Is the point just to make sure you don't die in mortal sin?

Sorry if this sounds crude, but I just got worrisome news from my doctor and it has me questioning my own mortality.

How do we Catholics get to Heaven?

Do we just make sure than whenever we die, we don’t have mortal sin?

Try reading The Weight of Glory. It’s not a long essay by C.S. Lewis, but it really helped me understand the demands of God. They feel like rules to obey at the beginning, but nothing God asks of you isn’t for your own good. To look at as a legal system to be beaten by sliding into a state of grace at the last second is to miss the whole point of Christianity.

Praying for your health.

Another great book is A Map of Life by Frank Sheed.

Sorry to hear that you have received this serious news, PT.

Being in a state of grace, no mortal sin on your soul at the time of death, is very important; however, remember that any leftover reparation that needs to be made will be taken care of in Purgatory.

it is also important to be close to God and to be growing in holiness. I looked up “Catholic growing in holiness” (no quotation marks) and got a slew of good ones. (This one is a good beginning, and has The Sweetest GIF (repeating mini-video).) (4 ways

Oops, posted before I finished!

4 Way to Grow in Holiness from St Terese is good, well, all have something to offer! My only recommendation is to not get overwhelmed, start small and work your way up.


Punisherthunder, I would suggest you make an appointment with your parish priest. You have a lot going on in your life right now. He will be able to advise you and point you in the right direction in a more personal way.

Whoa! I’m suddenly confused, here.

I always thought that…

If you die in a state of mortal sin (i.e., have an unconfessed mortal sin against you) you would go to Hell.

If you die in a state of grace (i.e., all your sins, both mortal and venial, have been absolved) you go straight to Heaven.

If you die in a state of venial sin (i.e., all mortal sins absolved, but still have unconfessed venial sins) you went to Purgatory for a while, then on to Heaven.

Are you saying that even if you die in a state of grace (with no unabsolved sins) you *still *go to Purgatory?

Click through the link in the post that you quote; it well explains what purgatory is. It’s the temporal punishment for sins. Confession doesn’t remove that. But indulgences do. That’s why the last rites include the Apostolic Pardon.

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Thank you.

I, like to OP, worry too much about my fate when I die. I struggle to lead a good life consistent with the teachings of God and the Church but I fall down a lot. A whole lot. I am so afraid that despite the fact that I strive to live a good and holy as possible life, I’m going to end up dying in a state of sin, possible mortal, and despite my best intentions my fate will be sealed because of “bad timing.”

It would be just my luck that I wind up going to Hell on a technicality.

Let me also recommend to you the essay that I suggested to the OP in my first reply. To concentrate on the negative is to miss the great gifts that God’s law provides. They only appear as a set of rules when you start out and follow them, as CS Lewis says, like a school boy doing his grammar exercises. But God wants you to be able to read the poetry. That’s why the law is there. Not to trap you in a technicality.

Yes one is to be in a state of Grace when one dies…

But that is not per se the focus…the focus in Jesus Christ the who was crucified and is risen - and through him the Trinity.

Following him…remaining in him…knowing his love…living in faith and hope and love…etc etc…

Finding true life in him…already here and then forever…

Jimmy Akin

God is not trying to trick you. Think of the teachings of the Church as an owner’s manual rather than an IRS tax code :wink:

Here is an article which talks about temptation pretty thoroughly. He mentions but doe not emphasize as much as I once would have needed, that if we do not give in to the temptations, we have not sinned. No matter how strong the temptation is, no matter how long it lingers, how many times it returns to us, if we do not give in, we have not sinned. The quote I was actually looking for when I found this. . .

Which I have finally found!
The more persistent the temptation, the clearer it is that you have not given consent to it. “It is a good sign,” says St. Francis de Sales, “when the tempter makes so much noise and commotion outside of the will, for it shows that he is not within.” An enemy does not besiege a fortress that is already in his power, and the more obstinate the attack, the more certain We may be that our resistance continues.

  1. Your fears lead you to believe you are defeated at the very moment you are gaining the victory. This comes from the fact that you confound feeling with consent, and, mistaking a passive condition of the imagination for an act of the will, you consider that you have yielded to the temptation because you felt it keenly.
    by Fr. Quadrupani*Light and Peace *

This is a great book and pretty short! And can also be found in audio at Librivox.

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I relate to this… A LOT! I’ve been worrying the same things and I really don’t want to go to hell. The only thing I can think of is to get a priest in there and call him whenever you need to. Get right with God when there is still time, but do not fear. God loves you any way you are. Just stay faithful and get all of your sins confessed to your best ability. God bless, and best of luck to you!

A short prayer for you:

Dear Lord in heaven,
Please help this child of yours to stay faithful in these hard times.
Please provide him/her with the strength and courage to carry out your will
and crush satan’s temptations as well as protecting them from any spiritual grief.
Please help them to grow closer to you than ever if this may be their last few days on this wonderful earth you created
and help them not to fear anything for you are always at their side. :yup:

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death,
Amen. :gopray2:

Wow. That was a difficult read (for me anyhow). I think I understand where Lewis is going with that but it is difficult for me to try and put it into practice. It’s like academics; some people study hard and become intimately knowledgeable of a subject and then there’s guys like me who cram and try to learn just enough to pass the exam.

The great gifts that God’s law provides may be wonderful, but that and five bucks will get you a Double Mocha Latte at Starbucks and that’s about it.

The bottom line for me is, what must I do to avoid going to Hell?

Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.

The road to perfection begins (not finishes) with ending one’s sin. If one lives long enough and accept the graces offered, one will no longer mortally sin. Then one gets busy on the remaining venial sins. We may never completely rid ourselves of the wickedness of our venial sins but we must strive to close the gap. Once one stops doing evil begin emphasizing doing good works. See Matthew 5. See you in heaven, I hope.

“I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day.”

~ Pope Francis (The Joy of the Gospel)

“Christian joy thus springs from this certainty: God is close, he is with me, he is with us, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, as a friend and faithful spouse. And this joy endures, even in trials, in suffering itself. It does not remain only on the surface; it dwells in the depths of the person who entrusts himself to God and trusts in him.”

~ Pope Benedict XVI Anglus 16 December 2007

“Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”

~ Pope Benedict XVI Deus Caritas Est

“Faith opens us to knowing and welcoming the real identity of Jesus, his newness and oneness, his word, as a source of life, in order to live a personal relationship with him. Knowledge of the faith grows, it grows with the desire to find the way and in the end it is a gift of God who does not reveal himself to us as an abstract thing without a face or a name, because faith responds to a Person who wants to enter into a relationship of deep love with us and to involve our whole life.”

~ Pope Benedict XVI (Sunday, 14 August 2011)

“If we are in relation with him who does not die, who is Life itself and Love itself, then we are in life. Then we “live”.”

~ Pope Benedict XVI (Spe Salvi)

So are you saying to stop mortally sinning and the graces will come? Or accept the graces and the mortal sin problem will go away on its own?

Not either / or, but both /and.

If you “only” avoid Hell, you may spend quite a bit of time in Purgatory, whose pain is less than Hell’s only because one knows one will eventually be with God.

Look at this like a marriage: if you married and *all *you did for the relationship was to avoid committing adultery, would it be that good of a marriage?

And Christ says something about people calling Lord, Lord, but He does not know them.

Being Catholic is kind of like a lifestyle rather than like taking a course. For one thing, you never know when the exam will be. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow, right? If you are trying only to avoid mortal sin, you might fall into it accidentally–not that that is easy, but that you will drift further and further from God and so fall into mortal sin a little at a time, with a member of the opposite sex, for example.

So the best goal is to become one who loves God. This will lead you to sainthood, which sounds hard to us where we are–far from sainthood!–but which we can attain gradually, step-by-step.

And how do we love God? We talk with Him, allowing Him to get to know us; and we get to know Him by meditating on, not just reading, holy books like the Bible. We avoid offending Him, and when we do offend Him, we run to Him to apologize (and go to Confession as soon as we can if the offense was very serious). And we give Him gifts, our little alms; we help Him out, by offering up our daily lives and showing His glory to the world. and we strive to become better people, to be more worthy of His love, just as a husband strives to be a better man to be worthy of the wonderful woman who married him, all the while realizing we could do *nothing *without His help, and therefore expressing our continual gratitide to Him.

If the negatives did not exist, one would not need to focus on them.

But when there is a “catch” - one must focus on not being “caught”.

So yes, we can’t do this, can’t do that, can’t do that other thing…negative…because that’s the catch - we can’t do those things and go to heaven.

They only appear as a set of rules when you start out and follow them, as CS Lewis says, like a school boy doing his grammar exercises. But God wants you to be able to read the poetry. That’s why the law is there. Not to trap you in a technicality.

There are those who never learn to read, because they have great difficulty in learning. They’re imperfect. They’re stupid. They’re ignorant. Things beyond their control. So, game over for them as well? If not, then which imperfections are permitted in heaven? None, per the book of Revelation.

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