Obtaining Salvation is Very Difficult
I know it is hard to believe obtaining salvation is so difficult and that “scarcely anyone is saved” as St. Alphonosus said, 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 as I have just shown you that just isn’t true.
Truly “the just man shall scarcely be saved.”(1 Peter 4:18-19). Tragically, all of our prayers and works, fro most were done from non-sincere hearts. Resulting in us receiving so little grace.
But we can hear, we can change and seek God’s mercy from truly humble hearts (knowing our great sinfulness), so we can begin to grow in much grace to obtain a faith so great, believing that JESUS IS THE WAY–we 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).
Yes, we can receive this faith, but to obtain this faith, we need a repentance that can lead to the Truth so we can find The Way and be saved Him.
“[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 feel 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.
But with Jesus, we can find The Way. Please don’t allow the evil one to convince you The Way is too hard, because with Jesus–if you truly want Him–“all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
What Do Those with True Sorrow Do?
There are most certainly things people, who desire a saving faith or already have a saving faith, do….not because those things save; Jesus saves. But when we have true contrition for our sins or even one day wish to have such a great saving faith, we do certain things out of love for God (finial fear) or even fear of death (servile fear) with the hopes that God’s mercy will give us such a faith to love Him enough to truly obey/follow Him to Heaven.
The instructions on what we must do are found in The Word.
“The gospel is the power of God leading everyone who believes [enough to live it] in it to salvation [into a saving faith]” (Romans 1:16).
The Word tells us we must “be holy yourself in every aspect of your conduct” (1 Peter 1:15). This is true obedience to Him. We can’t neglect any part of our lives…or over look any of our sinful behaviors, thinking it is OK or just part of who we are.
We must seek to change and The Word tells us if we wish to be guided correctly “you ought to imitate us [the saints]” (2 Thessalonians 3:7).
There are many books out there to help people come to know God and live a better life, but most are not correctly guiding us to follow the correct way saints traveled. From misguided love, many interpret the Word or the Saints incorrectly or don’t even try to lead us to follow them and only wind up leading us towards a greater lukewarm life…not truly towards following the HARD road to Life…
oh, we might change some from their guidance, but if we don’t change into a saving faith, following the path the saints chose, all will be lost for eternity.
To change, a soul, who wants to have true sorrow (desires a saving faith), must have some HORROR FOR SIN–all of their sins–at least enough fear to seek God’s mercy for help DAILY to change. This horror for sin, will be slight at first, but it needs to be there. We must have some fear of the Lord so we can seek God to LIVE THE WORD perfectly and grow in grace and perfection.
After we obtain some horror for sin, we can follow The Way of Perfection by seeking to:
- Increase our prayers–aiming for God’s goal to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:16) so we can constantly love God, receive much grace and come to know God and His will so to be able to live it,
- Grow in self-awareness–aiming for God’s goal of having “my sin make [made] known to me” (Job 13:24) so we can know how we are offending, truly repent and work towards changing,
- Remove their offences–aiming for God’s goal of “perfect holiness” (2 Corinthians 7:1)…”to stop sinning” (1 Corinthians 15:34)…to live the entire word perfectly, so they can love God and not offend Him,
- Remove attachments to the world (the people, power and possession they desire that aren’t to know, serve or love God)–aiming for God’s goal of “not love[ing] the world or the things of the world” (1 John 2:15) so our hearts can long for God as our source of joy and not anything else–so we can truly love Him above all,
- Increase our works of service (temporal and spiritual) for the salvation of souls–aiming for God’s goal to “love one another. As I [Jesus] have loved you ” (John 13:34) so we can grow into the image of Christ and perfectly love our neighbor,
- Do penance for our life of sin and the sins of the whole world–aiming for God’s goal to “[fill up] in my flesh…what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ” (Colossians 1:24), so we can continue help atone (pay the price) for our sins committed after baptism, and console God’s Sacred Heart for all the atrocities committed against Him,
- Carry and/or choose the cross – live a life of self-denial/suffering and sacrificing with joy for souls–aiming for God’s goal to “rejoice in our sufferings ” (Romans 5:3-4) so we can continue Christ’s work on earth to send grace to souls–through the cross–like Jesus did for us, to assist souls in our journey toward a saving faith and perfection.
The above efforts–to truly love God and sin no more–is what anyone does who has or one day wants to have true contrition/a saving faith and then become a perfect Christian.
This is The Way the saints have traveled–The Way of Perfection. This is seeking to perfectly surrender our will to God’s and what we must seek to do too if we want to Live.
“Everything depends on our having true light to keep the law of God perfectly. “
–St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church, (The Way of Perfection, Ch. 5).
But the devil doesn’t want us to follow the saints and their way of striving for PERFECT OBEDIENCE. He wants us thinking we have greater wisdom than them, so we will believe this simply isn’t necessary, stay lukewarm and die, belonging to him.
Yet, we don’t have to believe the lie. We can honestly look into our lives and ask ourselves if we are REALLY resolved, working daily to do ALL of the above so to one day obtain God’s goals? Or does the devil have us priding our selves on doing just one of the above…as we neglect the rest of the Law or do we presume salvation by word alone only doing what comes easily.
After we see where we are lacking perfect obedience, we need to step by step seek God’s mercy and change os we are modifying our life like the saints.
“He who walks in the way of perfection shall be my friend” (Psalm 101:6).
There are many ways we can go about striving to live the Law of God perfectly–as this entire website explains. However, if we are looking for an easy guide to help us change to live God’s law perfectly and grow into a beautiful image of Jesus, then please download or buy Lifting Our Values Workbook, “How to Grow into the Image of Jesus.”
“Whoever wishes to come after me MUST deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me [not some of the time, but all of the time]” (Mark 8:34).
Why Are We Failing
To start, we don’t know The Way since we haven’t be taught correctly, but if we were looking to truly not offend God (for any reason–servile or finial fear) and not just get love from Him, God would show us The Way. Therefore, we know if we thought we were seeking to not sin, and we still don’t know The Way, our intentions weren’t sincere.
What happens is our priorities become all disordered. Since we want to do good, many of us will put all of our energies into doing something that we think is good, and it might even be good, but if we don’t put the removal of our sins–trying to not offend God–especially with our habitual sins and attachments (and of course removing our regular mortal sins)–seeking to sanctifying our lives, striving for perfection–FIRST, we will merit NOTHING from our life’s work…charity or not. All our great efforts to do good will be in vain.
If we truly believe in God (the Word) our first priority will most certainly will be to work and work hard to perfectly obey His will by being truly resolved to live the entire Word perfectly by doing what God desires of us at all moments, so to not offend Him and “attain the goal of [your] faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:9).
“Neglect of God’s law [any command] 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)
We aren’t only dying because we aren’t truly desiring to live The Word, we are also dying because even if we confess our sins wanting to be holy, tragically, very few have enough desire/contrition to accept any grace from God through the great healing sacrament of reconciliation.
Sadly, our confessions are so poor most don’t have enough sorrow to be forgiven of one sin, never mind forgiven of all of our trespasses, so to be moved into a state of grace.
“See how rare such [true] repentance is. Alas, it is as scarce as a good confession.”
–St. John Vianney, (Sermons of the Cure d’ Ars, Passion Sunday “Repentance”)
Of course, 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). This is how we will obtain much grace (help) to remove our sins.
But this confession we make can’t be lacking in contrition either: saying we are sorry with our words, but in our hearts we really aren’t (as our lack of change proves), which makes our confessions in vain.
If we have a little contrition, we will receive little grace, but as our contrition grows, the grace we receive from this great sacrament will increase too.
Hopefully, our grace will grow into enough grace to move our souls into having true sorrow for one sin and then continue to grow from sin to sin all the way into true sorrow for every sin (a saving faith). To learn more please read, “How Can Bad Confessions Damn Us” and “Can I Be Forgiven of Some Sins and Not All Sins.”
“Bad confessions damn the majority of Christians.”
–St. Theresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church
Whole Population of Deceived
Sadly, there is a whole population of poor deceived souls, who think forgiveness is received when we simply “confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)...well, we could be forgiven and saved if our confession of faith we made was true. But simply confessing with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, when the confession we make is from very hardened hearts of self-love…is only blaspheme.
“Whoever claims to abide in him ought to live [just] as he lived” (1 John 2:6).
For most, if we are changing, it is so little; it is only with the sins we feel necessary to amend, moving so slowly from such a small faith…our faith must GROW into a great saving faith…our Goal must be perfection– to “be imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1)...if we want our confession of faith to be true.
Can’t See Our Sins
One of the great problems is, the devil has deceived most of us so greatly, we don’t know what is a sin and what isn’t anymore. It is tragic! What is bad we think is good and what is good we believe is bad. Oh, we are so used to justifying and covering our sins, we are blindly, willingly committing countless offences against God.
Even if God sends someone to enlighten us to our great need to repent and change, most suffer from a “I didn’t do it” attitude (much pride) as we come up with every excuse/justification in the book why we aren’t guilty. We don’t want to see our sins, so to change. We prefer to act like we are good instead.
From great sins like fornication (sexual relations before marriage) and watching pornography, to lesser sins like exaggerating and worrying, many don’t even realize these are in fact sins (things we do that offend Our Creator), which if left unrepented kills.
A sin is anything we do that isn't to know, serve and love God....anything that isn't God's will done for His honor and glory.
Every thought we think, word we speak, or action we perform, must bear those qualities or it is a sin. If we are not sure what is a sin ask ourselves, does God will us to do it… is it for His glory so to love Him? If not, it is a sin.
“Whatever you do, do EVERYTHING for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Look into every thought we think and ask ourselves, “why am I thinking that…is it to love and trust in God?” Or, “Why am I saying what I’m speaking…is it for God’s honor and glory?” Or, “Why did I do what I did…is it God’s will?”
Yes, we sin countless sins. If we don’t see the magnitude of our sinfulness, we are suffering from the evil one’s blindness.
Remember, God wants us to seek to be without sin, any sin…to become saints.
Beware, some will say after we work to stop some of our sins, “I have been so good…now I hardly have any sins.” Well, we might have been able to avoid certain sins we were seeking to amend (the ones we can “see”), which is good, but if we really think those are all of our sins, oh how wrong are we.
Are we now a real self-sacrificing perfect saint? No! We are quite deceived.
To learn more please read, “How to See My Sins.”
Don’t Live the Lie
If we continue to lie to ourselves, only looking at the good we do, not wanting to see our sinfulness (thinking that is the way to happiness), there will be no hope for us, and eternity is everything! We must be with the “few.”
Only the humble–those who know their real sinfulness and great need for God’s mercy–know The Way. Beg God to teach us the truth about our lack of real faith. We must come to see our great misery–all the ways we aren’t just like Jesus and gain a great desire to change…Or we love sin and not God.
We must come to know the sins we intentionally hide so we won’t see them; the sins we think little of…all because we don’t really want to change; and the sins we love as we continue to repeat them. Yes, we must come to know how we are offending God, since we can’t repent and work to change what we refuse to even admit.
Despite our good works, sacrifices, confessions and prayers, are we really still complacent with many of our offences against Our Lord–thinking of amending one, but not another–all from a lack of TRUE love for God and lack of TRUE hatred for our sins?
Or do we not even see our sins and think we hardly commit them…Oh, the blindness we suffer from! Truly, salvation is hard to obtain.
“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).
God is Trying to Teach Us
Oh, but God hasn’t left us. Our Lord is trying to discipline and teach us…mostly through our crosses. What a blessing they are! Please don’t complain and run from His lessons (strive to remove suffering we are meant to carry).
Sadly, for most even if we accept them, we don’t look to learn from them so to change. We don’t hear God’s call. Oh, how much mercy is waiting for us through the cross.
“Oh, if sinners knew My mercy [that wants to help them], they would not perish in such great numbers” –Jesus to St. Faustina, Diary #1196
Truly, we should “not disdain the discipline of the Lord” (Hebrews 12:5) but look at God’s warnings through our suffering, so to see His lessons. Then change and spend our life running to Him, for mercy (grace), to grow in faith from having just some faith in Jesus into having a true saving faith in Christ.
Amazingly, God patiently tolerates our incredible sinfulness, and loving and helping us (if we will accept His love/help), hoping one day we will want to truly love Him in return.
But tragically most only grow in faith somewhat during our lives…perhaps in knowledge, a little trust, some in works and/or prayers, but not in true wisdom–fear of the Lord (fear of sin and its consequences), which is what is needed to take the FIRST STEP towards the path of Life. Consequently, we have not grown into a saving faith–like I said, mostly because we aren’t seeking one.
Today, this is mainly because we are not preaching that we need to have a saving faith/true sorrow to accept God’s sanctifying forgiving grace for salvation.
Fear of the Lord
We lack the desire to seek a saving faith because the devil has prided us, blinded and muted us. Outside of hearing this truth from the saints, this reality is rarely if ever taught. Yet, this is what is needed to be saved. We need Fear of the Lord: fear of sin and its great consequences or we will have no incentive to seek God’s mercy to save us. We will go to Him with deceived, proud hearts and receive nothing.
Horribly, we are dying and nobody is trying to save us! We must preach the truth.
Tragically, from living in great darkness, we don’t spend our lives seeking Our Savior’s transforming grace (mercy) to change us and increase our faith. No, we spend our lives seeking everything else, to bring us happiness, making them our idols.
We do not “fear the Lord and serve him completely and sincerely” (Joshua 24:14). Sadly, we serve Him sometimes and serve ourselves (sin), seeking worldly pleasure, for the rest. Horribly, as a result, we wind up not knowing The Way and rejecting helping and saving mercy for the world–sin.
Who Are We Following?
Are we truly following the saints, who obtained salvation, who we know have correct wisdom and direction to guide us to Life? Or do we still feel we are given more wisdom than them so we don’t obey/follow their direction? Or do we follow others or read books written by others (non-sanctified souls), who might mean well and say lovely things, but they too are deceived and mistakenly leading us to our doom (a lukewarm life-not working to stop sinning so to love God)?
St. Anslem, Doctor of the Church tells us, “Do not follow the great majority of mankind, but follow those who enter upon the narrow way, who renounce the world [give up its pleasures], who give themselves to prayer [unceasing prayer], and who never relax their efforts by day or by night [to obtain true sorrow/saving faith and grow towards perfection], that they may attain everlasting felicity [bliss]” (The Four Last Things, Cochem, Ch. 4).
Do we renounce the world’s pleasures and what we want for God’s will and “deny [ourselves]” (Mark 8:34) and choose the cross so we can desire God alone and help save souls like Christ did for us? Do we really strive to “pray without ceasing” (Mark 8:34) so we will always love God and do God’s will? Do we never relax our efforts to amend our ways “[never letting God’s] law depart from your lips. Recite it by day and by night, that you may carefully observe all that is written in it; then you will attain your goal?” (Joshua 1:8). Or are we trying to find God or happiness a different way?
“The command has been written: Cling to the saints, for those who cling to them will be sanctified [be a saint in Heaven].”
–Pope St. Clement of Rome, Divine Office Vol. III, pg. 455
Like I said, how can we really love God, obtain a saving faith and be truly sorry for any sin if we aren’t even trying to stop sinning, if we aren’t really following the saints examples, if we aren’t truly trying to live the Word, which is much more than just not steeling or not killing? We can’t.
God’s law is dynamic; it is living the entire Word, and we must seek to perfectly obey all of it, if we truly believe The Word (Jesus) is The Way. Remember the “road is HARD that leads to Life” (Matthew 7:13-14).
It is hard to leave what we love…sin. Any boy do we commit many many of them from having a liking for them. To rid this desire for sin, are we working hard to LIVE the Word…never relaxing our efforts…like the saints? Or do we think our mild efforts are enough or are we not even trying at all?
Please don’t be deceived. Living the true faith is by seeking to become “perfectly holy” (1 Thessalonians 5:23 ). Yes, we “are called to be saints.” (Romans 1:7)…not to just become better people or to know God better.
Are We Becoming Saints?
And a true saint isn’t someone who’s goal is to go around trying to make people happy either. Jesus didn’t do that.
A true saint strives to stop offending God by seeking to perfectly live The Word–live His will–with the burning goal of SAVING OTHERS SOULS by:
- Helping others to see their sinfulness (cf. James 5:19-20),
- Helping others in their needs (cf. 1 John 3:17),
- Guiding/teaching others to The Way (by example and sometimes by word) (cf. Matthew 28:20),
- Praying, suffering and sacrificing for others (cf. John 13:15), so from our love, God may send grace to help others continue to change, so to gain a saving faith and merit the Eternal Reward…like Jesus did for us.
Do we do this? Are we really working hard for this goal…are we striving…truly striving to follow Jesus and obey God’s law…ALL of the law, “to be perfect just as our Heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48) like the saints tell us we must?
Or do think obedience isn’t necessary or think it isn’t possible, so we don’t even try? What little sorrow we have for our sins; what little love we have for God! We aren’t even trying to not offend Him.
“The true believer practices what he believes. But of those who pay only lip service to faith, Paul has this to say: They profess to know God, but they deny him in their works. Therefore James says: Faith without works [becoming like Christ] is dead.”
–Pope St. Gregory the Great, Divine Office, Vol. III pg. 1516, July 3rd
Perhaps, we lie to ourselves and “say” we are working to stop all of our sins–that we are striving to become a saint–but in reality, which God knows, we don’t really have any real resolutions to amend our sinful ways. Or perhaps, we are only seeking to amend the sins we find wrong…loving the rest. We must change!
Some do removal sin, but just to replace it with another. They aren’t growing into the image of Christ, but trading sin for sin.
Oh, we might be growing in knowledge of the faith or in prayers and works, but not true holiness–not becoming like Christ–removing sin after sin, attachment after attachment, sacrificing and suffering to save souls, striving to be true “imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1). We are just growing in pride.
Tragically, we are far from a faith that saves as our constant habitual sins and lack of change from our lack of real effort to become like Christ proves.
“The elect [those who obtain Heaven], who are willing to be made conformable to the crucified Christ by carrying their cross are few in number. It would cause us to faint away from grief to learn how surprisingly small is their number.”
–St. Louis De Montfort, The Letter to the Friends of the Cross, Part II, #14
I understand there is much confusion with the wrongful preaching and falsities being spread. Oh, the misguidance is incredible…what helps grow in faith is said as not necessary and what hurts our faith is praised as good. Today, the understanding of what is sinful and what is not simply isn’t understood by most. However, this misguidance should be expected.
“For such people [who unknowingly guide us to our doom] are false apostles, deceitful workers, who masquerade as apostles of Christ [faithful people]. And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light. So it is not strange that his ministers also masquerade as ministers of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
Someone even created a tale, which is spreading like wild fire, that Our Lord told St. Gertruide the Great that we can pray a certain prayer and a 1000 souls are freeded from Purgatory, but that simply isn’t true at all. That complete exaggeration makes it seem like there are billions of souls in purgatory and its easy to be freeded. However, we can read the truth ourselves.
We can be smart and check what the saints actually say. Her and many saints writings are available on-line. Sure it can be a little challenging to find some quotes with the many books and translations out there but it is worth our effort to not be deceived.
We can search the pdf file (type control F on our keyboard to open a text search) and we can see there are many prayers written by St. Gertruide, but not the one we are supposed to pray. And nowhere does it say a 1000 or any number of souls are freeded by praying any certain prayer.
But rather it says how a SOUL OF GREAT FAITH, who prays devoutly, can be of great benefit in helping to free many souls from purgatory.
Become a Person of Great Faith
If we desire to help or save souls (even our own) we need to become a person of great faith too–like the saints. Just rattling off a prayer without true devotion (which is hard to obtain) doesn’t do much if anything.
Sure sometimes God does show special favor to one prayer over another. But truly, how much good would any prayer be if we have little faith/charity?
It is a heart of true faith that God can really use. “The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful” (James 5:16). We must be careful to not be deceived. Such lies are killing us by making us lukewarm and not concerned with our eternity.
Oh, we need Our Savior and every angel and saint in Heaven’s help. Mercy (grace) is waiting to teach us and help us grow in faith so we can come to truly hate our sins and embrace God’s most merciful gift of Eternal Life.
If you want to help spread the truth and build a beautiful holy Church please become a disciple learn “How to Build a Holy Church.”
Salvation is by the Forgiveness of Our Sins
Truly, 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). And if we aren’t sorry, truly sorry–willing to suffer even death than sins any sin–even a venial one–as the Catechism teaches, we reject Eternal Life to stay in that sin.
This perfect forgiveness of every sin that brought us Life was first obtained by Christ’s sacrifice at our baptism and it is kept in our souls by godly grief–having TRUE SORROW FOR ALL OF OUR SINS.
“Godly grief [true sorrow] produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief [false sorrow] produces death”(2 Corinthians 7:10).
Oh, how many think we are truly sorry, when God who reads our hearts knows we have just worldly grief or no actual sorrow at all! To learn about the different kinds of sorrow please read the article “What is True Sorrow?”
Oh, “how few the Elect are” as St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church, warns us in his commentary on Matthew!
Our hearts aren’t truly sorry for our great offenses committed against God, mostly because we don’t really want to know our sins and aren’t doing what is necessary to change. Meaning: we are rejecting God’s helping and saving grace to stay in our sins.
Tragically, as St. Aquinas, Doctor of the Church, in his Summa Theologica I q.23, art.8, teaches us “those who are saved are in the minority”…even though God sends us so much mercy and wants us all in Heaven.
“Many, I tell you, will attempt to enter [Heaven] but will not be strong enough [for we lack a saving faith]” (Luke 13:23-24).
Where is Our Suffering?
So we can begin to see our errors in thinking, so the devil won’t own us for all eternity, I will speak briefly on the suffering we should have.
God who reads our hearts (cf.Luke 16:15), knows we mostly seek our own advantage. We simply don’t hate our offences against God enough to be willing to be embarrassed, taken advantage of, ridiculed, work hard, discomforted, lied about or suffer anything rather than become like Christ.
The truth is, we don’t seek to really follow Him. Oh, we might perform some effort to not commit certain sins, but we aren’t really seeking to become saints–to sin no more. And all it takes is to be complacent with just one sin and we reject it all!
“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)
We will chose to not commit sins we think are very wrong, but sadly for the rest, we prefer to get what we want, justify our anger/unforgiveness and protect ourselves from the cross (any suffering/discomfort), at the expense of God suffering from our sins. Becoming like Him, whom we should be following to Heaven, is hard…and we aren’t working to do just that. We have much self-love and such little love for Him.
My friend, unfortunately, from not correctly seeking God’s grace, very few grow in their sorrow, from just some sorrow into gaining a true godly grief–a true hatred–for every sin because we don’t really want to be like Christ..
Such a great loss of life. An eternity in terrifying anguish awaits so many as God and the saints have been warning us. We desperately need God’s mercy to give us a saving faith!
* 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.
Oh, many are part of the faith, but so few actually live it!
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 much more than we might think. But to start understanding it we need to realize it is much more than simply feeling badly about sinning. This hatred, which is true, isn’t in word alone (cf. 1 John 3:18) either. Like I said, how can we truly love God and truly 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?
God deserves 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 nothing to be concerned about.
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 we 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 for most is we 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.
One of the big problems is, we don’t know how to love, and we are addicted to love from others. We want to love and that is good, but we have been tricked into thinking loving someone is making them smile and feel happy so we spend our life trying to do that for others and obtaining it for ourselves. Now sometimes there is nothing wrong with seeking to please another or bringing a smile to another’s face but that surely isn’t the example of what God showed us true love is so that should never be our goal. What is the ultimate goal for why we do what we do? Is it just to make someone happy…I hope not. That isn’t love. To learn more please read “How Can I Really Love.”
We may think we are such a loving person from our outward acts of love, but in God’s eyes we very well might be a misery drowning in pride, priding ourselves on our “good works,” craving the love of the word (idle chatter, complements, things, and all sorts of attention from family and friends) and not love from God alone. We should be running from the pleasures of the world, but we are running to them to find love and happiness and not God.
“One who does not renounce all creatures that captivate the heart…will never attain to My love.”
–St. Anthony Claret, (The Golden Key to Heaven, Meditation 22)
Most of the time when we think we are loving another, sadly our “good deeds” are done from prideful misguided motives. We just don’t recognize the self-love and poor choices coming from our actions because our sins have blinded us. Everything we do must have the ultimate intention to guide others to the Light, as that was Jesus’ intention for all He did.
Sadly, we wind up filling up ourselves and others with worldly love pulling us and others right away from God and His perfect love. We aren’t really loving one another but tragically, we are helping to kill them.
We have been tricked. We don’t know the Way and think we are righteous because we have so many friends and everyone loves us, because we believe we have a great relationship with God, or perhaps we think we are saved because we have changed some parts of our lives and consider ourselves 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 [our will for worldly pleasure] and take up his cross daily [not complain about suffering and challenges] and follow me [truly live the Word by choosing the cross]” (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 and pleasures and justify why that is perfectly fine. 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).
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. We still continue in our sinful habits without change.
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, most 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 our crimes against Him. 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, are in a bad mood, 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, even when we are hungry, tired and sick, 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 whatever He allows to happen will lead to great good but that is only for those who trust in Him.
Sadly, 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) not so we can run around in self-pity and despair. The cross is meant to save us!
We shouldn’t become stressed or upset over anything (except sin–and even then it should be met with much patience and sorrow, not anexity). As St. Faustina said, when we trust in God, we should “fear nothing except sin” (Diary #309). True trust being great peace!
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. Please don’t blame a lack of food, medication, tired or running late, etc. for why we are irritable. It is from a lack of grace from our sins rejecting it. Sure those issues might make it harder to love, but with grace “nothing” makes us stumble. That isn’t the WHY we are looking for…that is just an excuse as to why we sinned not the real reason.
The WHY we need is something like this, lets say we were very busy and had our entire day planned, then someone called and said they needed us to help them. Not wanting to be seen as a unchatarable person, we stopped what we were doing but with a complaining heart helped another. Why were we such an unloving servant? The WHY might be, “I sinned because I didn’t want to let go of my will when tested and wanted to do what I desired and not to suffer (be inconvenience). I wanted things to go the way I planned since I’m self-serving, not a true servant of Christ, who trusts in myself and not what God has allowed for me to do.” That blatant honest WHY is how we will come to know the sin under the sin and grow in humility.
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 we come to see some sins, 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 sins 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–less severe–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)in which we have
To help 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 [isn’t truly resolved 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 than we see ourselves. 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, but 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, most 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 might believe somewhat, but tragically, not enough to strive to perfectly obey. We don’t understand the Way correctly 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)
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 simple human minds to understand. But even with our very limited intellect many of us see much of God’s love as He has answered many prayers. Many have had healings and even miracles. Some have had first hand experiences of what happens when we live the true faith and some have responded to God’s love and have continued to grow wanting to truly become a saint. While others have pretty much made God’s healing or our experience of living the true faith once, the height of our faith and have grown no further since then. Nonetheless, God has done so much for us; His mercy is incredible. But much of the time, all of the blessings we see, are only because God is trying over and over again to lead us to the Light.
Sure sometimes those signs are God telling us we are on the right path of some growth, but He wants to motivate us to continue to change and look of the whole Truth so we can be saved. Not to make that event the height of our faith, but to grow to Him. But those signs of love most certainly don’t prove we are in the state of grace–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 and truly love Him in return (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.
Tragically, Many Just Take and Take God’s Love
Oh, we want all of God’s love, but sadly, we don’t want to trust and LOVE HIM IN RETURN. 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 for most of us, our actions are far from that of true gratitude and praise 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. Everything 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.
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 sins 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 habitual venial sins are still permitted to exist and still receive Holy Communion if we are resolved to amend that sin and can (to the best of our ability) muster our being into true contrition 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 grow 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 just 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, sadly most of us are far from the correct path. Most don’t even know what the path is. And if we want to find it, the devil will do his best 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 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 atheists have this kind of sorrow when they do wrong. That isn’t sorrow for offending God, but that from 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 or 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 all 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 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 truly 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 in Hell 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 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 enlighten 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. Then, 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 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 more and more grace is received, we will finally rather die than commit our sins again. Wonderfully, when we obtain this kind of saving faith, we won’t have a shred of self love attached to any sin. This magnificent 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. Therefore, they 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. 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 (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, truly believe 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 for sinning we can get so we can run away from sin and run to God wholeheartedly with true humility so our hearts can receive the grace needed to obtain it. Then after we obtain a saving faith, 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)
When someone is dying, we must know God sends much grace, from our merits and/or the prayers/sufferings of others in the hopes to save our souls. God’s mercy is so perfect, even someone who has rejected Him their entire life, God will welcome him into Heaven if he only truly repents. Horribly, even though this fantastic mercy is right before us, most still reject this grace from unknown love for sin.
But it is possible that someone can be so moved, at the moment of death, and 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 loving and living for His will perfectly not their own.
That is why praying and suffering for the dying is the greatest gift we can give to someone in their last hour. Also, the sacraments of the last rights, correctly administered, 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 can know what to change and how miserable of a sinner we truly are so we can open our hearts 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 honestly 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, thinking we were saved, 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 into 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, listening to God speaking to us, 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 that is noticed, 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); God allows everything 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 and especially “How to Become a Saint.”
Let Go of the World’s Pleasures
The main reason we are not seeking a saving faith correctly is because we are distracted with the pleasures of the world and all of our worldly goals. We desire them and not God alone.
Even if we don’t have them, we want them…lunch with a friend, success at work or with our ministries (for self-glory), vacation or entertainment, getting our nails done, watching the next movie, getting a better phone, car, clothes, toy, etc. All of that…and a billion other things I didn’t mention, which are different from person to person, keep us from God. We go to them for happiness and not God alone. We don’t use them as God has intended–to serve Him–but to serve ourselves.
We need to change our life’s goals, from the smallest to the largest and make all of them to know, serve and love God so we can practice true faith, hope and love so to obtain Heaven and finally learn how to really love God through loving our neighbor…the way Christ loved us.
We can’t “say” we love God when we really crave pride (love, attention, control, power), greed (money, things), lust (sexual gratification), envy (jealousy), gluttony (anything outside of moderation), wrath (anger) and sloth (relaxation comfort), instead of desiring God alone. This must change. Let go of it all.
“To what a state have Christians come? Must those who owe you most always treat you worst…we forfeit [deny ourselves of] nothing in retiring [leaving] from the world, for if Christians show you such disloyalty, what could we hope for…[we] have justly bought eternal fire with the pleasures.”
–St Anthony Mary Claret, (Autobiography, Ch. 13)
Our hearts must grow to disdain the world’s pleasures, and it will after we are finally given the grace to see that they have kept us from knowing, serving and loving Our Beloved Lord.
To win the race for the Crown, we have to give up ALL of the world’s pleasures that keep us from following Christ. Yes, anything we do that isn’t to know, serve and love Christ–anything that is to indulge (for self-love)–anything that isn’t for God’s honor and glory, must go…from wasteful shopping or web-surfing to watching some fruitless TV show or chatting with our friends. Oh, there are about a gillion things we do that wast our precious time that is for self gratification, not to gain a saving faith and love God by way of the Cross.
“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 2:15).
Please don’t allow the devil to deceive us and say, “Oh, I don’t ‘Love’ the world” to convince us to stay with our attachments to the world…so we will continue to seek them for happiness, and not God alone.
We have to “run [the race against the devil] so as to win” (1 Corinthians 9:24):
- living a life of self-denial,
- intentionally sacrificing the pleasures of the world for the Cross,
- suffering/picking up our cross–with joy–for the salvation of souls, like Christ did for us.
Are we truly living the Word?
If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
We must live all of the Word, all of the time not just parts of it, part of the time? What parts are we ignoring? Those are the parts we are rejecting God, to stay in our sin. We must strive with all of our heart to live all of the Word all of the time if we want to win the race.
Remember, we could be rejecting all of the Word or just one small part of it, but if we reject any of it…even the smallest letter…we reject the Crown of Life. This is the truth. If we desire one thing, one comfort, one praise, anything that isn’t to know, serve or love God we reject it all…from desiring sin. Oh, if we were only honest with ourselves, we would see how we really aren’t doing all we can to stop ALL of our sins against Our Creator, then we could seek His mercy, with real humility and change.
“It pains me to see so many pitiful blind people fleeing hurriedly from the very gracious offer [Eternal Life] of the Master…My soul is extremely distressed when I see these truly blind people…who’s passions [for the world] have robbed them of wisdom…They are constantly on fire with thousands of desires for earthly satisfactions…Jesus extends his very tender invitation to come and drink the living water, but…what response does he get from these wretched people [they still want the world]?”
–St. Padre Pio ( Letter, Oct. 10, 1915)
Truly, are we like an Olympian who “drive[s] my [our] body and train[s] it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified [loose salvation]” (1 Corinthians 9:27)? To live the Word we must strive for great discipline so to comply with God’s directions. And that takes a lot of work.
But we are lazy and most have hardly any discipline at all, falling into every kind of temptation and not changing; or we are changing so slowly from such little faith. We aren’t growing into God’s image, into a saving faith and are practically the same person today as we were yesterday, committing the same sins over and over again. Or perhaps we are suffering even greater blindness and don’t even see our temptations and chronic failures to obey. We need Jesus to enlighten our minds to our misery that truly lives with in us so we can begin the race to Life and grow into a mature saving faith.
But reality is, we don’t fear being disqualified, since the devil has stolen our belief in the Word (Jesus). If we really believed we would be seeking God’s mercy (help) to save us and would be changing into a beautiful saint that truly seeks to live the Word perfectly–by that of love of the Cross (joyfully suffering and sacrificing the pleasures of the world for the salvation of souls).
Suffering is the Way to Christ
God knows WE NEED SUFFERING. Suffering is what will bring us to a saving faith.
The reason we don’t know the Way is because we don’t intentionally deny ourselves of pleasure and pick up our crosses. Every moment we chose self-love, we reject the Cross–we reject the Way to Eternal Life. Most tragically, few love the cross nor rejoice in our sufferings (cf. Romans 5:3-5). We don’t understand the message of the Cross and think suffering and rejecting pleasure is foolishness, something to rid from our lives.
“The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).
The evil one has convinced us our suffering is bad, that God doesn’t want us to suffer, but that is far from the truth. The only reason why we still don’t understand nor love the cross (our suffering) is that we are still without enough grace to comprehend it because we are still on the road to perishing as the Word tells us. Until we gain enough wisdom to truly seek a saving faith, we will continue to be bewildered by our suffering and desire to run from it.
Sure God technically doesn’t want us to suffer. He originally created Earth as a blissful place, but since sin, now “the whole world is under the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19) and now we must suffer because of that sinfulness to gain a saving faith since our sin have rejected it.
Oh, some might “say” we want the Cross, but we live deceived by our pride because, when things don’t go the way we want or someone doesn’t treat us how we like. Then we complain or become angry. When challenges, inconveniences, pain, discomforts, work and sacrifice comes alone, we don’t want God’s will. We try all we can to rid our crosses from our life, not seeking God’s, but our own. We don’t live to love, we want to be loved. We don’t love to serve, we want to be served. We don’t know the Way.
We think we deserve better as if we are without sin and don’t need to atone for all of our crimes against God. Sure nobody “deserves” to be mistreated since we are all children of God, but do we really deserve a good life, when we are really horrid sinners. What life do we really deserve? From our great sinfulness, we deserve nothing but the cross.
Why do we think the saints wanted all sorts mistreatment and suffering? They knew they were great sinners and needed the cross. Why don’t we? The saints were humble and loved the cross. They knew of the power of its great mystery and wanted to save souls through it. Isn’t there a sinner that could use the grace from our suffering to turn them from even a single sin? We an reduce God’s anguish. Can’t our suffering help stop at least one crime against Perfect Goodness? Where is our love for God and our neighbor? We need to pray to God, accept His grace and change so we can have such faith too. That is a faith that can save, the faith we need.
“There are many who arrive at the faith, but few who are led into the heavenly kingdom”
–Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church, (“On the Gospels,” Homily 19, Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers).
Listen to St. Ignatius of Antioch…who wrote such a wonderful discourse about the love of suffering in his Letter to the Romans just about 70 years after Christ’s death. “Now as a prisoner [for Christ but still in sin] I am learning to give up my own wishes [to let go of my will]…I am more and more trained in [correct] discipleship by their ill usage of me, but I am not therefore justified [not saved]. How happy I will be with the beasts which are prepared for me! [to bring me to a saving faith]… “
St. Ignatius continues,“Now I am beginning to be a disciple. May nothing visible or invisible rob me of my prize, which is Jesus Christ [Salvation]! The fire, the cross, packs of wild beasts, lacerations, rendings, wrenching of bones, mangling of limbs, crushing of the whole body, the horrible tortures of the devil – let all these things come upon me, if only I may gain Jesus Christ!” Oh, what joy the cross is for those who have the grace to truly understand…to all else this is quite incomprehensible and seems impossible for us, but it isn’t.
Sadly, few know the Way and truly want the Cross (suffering and sacrificing) which is so beautiful and saves our souls. It is the very medicine we need to correct our ills–our desire for sin.
Carrying our cross, like Christ has done for us–truly following Him–saves us by:
- proving our love for God from our willingness/desire to suffer for Him,
- helping us grow into His image of true love,
- gaining greater trust in Him to bring us into a saving faith through the cross, “
- consoling our Lord for all of the atrocities committed against Him, “Is there no one to take pity on me and share My sorrow in the pitiful state to which sinners reduce Me, especially at the present time?” –Jesus to St. Margret Mary (Autobiography, #108)
- atoning for our sins (if we are in the state of grace),
- sending helping (actual) grace to us and others to guide and strengthen us to reject sin and live the Word and obtain Heaven, “You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone” –Jesus to St. Faustina (Diary # 1767),
- helping us grow in perfect love of God,
- giving us a greater understanding of the consequence of sin,
- increasing our contrition (sorrow) for our sins,
- leading us to the Way (teaching us the path that Jesus took so we can find Heaven), etc.
Such goodness awaits. Yet, the devil has us in his trap and we don’t want to joyfully pick up our crosses from the smallest to the biggest, to receive such wonderful grace; we want to run from them.
“I had no leisure except to think of how I could love Him by crucifying myself.”
–St. Margaret Mary (Autobiography, #36)
Do we want this kind of love? It is waiting for us. Our Lord gives this profound love to us, but we won’t ever receive it unless we at least want to perfectly obey Him. We must seek to perfectly obey God first before we can receive the grace to want to die for the love of Him.
Please understand, every cross we reject, we are choosing our will over God’s and disobeying Him…thinking we know the Way and not God. We are rejecting the medicine God has given us to save our souls by not wanting to suffer, all the while loving and trusting ourselves over God…that is idolatry.
The deceiver has us seeking the easy, comfortable life free from as much suffering as we can get. But that isn’t the Way…Look at the saints who found the Way. We can clearly see from their correct example, a life in the world, with its comforts or even hoping for its comforts, isn’t the Way. We need to come to hate the world and all of its pleasures (cf. 1 John 2:15), not long for them.
We can “say” we don’t love the world, but again that is the evil one trying to get us to justify our great desire for the world so we believe a lie and belong to him. Our words are meaningless, if they aren’t aligned with our hearts. Wanting to imitate Christ–literally follow Christ–is hard; we need to do it not only in our words, but most importantly in our actions…wanting to suffer for the salvation of souls.
“The greater part of men choose to be damned rather than love the almighty God [by imitating Him].”
–St. Alphonsus, Doctor of the Church declares (Treatises of Divine Love, Ch. 2).
We need to loose our taste for gadgets/technology, success–for self-glory, the desire for attention and love from others, yummy foods, sexual gratification, etc…and seek to fill our need with God, who fills our every desire. Believe! Go to Him. The world just keeps us from Him. We need to desire God; He needs to be our source of happiness if we want to Live.
Tragically, most never learn the Way, which results in countless lives being lost for all eternity because we still choose
Please run the race to win by way of the Cross. You will truly find God and begin to live a life of great peace and joy especially during suffering. Believe! This life isn’t for someone else, it is waiting for you!
The saints greatly trusted in God to strengthen and lead them to the path of Life; they ran the race to win…giving up the whole world to obtain it. And from their wholehearted persistence, they hoped in God’s mercy to deliver them for their desire for sin as they“work [ed] out your [their] salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12), and we should too. Their faith, hope and love wasn’t a sham, it was real from their proven real belief in God–the Word made Flesh.
Don’t Blaspheme Against the Holy Spirit
At the hour of our death, if we desire God’s saving divine mercy in our thoughts and words, but our hearts still desires any sin, we don’t truly want God. Then we “blasphemes against the holy Spirit” (Mark 3:28-29)….yes, we lie to God claiming we want Him, but our hearts, who God clearly reads, tells the truth (cf. Luke 16:15)…that we don’t truly love God.
Then we literally reject God’s saving divine mercy and choose Hell because we still had a liking for some sins; we lacked true sorrow for all of our crimes against Our Creator–sadly, WE DIDN’T TRULY WANT HIM. We still wanted some wretched sin instead and rejected God for that sin.
Sure there are others ways, we reject Heaven and choose Hell (reject mercy), such as, not believing in God, despair against hope in God’s mercy to forgive if we have true sorrow, and an assortment of ways we confess badly, as I go into greater detail in this web-site. However, false contrition–from a lack of humility (not knowing one’s sinfulness)–is the main reason we, Christians, lose Eternal Life today.
But from the reality in which we live, since we love/desire sin very much–as our actions prove–tragically, even with Our Savior leaving Heaven and showing us the Way, we simply aren’t following Him…not really.
Horribly, we don’t know the Way. But God wants us to see. Therefore pray for humility and the Holy Spirit to enlighten us to the truth so we can understand or at least believe the wisdom of the saints and begin walking towards the path of Life following their example.
Please don’t be deceived or we will have no motivation to change. We all need to seek greater and greater contrition of our sins and a greater desire to live for God alone.
Only With God is Salvation Possible
We must “be holy yourself [ourselves] in every aspect of your [our] conduct” (1 Peter 1:15). Truly, we must grow in faith to honestly seek to “sin no more” (John 8:11) because we can’t bear offending God and harming our relationship with Him, whom we should be loving with all of our heart.
“In what ever situations we happen to be, we can and we must aspire to the life of perfection”
–St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church (Introduction to a Devout Life, ch. 3)
Does it seem impossible to gain a saving faith–to truly desire to leave all sin, renounce all pleasures and riches of the world that keep us from truly follow Christ–especially things that prevent us from living the life of the Cross: self-denial, sacrifice and suffering for the salvation of souls.
Well, the disciples thought the same and asked Christ, “Who then can be saved?” and Jesus replied, “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Truly, if we don’t correctly seek God’s transforming, helping mercy (our only hope), we will never obtain a faith that saves. But God is waiting to Help us…run to Him! God wants you in Heaven. Listen to His cry for souls, through His saints…His mercy (help) is waiting for you!
What ever we are spending our life doing is all in vain if we will choose torment for eternity because we didn’t spend our time seek a saving faith, which is the entire purpose for our life.”What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself [his Eternal Life]” (Luke 9:25).
The devil doesn’t have to turn us all into atheists to kill us. No, he only needs to get us to think one small sin—one offence against Our Beloved Creator—is no big deal so we turn a blind eye to it. Then we lack a horror for sin, commit mortal sin, reject mercy, and choose sin over God and are lost for eternity. Do we believe? If we do, WE MUST CHANGE.
Preach the Message of Eternal Life
We need to preach this message over and over again as nothing is of greater importance.
The saints, the Word, and I don’t come to you timidly, with to much gentleness and political correctness that you can’t hear. “How can we be calm when we see Satan carry so many souls daily away” (St. Anthony Mary Claret (Autobiography, Ch. 13). Hopefully, I wasn’t too harsh, lacking meekness either. Nonetheless, this message is urgent! Please hear my cry, “it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep” (Romans 13:11). Your eternity depends upon it!
Yes, we have been deceived. But we don’t need to remain the same. After, you learn the Way, please become a disciple–a good shepard–and go out and proclaim the true Gospel that Saves to the World. Beware the devil wants us to become more concerned about what our boss or friends will think than God, as we become worried we might offend someone, so we do nothing or speak so reservedly, pretending like we are serving God, when really we aren’t as nobody can hear.
Please run with urgency and give the people a real reason why we should go to church and live the faith. Give them real fear of the Lord…light a fire in them so they will run the race to win.
Sure some people will still prefer the darkness and not believe (cf. John 3:19), and even treat us poorly for trying to save their souls, but we are to live to serve God…especially through the cross and save who ever can hear. God will use us, if we let Him. Please answer the call. To learn how to do this well please read “How to Save Anyone’s Soul.”
If our friends, family and parishioners aren’t very concerned about their salvation, with great fear of sin, then we either haven’t spoken clearly enough or they still prefer the darkness. Sure there is a time to speak and a time to remain silent, but listen for God to speak to you and go out and serve Him as He wills.
Truly, most people’s darkness is from our neglect. Most never even get a chance to seek a saving faith…since most have never had the Word correctly and clearly preached to them. We just walk around in darkness, lost. We don’t even know we need a saving faith or what it is.
However, if we are speaking in the tone of the saints, with all love, clarity and patience through prayer, some will hear and want to seek a saving faith. This tragedy of all tragedies can change with us. God is crying out for us to save the souls of His children. God Wants Us in Heaven! Please answer the call, become good shepards and then proclaim the Way with all courage and persistence through love. Our and others Eternal Life depends upon it.
“God calls for an accounting of his sheep from the wicked shepherds and inquires into the death of his sheep at their hands…[As God Said] When I [God] say to the sinner: You shall die, and you [shepards] do not speak to warn the wicked man from his wicked way, because of his wickedness he shall die, but you shall be held responsible for his death. If, however, you warn the wicked man to turn away from his wickedness, and he fails to do so, he shall die in his iniquity, but you shall have saved your soul.”
–St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church (Sermon on Pastors)
GodWantsYouInHeaven.com is under construction and needs to be edited and parts still built. However, this site is left open to the public so, if God wills you to visit, He can still encourage you to strive to surrender your life to live for His will alone for the salvation of soul.
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).
“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!