Help with 2 questions please!


I have been trying to develop a deeper understanding of my religion, and have found these forums to be very interesting. I wondered if somebody could please help me with a couple of questions.

  1. I am supposed to love God above all things. How can I possibly love God more than my family on earth?

I found this article very interesting, but I’m not sure if it was written by a catholic.

  1. My mother does not believe in god and turned away from the church years ago. She is a good person, but I worry that she is going to go to hell because the is no longer a practising catholic. How could we possibly be happy in heaven if our loved ones are not there?

I’d be really grateful for your thoughts.

  1. You can love God ‘more’ because He ‘is’ your family too–Father and brother, ‘husband’, creator. . .not just of you but your family as well. He IS Love, He is the reason you and your family are here. And if you love your family, then you have even MORE love you can give to God, because love isn’t some ‘finite’ quantity that you can use up. The more love you have for your family, the more love you can give to God.

  2. I recommend C. S. Lewis’ short book, “The Great Divorce” which will help explain to you why heaven will be ‘happy’ for us, if we have been granted God’s grace to be there, and will not depend on anything ‘else’ that we might be thinking here. Remember, nobody ‘damns’ themselves accidentally. IOW, unless your mother (or anybody else) after death absolutely and totally refuses God’s grace, she will not be ‘damned.’ WE are the ones who refuse God. Therefore, being damned is NOT something that your poor mother will have ‘thrust’ upon her, for some ‘little’ thing, with her crying and moaning that ‘she didn’t mean to’, and begging to be forgiven, while God just turns away. I think a lot of people believe that God is like some monster demanding the impossible, or being totally ‘Vulcan-like’ and refusing anything short of ‘perfection’, and also that people are basically ‘good’ and that ‘innocent, petty sins’ are meaningless, and that NATURALLY when one dies and is offered, ‘heaven or hell’, EVERYBODY would ‘choose’ heaven, so that IF anybody went to hell it wouldn’t be by CHOICE.

But. . .it would be choice. Our choice.

Just keep praying for your mother, and modeling Christ to her in your love and caring. . .and do this for everybody, and pray to God for mercy for us all. . .and TRUST HIM. Nobody wants you–and your mother, and your whole family–in Heaven more than God. Nobody will do more to help that happen than He will. Trust Him and love Him.


The following paragraph from the website you gave explains it very well:
The application for this verse is simply that, you respect (love) Jesus to the extent that you are willing to obey and serve Him regardless. If this should divide you from your parents, then so be it. You don’t have to stop loving them but you must never allow them, or your children, or anyone else, to draw you away from serving the Almighty God in complete submission and obedience.

This is compatible with Catholic teaching. The Scripture quotes included in the article explain clearly that love of God consists in obedience to Him.
It can be difficult sometimes to hold true to the commands of God and His Church, especially when it may cause dissension in the family, or when others will ridicule you. Those times are the true test of our obedience to God’s command to love Him above all else.


It’s not.

About the author: Hendon was born September 20, 1930 near Gadsden Alabama. He attended public schools in Cherokee County, Alabama and after serving a tour of duty in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, attended Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, Alabama majoring in Business Administration. He became a Christian in 1948, and although he followed secular work as a career and retired from Allied Signal Aerospace in 1997, he is an avid student of the Holy Bible and related works as well as biblical history. He produces a bi-weekly publication, The Household of Faith Ezine which is free for the asking. Archives are accessible at: He is also the author of Final Stronghold, published in 2003, available from Amazon Books.

[FONT=Verdana]The fact is that we are expected love the Lord so much that by comparison we hate our families, but God by no means expects us to love them less than He does, meaning that you see them and love them with a heart that lives and breathes, “[/FONT]Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” [size=3][FONT=Verdana](John 15:13) I hope that helps.[/size][/FONT]

  1. My mother does not believe in god and turned away from the church years ago. She is a good person, but I worry that she is going to go to hell because the is no longer a practising catholic. How could we possibly be happy in heaven if our loved ones are not there?

I’d be really grateful for your thoughts.

Think in terms of joy so great that all grief is swallowed up by it.
Revelation 7:17 For the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall rule them, and shall lead them to the fountains of the waters of life, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away.

Besides, if you are concerned for her soul, you should consider offering her a ride to Mass with you, and (at least) praying the Novena of Divine Mercy for her. You may well be amazed at the results. I have been! :slight_smile:


Am I right in thinking that my mother would go to purgatory, and if she accepts God then that she would go to heaven? Like I said, she is a good person, but a non-believer.

I just still can’t grasp the idea of being happy in heaven without the people that I love most in this world.


You have a misunderstanding about Purgatory. Check out these articles, okay?
The Roots of Purgatory (Fathers*)


Check out the discussion at this thread It’s only 5 posts long.


I am confused! I had always thought that people like Ghandi (good people, but non-believers) would go to heaven based on their good works. I know that faith alone doesn’t guarantee salvation, because our souls are purified in purgatory. Would God really send people to hell for not believing in him even though they have tried to live good and moral lives?


Lynsey, your family is a gift from God. He created them knowing that you would love them. However, you should love the giver more than the gift - even on birthdays, right? Your life is not your own, but belongs to God, the Giver of life. You should love Him even for the gift of your own life.

A good rule I have learned for relationships is that if your spouse does not love God more than you, something is wrong. Conversely, if you do not love God more than your spouse (or family, friends, etc.) something is also wrong. If not for the love that God has for you, you would have no family to love. So, He is the greater and all else is the lesser.

As to heaven, I think that we will lose all sense of loss when there. Since we all know someone who may very well not ascend, Heaven itself would be spoiled if we had an eternity of sorrow at their loss. There will be no sorrow, but only joy when we are with Him. How this happens, we will have to place all faith and trust in Him. Consider this peak into the Kingdom, given by Christ:

Matthew 22:30 “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven”.

Thus, Christ assures us that all in Heaven is joy, as earthly relationships pass away, along with their imperfection. However, pray that your mother return to faith, for her reward will be the same even if she repent with her last breath:

Matthew 20:1-16 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ "When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

So, pray for her. Intercede for her. She cannot resist the power of the Holy Spirit. All the more likely He will be sent if you call upon Him.

Christ’s peace be always with you.


Do you want the readers digest condensed version… No one earns their way into heaven by doing good deeds, however doing good deeds is one way of accepting the grace of God. It is only by the grace of God, anyone goes to heaven. You could devote you’re life to good deeds and still go to hell. If I had been taught to do good deeds to appease the god of the turnip patch, all of the deeds would be wasted. If I do good deeds to earn my way into heaven, they are a waste. If I refuse do good deeds in disobedience to the Word of God my stubborn refusal is sin. God tells me to feed the hungry, this is meant in more than human food, it also includes the Word of God, we are to feed them the Word of God also. When I feed the hungry, out of obedience, I am doing a work, or deed that God demands me to do. If I refuse, not because I’m unable, I am sinning. However if a person doesn’t know Jesus as the Christ, he must follow the Word written in his heart to follow God.


If they get to heaven, then they get to heaven. Purgatory is not for those that were good people that didn’t believe in God. It’s for those who are going to heaven, but haven’t paid the price of the temporal sins. It’s a purging of the stain of sins that remain in us.

The Church does not condemn Ghandi to hell. It teaches what is the normal means of getting to heaven, but it allows for exceptions, for all things are possible with God.


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