How narrow is the Narrow Path?
Matthew 7: 13-14, 15-16, 21-23
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? "
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’"
(One would think that the above passage, by itself, would send the message of judgement. Sadly, it is sent but not well received.)
The wide road. Lately I've been calling it the 'wide freeway'. It's still wide but the speed of sin has increased dramatically. We might as well call it as it is. In 1979 the metal band AC/DC released a song, "Highway to Hell". I thought it was nothing more than a metaphor and perhaps it was, then. The "elephant in the room" is this: damnation is not spoken about. The consequences of sin are shoved aside in favor of fluff, marshmallow and candy-cane homilies.
Writing about judgement is very tricky as I know of the log in my eye (Matthew 7:3). I have come very far in my spiritual life, yet realize that, at any time, sin may come without warning (temptation is always present). And if I don’t get to confession, judgement is right around the corner.
1 Corinthians 4:5
“So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.”
In all things consider the end; how you shall stand before the strict Judge from Whom nothing is hidden and Who will pronounce judgment in all justice, accepting neither bribes nor excuses. And you, miserable and wretched sinner,who fear even the countenance of an angry man, what answer will you make to the God Who knows all your sins? (my emphasis)
Indeed, what answer will I give God who knows all my sins? Next, the patient man.
The patient man goes through a great and salutary purgatory:
when he grieves more over the malice of one who harms him than for his own injury;
when he prays readily for his enemies and forgives offenses from his heart;
when he does not hesitate to ask pardon of others;
when he is more easily moved to pity than to anger;
when he does frequent violence to himself and tries to bring the body into complete subjection to the spirit.
I’ve discovered that it is possible to elect to go through the purgative (purification) process on earth, so that it may help me get to heaven faster after I die. In fact, in the book “The Truth About Purgatory and the Means to Avoid It”, the author, Martin Jugie, writes about how to avoid purgatory altogether… but it takes work. (In fact, writing a good book is one of many Catholic actions he describes. It ranks up there with other actions such as prayer, forgiveness, and alms giving.)
It is better to atone for sin now and to cut away vices than to keep them for purgation in the hereafter. Every vice will have its own proper punishment. The proud will be faced with every confusion and the avaricious pinched with the most abject want. One hour of suffering there will be more bitter than a hundred years of the most severe penance here. (my emphasis)
Strive for Heaven:
The damned have no rest or consolation. The poor and humble will have great confidence, while the proud will be struck with fear. He who learned to be a fool in this world and to be scorned for Christ will then appear to have been wise. In truth, you cannot have two joys: you cannot taste the pleasures of this world and afterward reign with Christ. It is no wonder that he who still delights in sin fears death and judgment. (my emphasis)
Mortification (the action of subduing one's bodily desires) must be an important part of our lives to gain Sanctifying Grace. The New Catholic Encyclopedia (2003) defines mortification as the deliberate restraint that one places on natural impulses in order to make them increasingly subject to sanctification through obedience to reason illumined by faith. Jesus Christ required such renunciation of anyone who wished to come after Him (Luke 9.29). Common forms of Christian mortification that are practiced to this day include fasting, abstinence, as well as pious kneeling.
The mortified body will rejoice far more than if it had been pampered with every pleasure.
In that day persevering patience will count more than all the power in this world;
simple obedience will be exalted above all worldly cleverness; a good and clean conscience will gladden the heart of man far more than the philosophy of the learned; and contempt for riches will be of more weight than every treasure on earth.
Then holy works will be of greater value than many fair words; strictness of life and hard penances will be more pleasing than all earthly delights. Learn, then, to suffer little things now that you may not have to suffer greater ones in eternity. (my emphasis)
The virtue of humanity: All is vanity, therefore, except to love God and to serve Him alone. He who loves God with all his heart does not fear death or punishment or judgment or hell, because perfect love assures access to God. (my emphasis)
Reiterating previous posts, Holy Mother Church is in a state of chaos and confusion. It’s no accident. The Church has corrupt leadership. Many who are not corrupt are cowards; and I really don’t like using that word… but it’s appropriate. Any single Catholic, sitting on the fence about things like sodomy, polygamy and if the Holy Eucharist is, indeed, the True Presence of our Lord, are going to jump to one side or the other before this is over. If they choose the 'wide freeway' then both they and those who led them will suffer the consequence God deems necessary. (Read Ezekiel 33 regarding the sentinel.)
I have great respect for those ordained who speak God's Truth. However, they need our (the laity) help. As the Venerable Bishop Fulton Sheen once said, and I’m paraphrasing, we should not wait for the ordained to clean up the mess. It’s going to take us, the laity.
God Bless you!