We must lead others to a life of change that leads to Eternal Bliss, or we have fallen into the devils trap and failed to truly love them. We might make other feel happy and love, but if we are leading them to death, what have we really done?
Much of the time we mistakenly support others sins, and justify them so they will not feel guilt (upset). The devil has confused us as to what truly loving others is. But there is nothing more harmful. “For godly grief [guilt] produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief [sorry for worldly reasons] produces death [no true repentance]” (2 Corinthians 7:10). In this generation, people mostly justify others sins, to make them feel loved, with the sexual sins we suffer with, that the Word most clearly say are “shameless acts” (Romans 1:26-32) and we tend to justify others sins of anger–unforgivenness–by not loving like Jesus loved in return when injustices have seemingly been done against another.
Others mistakenly encourage people to focus on removing their cross (suffering) by promoting worldly fun or other worldly distractions, when much grace is available to them through the cross if only someone loved them enough to help them learn how to gain the grace needed to carry their cross for even more unfathomable blessings. We should be teaching others how they need to carry their cross, learn from their cross, and trust in God to make all good, when and how He wills, so they can grow into a life of true peace. Peace is found through truly trusting in God. This is what we are called to do–guide others to Life and the Way of peace through growing in true trust in God through the magnitude of grace available in the Church.
We need to guide souls to the true faith that is lived. What are we doing to save souls? If we don’t have the grace to speak, or our recipient doesn’t want to hear, Lifting Our Values.com has provided us many different materials with the true words of Eternal Life that we can give out, in which God can use to soften hearts and save lives. We are called to be disciples.
If we don’t continually tell people that they need to grow into a saving faith and exactly what that is, the devil will jump in with the next worldly pleasure we partake in and cause most of us, from our weak faith, to desire that pleasure and lose much or all focus and motivation to truly seek to sin no more, and many will be right back onto the path of complacency with our sinful ways from just one distraction. We need constant gentle reminders of the consequences of sin and our need to repent and change from all sin and attachments to stay focused on the crown of Life. But tragically most have been caught into the devils trap, and we comfort others by telling them not to fear, but trust in God’s mercy so to bring them peace. But that is blindful/temporary peace since they continue to reject God’s saving mercy with their continued unrepentant sinfulness, thinking they are trusting but rather it nothing but vain thoughts.
Much of the time, our friends or the ones we are trusting to guide us to the Light are leading us and keeping us on the path of darkness. We must pray and pray much for our guides. We falsely trust in God’s mercy, when our hearts still reject His mercy from our desire to sin. We say and think we trust in God, when we have real trust at all. Without it, we reject God’s saving love. We must trust in God to be saved. Until we turn to God and truly work towards following Him correctly, anything else is trusting in ourselves and the way we think we need to live as the correct way, not God and His path to Eternal Life. We must learn how to abandon our will and live for God’s will, obtaining the grace to really trust in Him, tin order to be saved. If only these poor, misguided souls, who guide others incorrectly, really knew how accountable they are to God for leading others into Hell, they would surely change. Oh, it just makes me want to cry. If we can hear, we need to pray and pray for those who still can’.
Real Trust in God
What sense is it to pray “Jesus, I trust in You” but live in despair when things go wrong and think we have faith. We might have some faith, but not a true faith that leads to true trust in God. We are deceived. We say, “I trust in Jesus” when things go as we like, we act like people of great faith when all is to our liking, but when God sends us a cross (someone treats us poorly, our children do something very wrong, we loose our job or home, we become gravely ill, someone we love dies, etc.), these test’s God sends us to help us grow in holiness, and to see if our faith is true, we crumble in anger or despair. When bad happens, we are all upset crying and complaining to our friends for help because we don’t have the faith to rejoice in our crosses and happily carry our sufferings united with Christ.
People suffer such blindness as to who they are, even as people are in great worry and frustration, great panic and anger, they say, “I trust in God, He will make it all good.” Then I ask, if we are really trusting in God, why are we in such distress? Those aren’t actions that prove our true trust in God. They prove we don’t trust. Words are meaningless if our actions don’t prove them to be true. The devil can have us living in constant lies as to the true faith we really have. This lack of humility and inability to recognize and admit our own weakness renders souls greatly blind. God is clearly showing us we don’t have the faith we declare or think we do. We might want to be holy and have spent our life trying to be holy, but our lack of faith is blatantly obvious if we would only look to see. God wants us to see ourselves for who we are, not for who we pretend to be, so we can repent, change and be saved. The devil has deceived us and we are lying to ourselves thinking we are greatly faithful, when in fact we need much grace to gain a faith that sincerely trusts in God.
Those who presume we are saved because we are faithful from our prayers, attending daily Mass and works, are the ones most certainly suffering with much blindness. I know this can be hard to believe because we have fallen so deeply into the trap of self-righteousness, but I promise you that just isn’t so. Sure someone with a saving faith can have those qualities, but that most certainly isn’t why they are with a saving faith. That horrid devil gets us to pride ourselves on our acts of faith, when our acts don’t open our heart to accept God’s saving mercy at all. The miserableness wretched sinner on the cross next to Christ, who hasn’t prayed or done a good work any day of his life can obtain a saving faith, and it surely didn’t come from his acts of faith. No. Only the humble (one who knows ones true sinfulness), who knows they have wasted their life perusing world and self-love, and now strives at all moments to live for God. Yet, only the truly contrite of heart for literally each and every sin, will accept God’s saving mercy. Participating in any act of faith without true sorrow merits no reward, and receiving the Eucharist brings condemnation if we aren’t seeking to sin no more (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:19). There is no other way to salvation; we must have true sorrow for our sins. Sure our acts of faith are supposed to move our souls into gaining true contrition and for some they do, but for most of us our pride blocks us, and all of our acts of faith will be in vain.
“A contrite [sorrowful] spirit; a contrite, humbled [knows ones misery] heart, O God, you will not scorn” (Psalm 51:19).
The reality of being tortured forever in Hell should stress us out, if we aren’t living the way God has commanded us to live. Who wouldn’t be stressed out about the idea of eternal torture? This horrible consequence be our reality if we don’t follow Christ. That stress should cause us to CHANGE and have great gratitude for God opening our eyes, and it is good. Since we didn’t change out of seeing God’s love, the next best thing is changing out of fear because if we don’t change at all, we are lost forever.
After we turn to God and repent and change, much peace will enter our lives, even before we gain true love for God (truly detest each and every sin). When we do begin to change, and are truly striving to follow Christ correctly, it will be proven by our constant growth in virtue (goodness) and the wonderful peace we experience. We will be growing; if we aren’t growing no matter how we “feel” we are faithful people, we are dead. No growth = death. And if we are growing so slowly, we will never obtain the crown of Life. We must lean how to hate all of the sin we have made part of our lives before we die and if we grow too slowly, we won’t get there.
At the point we have honestly surrendered our all to follow God and don’t want to desire any sin, we should have great peace from our trust in God to provide us with the grace we need to teach us all we need to learn so to hate all of our sins. Some will suffer with scruples (anxiety over our sins) but God can concur that too. However, even though most will be in wonderful peace, trusting in God’s mercy when they do surrender to God (especially peace in suffering), we should still have fear of the Lord (fear of sin and its consequences). That fear won’t remove our great peace we feel as we trust in God. It will exist as a thought of logic because if we don’t stay vigilant and continue to grow in holiness but instead we choose to become complacent in our sinful ways and fall away from the Way, we know we will not obtain the end God desires for us. Also, even if we are on the path of Life, without atoning for all of our sins, we will have at least the suffering in Purgatory for all of our sins. So, unless we reach perfection (not able to choose sin) we should most certainly fear the suffering from our sins, but not more than we fear the suffering we will inflict upon God from our sins. To be saved we must leave self-love and embrace true love for God by being mostly concerned about God and the magnitude of injury we inflict upon Perfect Goodness from our sins to be saved. But after we have truly walked on the path of real conversion, we should live without distress, during good times and bad, from our real trust in His mercy to guide us in all circumstances to the Way, as God wants us saved. All we need to do is let Him.
However, without the true knowledge of salvation and constant reminders and support by teaching other how to love God and receive forgiveness of their sins by properly following Christ (obeying His Word) with a heart that sincerely disdains sin, we are doomed. “These [who didn’t really love Me] will go off to eternal punishment” (Matthew 25:46). The devil would much prefer we don’t stress out over this, because if we don’t we’ll inevitably end up just where he wants us. Truly, we need to accept that there are really consequences to our sins—horrific ones if we don’t implore God’s great mercy (help) with a sincere desire to change. That is the beginning of our motivation.
We need to face reality and know the truth. We need to believe, so we can have a burning desire to change and do everything necessary to be saved. Change is hard. We don’t want to work. We are content in our laziness and want life to continue with what we are familiar with. Change is also scary—we don’t like the unknown. There are so many reasons why we do what we do, even when it isn’t working for us. We know our lives are outside of great peace that God has promised us, but sadly we still continue in our sinful ways. “Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble [despair]” (Psalm 119:165).
Yet, change removes us from our comfort zone. We are stubborn in our hearts and like to believe that only wishing we acted differently will be enough to save us. But wishing we followed Christ and actually doing it are two different things. Change happens by working hard to obtain God’s grace, and modifying our life to obey. Our minds can be filled with all sorts of good wants, but if we don’t act upon them, we are still choosing death for ourselves. To remove us from being stuck in only having thoughts of action and turning them into having them become real actions that change our lives into the image of Christ, that takes much grace. When God delivers grace to us, from our open hearts we receive His strength, and that is what will give us the ability to change our ways—not our wishful thinking. Many of us will hear, but like the seed planted on rocky ground, most of us simply won’t do what is necessary to obtain the grace, and will continue to do what isn’t working and tragically die. All the saints who have spoken of salvation have unanimously resounded the same warning: few are saved, and we need to change to become among the few. Please listen to them.
“Yes, indeed, many will be damned; few will be saved… Meditate on the horrors of Hell which will last for eternity because of one easily-committed mortal sin. Try hard to be among the few who are chosen. Think of the eternal flames of Hell, and how few there are that are saved…I was watching souls going down into the abyss as thick and fast as snowflakes falling in the winter mist” (St. Benedict Joseph of Labre).
Become a Saint
If we were wise, we would heed their warnings, repent, change, and strive to do everything we could to become saints. That is true obedience, as we are “called to be saints” (Romans 1:7). We should not desire sin of any kind. If we willingly cling to even the slightest sin, it proves our lack of love for God. If we think the saints have interpreted the Word incorrectly, we need to think again. Truly, do we really believe we are given more wisdom than the saints? Perhaps it isn’t the saints that are misinterpreting the Word but rather it is we, who are lacking in wisdom, to know the truth. Please don’t allow our pride to convince us, we are wiser than them. That just isn’t so. Many of the saints—not just St. Benedict Joseph—had visions of Hell, and saw countless souls falling into the great abyss just like snowflakes in a winter storm. There is a constant, never-ending succession of souls succumbing to this horrific fate! This should be of an utmost concern to us. God doesn’t send us such warnings so we can remain idle. According to statistics, approximately 151,600 souls die each day—but how many of them are saved? How many of them are striving to live like saints and are truly seeking obedience to the Word out of love for God? The world needs our help to guide them to the Light. Where are Christ’s disciples?
We Can’t Read the Soul
It’s important to note that we should never assume any one individual is damned, as we cannot read souls so we have no way of knowing. Plus, God’s mercy is unfathomable. At any time, someone could be given such an incredible amount of grace that they are now wholeheartedly sorry for wasting their life, and suddenly wish to leave the pleasures of this world behind, work to become a saint, and live for God alone. A conversion can happen at any moment, especially at the hour of death when God floods souls with His grace—based on how they’ve lived their lives and the prayers of others on their behalf—in hopes they will see His love and embrace it. Therefore, we must never despair against hope for God’s mercy to save anyone—even the worst of people. However, for the most part, how someone lives is how they die and salvation at the moment of death is rare, but there is always hope and God expects us to constantly have hope in His mercy. There is always the chance someone will see His mercy and accept it. But even though we cannot judge what’s in someone’s heart, that doesn’t mean we aren’t called to judge the state of the world or others so we can know where we need to help others. If we see what looks like grievous sin, we should guide other away to help save their lives. Our intentions for what we do must be pure. We are called to recognize when others are living in great sin and misery, so we can help them before it’s too late. When we really love someone, we care about where they’ll be spending eternity and guide them away from their sins. When we love people we tell them the truth, and show them—through both our words and actions—how to amend their lives.
It is true sometimes from our plank that is in our own eye, what looks like great sin isn’t sin at all or what looks like a little sin is a mortal sin because we lack grace to make sound judgments. So speculating on ones sinfulness is not wise if we have not been successfully at removing sin after sin, for we still lack much grace that delivers true wisdom. And if we don’t have the honest intention of guiding someone away from their sins, we shouldn’t focus on what we think are sins at all. We should be in prayer and focusing on the good in others.
“My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner’s soul from death and will cover [atone] a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20).
We are Known By How We Carry Our Cross
When we follow Christ correctly, we will be known by our fruits and how we carry our crosses, but not by our good works alone as even atheists perform “good works.” In fact, we can easily do good works for the wrong reasons, making any “good work” not truly good in God’s eyes at all. Only those with much grace—who are truly trying to walk with Christ—are able to carry the most terrible burdens with joy, while they grow in holiness and peace as they unite their sufferings with Christ’s. Those are the fruits that bring about eternal life. We’re all happy when things go well—even the worst of us—but if we are true Christians we act with selfless love. We don’t blaspheme His name by acting unlike Christians when others do us wrong or insult us, when we don’t get what we desire, or when we are sick or tired. As true Christians, no matter what horrible injustice or suffering we are enduring, we have the grace, from our constant removal of sin and of the frequenting the sacraments, to treat others graciously and live the Word. Grace has no bounds, and for those of us who have much of it, we will act in the imitation of Christ during all of our trials. However, if through our weakness, on occasion we do fail, we repent with true sorrow, modify our life and work towards ensuring we never sin that offence again. If we have true faith, God will transform us into Christ whom we are following. We simply won’t repeat the same sins over and over again. That’s how we will know if we are on the path to eternal life; if we are growing and growing into the image of Christ. That needs to be our constant working goal, and if we’re doing it right we will eventually become saints.
Horribly, most of us—even those among the faithful—unknowingly choose Hell. We are not truly striving to live our lives according to the Word. We aren’t seeking to stop our sins, and working to become saints. But the devil deceives us into thinking we are, or at least that we are good enough, as we see ourselves as being holier than we are. We live in a time of great darkness. Knowledge of the Way is greatly lacking among most. We are confused, and have been incorrectly taught the Way for so long that we are now teaching it incorrectly to others as well. Generations have passed where the truth has been lost. As a result of this darkness, most of us have no idea what the Way even is anymore. Sadly, we don’t understand what our lives are really about or what we should be living for as we live to make other happy (with a false happiness not bringing them to Heaven), success, sexual gratification, comfort, friends, money, and a countless multitude of deceptions from true happiness–God. We are blindly walking straight into Hell and bringing many others right along with us. God the Father warned us of the tragic realities of those who claim they are Christians, but live lives opposed to the Word when He said to Saint Catherine of Sienna: “A false Christian is punished more than a pagan, and the deathless fire of divine justice consumes him more, that is, afflicts him more, and, in his affliction, he feels himself being consumed by the worm of conscience, though, in truth, he is not consumed, because the damned do not lose their being through any torment which they receive.” Truly, the more that is given to us—such as the saving faith of the Catholic Church, or the responsibility of teaching souls the Way correctly—more is expected of us, and the more our eternal suffering will be when we choose to not obey God. We must repent and change.
One Path to Life
Truthfully, if we don’t want to become saints, we are content to be sinners. There is only one path to Heaven—not two. When we desire to sin any sin at all, and do not seek to amend all of our sinful ways, we lose everything. We must ardently desire to love God over any sin. The devil has cunningly fooled us into thinking we are serving God well, when in reality, some of the time our focus is still on seeking the pleasures and successes of this world. Some of the time we seek to love ourselves over God, and that “some of the time” is what will send us to Hell. We are lost by just one unrepentant sin. We can’t give any part of our lives to the devil. We are called to love God with all of our hearts, all of the time.
Blind to God’s Love
Christ freely chose to suffer indescribable torture on the cross to prove His love for us, but sadly, we’re too blind to see the incredible love He has for us undeserving souls. He didn’t have to suffer such horrendous afflictions, one drop of blood from Perfect Goodness would have been enough to atone for all of the sins of this world, but He did it for us, to show us what love really is. It is choosing to suffer, choosing to deny oneself of comfort to serve/love the other, that is true love. Yet through our own self-love, because we fell from the great deceiver, we don’t choose to live for Him, but ourselves. Even though we reject His love and live for the things of this world instead, God never gives up on us. He’s always trying to guide us to Him as he heals us, speaks to us in our prayers, and even performs miracles through us. But incredibly, most of us still don’t see His unfathomable love for us and realize we need to live for God and God alone. Sure, we catch glimpses of His love, but we take it for granted, beg for more, and continue to live in the same manner we have been, scourging Him with our sins. How ungrateful are we? So few of us recognize His great love for us and leave the enticements of this world behind, in order to love Him fully in return. Some of us are advancing in our spiritual lives and that is good, but it is not enough. At the rate most of us are going, we will never abandon all of the sins we desire and embrace His saving mercy. Most of us still refuse to surrender everything to God and live as His true servants so to receive the grace needed to even come to know the sins we desire that are rejecting His sanctifying grace. We must remember, we can be very close to God but if we hold fast to even just one sin, we still haven’t embraced God’s saving grace and we are still rejecting Him and His free gift of Eternal Life.
Working wholeheartedly to stop sinning—eliminating each and every one of our sins—must be our goal if we desire eternal life. God told us to “go and sin no more” and He means it. This must be our daily working goal. The devil has so much of the Church confused; we live seemingly good lives compared to many others, serve God through ministries, and go to daily Mass. We pray and have devotions, thinking we are doing so well, and that our prayers and good works will save us. But we are only saved by God’s grace—not any acts we perform. None of that will matter if we still reject the actual (helping) grace God sends us, which helps us to grow in faith to have true contrition for our sins so we can embrace God’s saving grace. And we reject His actual—helping—grace from our sins. Please don’t allow the evil one to convince us our magnitude of good works will save us. No merit, upon our death, will be given to us from our good works if we still haven’t converted enough into a saving faith from still clinging to (desiring) any of our sins. If we continue in this pattern of not seeking to stop sinning—never coming to truly detest all of our sins—and gaining true sorrow, then tragically, upon our death we will come to the Lord empty-handed of any merit our good works would’ve produced. The devil will have distorted our priorities. Everything we did will have been tainted with self-love, and sadly, not deserving of any reward. We will have no fruit…not a talent to return to Him after all He has given us.
After we’ve seen and experienced God’s incredible mercy, how many of us have gotten rid of all the distractions—things we crave, stuff we have, and things we look forward to doing—that keep us from knowing, serving and loving Him alone? We now burn for God. Have we now chosen to live a poor life, not desiring things of this world, the fun and relaxazation the world has to offer and are now intentionally denying ourselves of its pleasures, so we can focus on receiving the graces needed to crave God and serve only Him for the salvation of souls? Have our sins, at least our more grievous or habitual sins left and we are constantly growing in the image of Christ? Isn’t following Christ supposed to take away our sins? Do we have the proof we are on the correct path of Life or have we been deceived? Do we really want Heaven, or are we still trying to live for the world, and God at the same time while justifying our actions so to not feel guilt? That doesn’t work, as we cannot serve two masters.
How many of us—from years of following Christ correctly—have proof of our correct discipleship, and have obtained so much grace from our great trust in God that we never fret or become angry anymore? How many of us don’t complain or worry anymore about anything, especially our sufferings and challenges, as we pick up our cross and trust in God and live the examples of the saints? After years of being a Christian we should be doing this. How many of us, are now, truly not wasting a single minute (giving nothing to the devil), and are honestly living to serve the Lord, sacrifice for Him, and live for His will all the time? Do any of us really do that? Are any of us really following Christ? Is that even anyone’s goal? “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth” (Luke 18:8). That Bible verse doesn’t sound so crazy any more does it? We have been greatly deceived! Tragically, we still give part of our lives over to selfishness, and the devil has convinced us we deserved that time with give to ourselves (the evil one) and are not really being concerned that we’re offending God during that time we don’t want to know, serve or love Him? Has anyone of us truly answered the call? Are we really leaving sin behind and striving to perfectly obey God? God calls us to love Him with all of our hearts—not just part of them. Today’s generation of Christians has lost the true meaning of this. We might preach it, but we don’t live it as our lives prove. We are still becoming angry when we are wronged and not praying for those who purcute us. We still cry and are in dispair when bad happens, we don’t trust. Yet, being a true Christian must be our goal if we desire eternal life. We don’t have to reach our goal to accept God’s mercy, but if we don’t honestly and wholeheartedly seek it, and when we are seeking it correctly, we are CHANGING into the image of the one we are following. If not, we still love our sinful ways since we won’t let go of them, and don’t have true contrition, and still refuse God’s saving grace and if we don’t change before our unknown hour comes will suffer for eternity. Just tragic.
“Souls perish in spite of My bitter Passion. I am giving them the last hope of salvation, that is, recourse to My Mercy. If they will not adore My mercy, they will perish for all eternity…Oh, 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. (Jesus to St. Faustian, Diary, 965, 998, 1396).
Many of us do run to God for His mercy, or at least we think we want it. We think we have true devotion and are praying and sacrificing to God, but in the Lord’s eyes we have not grown that far in our faith yet. Our prayers, fasts, sacrifices and good works are far from true and sadly for most, we just don’t see it. We want God’s mercy (grace), but sadly we are still rejecting it. We don’t know ourselves and the lack of faith we really have. We think we are receiving God’s grace but our hardened hearts simply refuse it. The devil has us living blind. We approach God venerating Jesus’ Divine Mercy image thinking we will be saved since God said, “I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish” (Diary #48). That seems like a free gift of Heaven for doing practically nothing. Well, it is a wonderful incredibly merciful gift, but the soul that venerates (adores) Jesus in His divine mercy image must at least have a true heart of love of God, not for themselves, in order to be open to receive His grace. And tragically most don’t. The devil has us thinking we love God above ourselves, but most simply lack the faith. We think we are adoring Jesus, but still are still adoring ourselves and our will more. God who reads the depths of our hearts, the part of our being we cover and pretend we truly want God when we still want life to God our way.
To see our misery, our rejection of God’s will, all we need to do is look at our actions. It is easy to see we lack much grace. We don’t really obeying God’s commands, living to sacrifice comfort and time to serve others, loving like Jesus has loved or accepting God’s will as good, no matter what happens (trusting in God). If we can humble ourselves and look at our true thoughts, words and actions we will see they are far from loving like Jesus has really loved. Sure many will appear to be greater sinners than us, but all who reject God’s saving grace, whether we reject it a lot or a little, lose it all.
Suffering in Hell
People like to think the hardened criminal is the one who suffers the greatest in Hell, but much of the time, that isn’t the case. The ones who suffer the most in Hell are the ones who hear the Word preached correctly, who have the written Word before them, but kept their ears plugged and eyes covered and don’t change. Their suffering is even greater than those of Sodom and Gomorrah who were sent to Hell for their grossly immoral life choices. “Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 1:7). “It will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town [who refused to hear the Word preached to them]” (Matthew 10:15).
“Reflect then how great an evil it is for us, who ought to live so purely as not even to need written words [from the law in our heart], but…fail again in duly employing [living] even this second remedy [the written Word to save us]…consider how heavy the charge of not choosing to profit even after this assistance [from God’s mercy]…so [as a result] bringing down upon ourselves our punishment with increase” (St. John Chrysostom as he was preaching to the faithful in Church).
Truly, not following the law that was written on our hearts, failing to hear the Gospel of love preached, not seeing the truth in the written Word, and refusing to change to follow Christ merits greater punishment then the unknowledgeable atheist or criminal. But there are others who suffer even greater than those who reject the law in their heart and the true preaching & writing of the Word. Sadly, those are God’s chosen ones, who God called to preach the true Word and save souls, but didn’t. They had the law in their hearts, studied the true Word, were given specific gratuitous grace to save souls (the more gifts from God we are given, the more is expected) and from not using those blessing to save souls, tragically suffer great punishment from misguide others instead. They, through their blindness, wind up leading many onto the path of Hell. They are not only responsible for their soul but for all of the souls that will cry out in anguish forever, who God wanted to love for eternity, who God sent to them to save but are now lost for all time. Now, these are the ones–not the hardened criminal–unless the hardened criminal is the one called to be the religious, preacher, or teacher of the faith, who have most greatly rejected God’s will and afflicted God. Yet, from the great deceivers tricks fooling their pride, the devil has many thinking they are worderfully serving and sacrificing for God, but in God’s eyes their actions are abominations. Tragically, God’s chosen ones, who neglect their call, are the ones who suffer the greatest agonies for eternity (cf. Luke 12:48). They had it all given to them, great responsibility, and chose to not love God.
“My son, do not think that my agony lasted for three hours. No. I will be in agony until the end of the world [in Heaven] on behalf of the souls that have been blessed by me the most…The ingratitude and the drowsiness of my minister make my agony more burdensome.” (Jesus to St. Padre Pio).
Those crimes inflict unfathomable injury upon God’s Heart of love and are deserving of greatest punishment. That is why the Word says, “It would be better for that man [Judas] if he had never been born” (Matthew 26:24). To indicate the kind of suffering Judas will have to endure. He had the greatest of judgement piled upon him. He had the law in his heart, heard the Word preached perfectly from the Son of God himself, was called to be an apostle (preacher and teacher of the faith), was a hardened criminal as he betrayed Christ, and finally despaired against God’s mercy, who even wanted to save him. Poor Judas, who God loved, lost and drowned in torment forever.
Suffering is the Way to Heaven
We don’t want to suffer on earth and don’t see how that would prevent us from suffering for eternity, but that is because we don’t understand the cross. However, Saint Catherine of Sienna says: “The more they have scorned pleasure and been willing to suffer, the more they have lost suffering and gained pleasure.” That’s because every pleasure in this world fills our souls with happiness—at least we think it’s happiness—but if we turn away from those worldly pleasures, that spot in our souls we filled with the world, will be filled with God’s true happiness. It won’t be easy at first, but in time we will become filled with God’s love. We cannot have both God and pleasures of this world occupying the same space in our souls. They repel each other. If we truly love God and desire His love (happiness) to wholly dwell within us, if we want to be perfectly happy and have Eternal Life, we have to chose between the two of them. For Eternal Life, we must hate the pleasures of this world and run from them, in order to love God and experience His perfect, lasting love given to those who desire Him. This is how we have union with God on Earth, become saints (people who don’t want to sin and have atoned for all of their sins before they die) and save souls. Our Lord told St. Faustana, “You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone” (Diary #1767). This true love for God–suffering out of love—which releases magnificent graces to us and to others. Therefore, we must pray, fast, and sacrifice for the salvation of souls.
“Our heart must be wholly devoted to the Lord, our God, observing his statutes and keeping his commandments” (1 Kings 8:61).
Time to Change
If we aren’t truly obeying the Word, but we have now come to for the most part the true Way, it is time for us to change and have a goal to live for God alone. No more complaining and wanting things of this world—all of that needs to go. We must love whatever God allows to happen and live for God and His Will. Some of us might say, “I can’t live poor as I live with others who want worldly things.” It’s true that we cannot force others to live like the saints if they don’t want to. However, we can get rid of all of our personal possessions, wants, and desires which keep us from knowing, serving and loving God. By doing this, we can also be an example to those we live with and others. For instance, if our family members want us to go out to eat with them, we don’t have to order the most delicious meal on the menu; we can actually choose to eat something we dislike, as a wonderful cross for us to offer to God. Or if we need a car, we don’t need to buy the best one we can afford, just one that is functional and satisfies our “needs.” That is what “scorning pleasure” is all about—deliberately choosing less. We can also live as “silent servants” to our families, serving them with love, asking for nothing from them, and never complaining. We can accept and be pleased with any mistreatment we are given—seeing it as God’s will for us—and looking upon it as a beautiful cross we are carrying for Christ. Of course, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t raise our children to love and respect us, and it certainly doesn’t mean we should stay in truly abusive relationships—although we do not condone divorce either. But when we have crosses of any kind, we should love them and embrace them, learn from them and grow in holiness. They are gifts from God to help us and others towards Eternal Life.
No matter what happens in life we should embrace it, as God allows it to happen to bring about a greater good. During every moment of our lives—whether they are good or bad—God uses them to try and lead us to the path of Everlasting Life. He will send us and others much grace when we unite our sufferings with His and take up our crosses. Of course, to do this takes much grace. We can’t instantly will ourselves to have complete trust in God, so as to carry huge burdens with ease. By our nature, we want our way—what we think is best—and we want to reject the cross. We can clearly see that with all the worrying, stress, and aggravation we feel at even the mere thought of life’s challenges. But to obtain the trust, we need to obtain the wonderful grace God has waiting for us before we can carry our cross willingly and peacefully with Christ.
God provided us with a magnitude of ways to obtain grace. He wants to give His love to us. Of course we can’t force God to dispense His mercy, but He has provided us with a fountain of mercy we can go to so we can obtain His help. The easiest and most convenient way to receive grace is through prayer (personal pray and the Mass). We can pray anytime and all of the time. It is very effective. The more we pray, with a sincere heart to change and being open to the truth (His will), the more grace God delivers and we can receive. After we obtain grace from prayer, we must begin come to know our sinfulness so to remove our sins, since every sin rejects grace and keeps us from truly trusting God and properly knowing the Way. After we examine our conscience, we must run to God in the sacraments, especially confession, as it dispenses a super abundance of grace strictly for the removal of sin. Then, after we have received enough grace to stop our mortal sins and truly desire to sin no more (wish to become a saint), we can receive Christ’s actual Body and Blood in the Blessed Sacrament and receive even more grace to help move our souls into a saving faith that grows to truly hate each and every sin and out of true love for God.
What is Faith
Again, we will know when we are truly loving and trusting in God and receiving grace when something horrible happens and we don’t have anxiety, but instead feel a wonderful trusting peace in God firmly believing all is allow for the good of our souls. This is faith. Faith is trusting in God to transform all bad into good for those who love Him. Faith is believing God is a God of love and only allows all things to happen to help us learn our sinfullness, atone for our sins and grow in holiness. Faith is trusting that following Christ correctly is truly the Way to the restoration of our saving grace and Heaven.
Why are We Alive
We must remember that our sole purpose in life is to know, love, and serve God, which ultimately leads to the salvation of our souls. That’s it, nothing else matters. Really, nothing else matters. Giving up all of our worldly pleasures, giving up our pride (our will) in order to do this is truly the Way. We should no longer seek out self-gratification, want praise/approval, seek respect and comfort, etc. but let our complete focus be on picking up our cross (the Way to Christ) and living the Word. We need to work towards loving God perfectly by giving God our everything.
We might think this sounds horrible and be tricked into thinking “But God wants me to be happy.” That’s true, God does want us to be happy. However, He wants us to have true happiness which only comes from loving Him—not the false pleasures of this life. We only thing sacrificing, suffering and living as a servant of other isn’t happiness. But ask the saints, who found profound happiness where real happiness is from…the cross. The problem is, we are confused and have become accustomed to loving the world, thinking it is the way to true happiness, but that is the devil’s lie. That’s why giving up all those fruitless things is so hard, we love them. The truth of the matter is, they have become our idols and we love them over God. Of course we can still have some of those things, but we cannot desire them at all unless we are going to use them for the glory of God. Other than when we are viewing a religious program, or to serve another, is watching TV really done for the glory of God? Truly, no. What a waste of time. A waste of our precious time that we have on Earth to gain true sorrow for all of our sins. No amount of TV or any of the nonscience it going to give us a true desire to change, true knowledge of ourselves, or true sorrow for our sins. Obtaining a saving faith is hard, we need all the time we have to pray, serve God and sacrifice to obtain the grace to obtain it. If we only knew how valuable time is, we wouldn’t wast a moment. Every moment we have should be used to know, love, and serve God, as we grow in holiness and gain true sorrow for our sins. There is truly great joy in the cross, we just cannot understand that yet. But once we receive enough grace, we will “rejoice in our sufferings” (Romans 5:3), run to the cross, and love doing all things—even suffering—for God as we run from the pleasures of this world and embrace God’s love.
“Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever” (1 John 2:15-17).
In order to accept God’s saving mercy, we must love God above all and make Him our only desire. Once we receive more grace, God will satisfy our every desire. We will no longer want the fruitless nonsense of this world. Our goal will be to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:16). Perfect obedience to the entire Word is what we will seek, and work daily to grow and obtain it, if we truly love God. This is the Way. It won’t happen overnight, but in time—with perseverance and much of God’s grace—we most certainly will be able to accept God’s saving mercy. When we desire to do something, we must ask ourselves, “Is this opposed to holiness and to God’s will, or is it pleasing to Him and going to help me grow in holiness?” If not then it can keep us from Heaven, so we need to remove it from our lives. We must beware, because the devil can easily have us justifying our attachments to this world. If we lie to ourselves, we will die in our sins. We need to understand it will be hard at first to even know where we are going wrong, since we’ve been concealing our sins from ourselves for so long. However, if today we can hear, we should start removing one attachment at a time, and continuing on a that pace until we sin no more. With a firm desire to want to know our sinfulness, God will enlighten us as long as we are open to knowing the truth. Without self-knowledge, we will die lying to ourselves and are doomed. Self-knowledge is vital.
This sounds hard because it is hard. It is especially hard if we love and do many things that are opposed to God’s will. This forum isn’t meant to describe how that’s done. However, we can visit www.LiftingOurValues.com and read “Out of Darkness and into the Light” and learn how to go from almost no faith at all into having a faith that saves. With God and God alone, what seems impossible is not only possible, but with much grace, will become easy. Removing our sins—everything that’s been keeping us from truly loving God and our neighbor—out of fear of Hell, will eventually turn from self-love (fear of punishment) into fear of offending God (filial fear). Yes, with much grace we will lose our self-love and begin to do everything for the love of God. Then, we will finally have a true heart of love for God and embrace His saving grace. We must trust in God to bring us this faith.
We have to remember that living in denial—from the deception of the devil—doesn’t do anyone any good. What good does it do for someone to blindfully walk around presuming we are saved. Does that encourage us to leave sin? Not at all. Does it motivate us to repent, seek God’s mercy and change our ways. No. It leads to complacency and death. Even if we still don’t believe in the realities of Hell, or the fewness of the saved, does this life-changing message of encouraging you to truly love God above all, by seeking to remove all of our sins, do anything but promote growing in our faith and helping us grow closer to God? Does any harm come to us from seeking to really live the Word? No. So try my advice. Start to look for your sins and remove some of your offences. Then see what God does to your heart, and your the knowledge of our faith, the reality of Hell and the understanding of the horribly reality of why so few are saved. You will grow in wonderful virtue (qualities of goodness) if you simply come to know your sins, open up your soul to receive grace, by work hard to remove them…then God will give you a mind of wisdom.
However, to truly advance past the obstacles that will surely come in our way in our journey towards Life, we cannot run from the reality of Hell, putting aside a “fear of the Lord” (fear of sin and its consequences) for that is the “beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). We need to feel that fear—what else is going to truly motivate us? I would love to just say because God deserves our love and not our malice we need to repent and change and not have to motive anyone with fear of punishment. It would be great if we could surrender all of the world’s pleasures knowing we should be loving God and not offending Him. However, from the darkness of our souls—from years of misguidance and repeated sins—our lack of grace won’t allow us to make such leaps of faith out of love for God alone since we greatly lack sorrow. It would be great if we could completely change our lives solely out of love for God, by seeing the incredible injury we have inflicted upon Perfect Goodness, but in the current state of our sinfulness, unless we receive special grace from God, we simply cannot as we are still drowning in self-love. This is the truth. We need a good amount of fear of sin, and a firm understanding of the mercy God has waiting for those of us who sincerely want to abandon our lives of sin for lives of true holiness. It takes much grace to be able to surrender everything purely out of love for God. And to get there, we need to begin removing our sins—first out of fear of death—so that our hearts can be opened to accept the grace we need to be able to do everything purely out of a true love for God.
We must fully understand the consequences of our sins—to God, others, and ourselves. Our Father in Heaven is a God of justice and mercy. Through His Word, His Church, and through His saints, God has clearly told us of the consequences of choosing sin over His love. By giving us free will, He allows us to reject Him. But from His mercy, He has come to us over and over again, trying to get us to humble ourselves enough to hear. God wants us to learn the Way. He died to save us and give us the words of everlasting life. We must let go of our pride—that pride which tells us we already know the Way, that we are holy enough—and be open to learning how to truly repent, change, and how to gain true sorrow for our sins so we can embrace God’s saving mercy and live. God is waiting for us. No matter how great of sinners we are, if we want God’s mercy, He will help to rid us of each and every one of our sins. We must go to Him. Then, trust in Him to save our souls and make us into saints. With great trust in God, we will have great peace.
St. Jacinta Mart of Fatima said, “Hell is a reality. . . Continue to preach about Hell, for Our Lord Himself spoke of Hell and it is in the Holy Scriptures. God condemns no one to Hell. People condemn themselves to Hell [by choosing sin instead of God’s mercy]. God has given mankind the freedom of choice, and He respects this human freedom.”