I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about whether or not I will go to Heaven, Purgatory, or Hell. I would like to think that I'm definitely not going to Hell. I used to think that Hell was only for the really, really bad. That it was for murderers, adulterers, the God-less.... Now I'm not so sure. Could I possibly be going to the same place that these people are going, even if I try to live a holy life? Will God not accept me to Heaven if I forget to confess a sin? Will He not accept me with Him if I continue to yell at my children? Will He deny me eternal life if I continue to gossip?
Could these sins that I consider to be small, carry the same weight as these others for other people? I think the more I know about how to behave, God expects more of me. If I know I'm not supposed to gossip, then I should sure try hard not to. If I know I'm supposed to practice patience, then I darn better be doing that! So even if I weed out the big stuff, and mess up on the small stuff, will God deny me?
Then a friend of mine sent me this link to a sermon by Saint Leonard of Port Maurice. I'm not sure of who exactly he is, but his sermon certainly woke me up. I began thinking that I just might not make it to Heaven, even though I'm trying so hard. He says that there is a very small amount of us that actually even get to purgatory, never mind Heaven itself. I thought, "Boy, if I can make it to purgatory, at least I know I have a chance of getting to Heaven!" After reading this sermon, I'm not sure I would even make it to purgatory!
But I must not let that discourage me. I'm not about to give up. I want to be among the few who make it. I want all of my family and friends to be also. I think about getting to Heaven and what it will feel like to feel Jesus' love around me and to see God in all of His glory. I can't even imagine, but it's sure sounds like something I will want to experience.
Then today, I came across this video from Mother Angelica on
How to Avoid Purgatory:
She says it's easy! I suppose when you think about it, the rules are the rules. God says do this, and don't do that. It is really easy when you think about it that way. It's the devil that makes it hard for us. He is always there whispering in our ear that, "It's OK, God will understand. God wants you to be happy, right?" It's those nudges from the devil that makes our job a little harder here on Earth. And at the end of this video, Mother says that we must go to Church and participate in the Sacraments. We must live in the present moment and do God's will, right here, right now.
Mother talks about this very thing in her book Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality. In her chapter, The Present Moment, she has this to say:
Your Whole Life Is Now
In the Gospel of Matthew, the Lord tells us, "Set your hearts on His kingdom first and His righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow" (Matt 6:33-34). Now here is sentence we forget entirely: "Tomorrow will take care of itself." Why? Because tomorrow will soon be now! Have you ever noticed that there really is never a tomorrow? It's always now. Your whole life is now.
You know, people come to me and they consider their past life, and they say, "Oh, if I could just do the whole thing over again." You can. Maybe you can't change your situation-we can't always do that-and you have no way of knowing that any other situation would be better, it may be much worse.
Every moment of life is like God saying, "Look, I know you messed up the last moment, but here's a new one." Every moment you breathe, God's power envelops you and sustains you in existence. So every moment, no matter what you did in the last one, no matter if you were sinful, mean, impatient, unkind, or caustic, you have a fresh start in this new moment. Every day, every instant of your life is brand-new--you make it old by living in the past. And you make it a dream world by living in the future.
This seems so simple, but just really hard to do. But I know that God gives me plenty of opportunity to practice! It's so nice to think that God knows that I messed up, but enables me to make it right.
I figure if I follow the Commandments and all of the teachings of the Church, go to Confession often and make sure I get to Church every weekend, my soul will be in good shape! I just might stand a chance.
So what do you think? How easy do you think it is to get to Heaven? Where do you think you will end up?
Speaking the Truth
We don’t like to speak the truth about evil because we’re going to hurt somebody. Let me tell you, you are going to hurt somebody, but that Somebody is God. If you would rather hurt God than your neighbor, there is something wrong with your spirituality. It’s your obligation to speak the truth and everyone can either take it or leave it. But truth must be in us. We live in such poverty of the truth today.
- Mother Angelica
- Mother Angelica