Only few enter Heaven?


Can someone explain this scripture to me:

“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gare is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

There was another scripture I read that was similar. Does this mean only a few people will enter Heaven?


There are many discourses on the “two ways” highlighting the way to life and the way to death. This is one example.

No, it is not interpreted literally.


Here’s something from the USCCB that might be helpful:


Thank you!


But I do think we have to see it with the way are acting today.

Selfishness, doubting that there is a God, the lack of respect to life (such as abortion, death penalty, euthanasia) gay marriages, people not taking their marriages seriously and having affairs.

Many see it as “ok” or “well other’s do it”, and in reality that’s not what God wants. If we know that is wrong yet still do it, some of us might get the chance to repent, but most of us might not.


I don’t think Jesus was trying to give the demographics of heaven and hell here. Seems more like he is warning us that heaven isn’t a guarantee for anyone.

In other words, you can’t expect to just float in there without repenting and really living the gospel.


I agree!




Yes, very few are saved. I suggest reading this sermon by St. Leonard of Port

And I will back up my statement with numerous quotes of saints confirming this idea:

‘**Behold how many there are who are called, and how few who are chosen! And behold, if you have no care for yourself, your perdition is more certain than your amendment, especially since the way that leads to eternal life is so narrow.’ **
St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church

‘**The number of the elect is so small - so small - that were we to know how small it is, we should faint away with grief. The number of the elect is so small that were God to assemble them together, He would cry to them, as He did of old, by the mouth of His prophet, “Gather yourselves together, one by one” - one from this province, one from that kingdom.’ **

‘**Our chronicles relate an even more dreadful happening. One of our brothers, well-known for his doctrine and holiness, was preaching in Germany. He represented the ugliness of the sin of impurity so forceful that a woman fell dead of sorrow in front of everyone. Then, coming back to life, she said, "When I was presented before the Tribunal of God, sixty thousand people arrived at the same time from all parts of the world; out of that number, three were saved by going to Purgatory, and all the rest were damned.’ **
-St. Leonard of Port Maurice

‘**We owe God a deep regret of gratitude for the purely gratuitous gift of the true faith with which he has favored us. How many are the infidels, heretics and schismatic who do not enjoy comparable happiness? The earth is full of them and they are all lost!’ **
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Doctor of the Church

**‘The greater part of men choose to be damned rather than to love Almighty God.’

‘I was watching souls going down into the abyss as thick and fast as snowflakes falling in the winter mist.’ **
St. Benedict Joseph Labre

‘**What do you think? How many of the inhabitants of this city may perhaps be saved? What I am about to tell you is very terrible, yet I will not conceal it from you. Out of this thickly populated city with its thousands of inhabitants not one hundred people will be saved. I even doubt whether there will be as many as that!’ **
St. John Chrysostom, Doctor and Father of the Church

Nothing afflicts the heart of Jesus so much as to see all His sufferings of no avail to so many
St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney, the Cure of Ars, Patron Saint of Parish Priests

‘**There are many who arrive at the faith, but few that are led into the heavenly kingdom.’ **
Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor and Father of the Church

‘**Beyond a doubt the elect are few.’ **
St. Augustine, Doctor and Father of the Church

Convinced, now? Not only are the saints saying that the greater number of people are damned, the saints also say that the greater number of those in the True Church are damned.

Also, I some of the quotes I accidentally didn’t post who said them. All the quotes are found


No that is not what these verse means. When Jesus said many are called but only few have chosen which is similar to what are the verses you have picked out the Lord is referring to you in becoming a saint. Not many people had chosen to become a saint in this life. In other words they become very marginal. Why do some become saints in this life while others do not? In truth we all can be saints in this life. Now this means from those verses you have quoted that many do not chose the life to become a saint. It is a great mystery why only few achieve the status of sainthood in this life because no one can ever dismiss the fact they were called into it. Since many do not try to become saints in this life the Lord in His great Mercy has given to us a remedy to our laziness, carelessness and unmerciful behaviours. He has given to us Purgatory so that here His saving Discipline and Justice will help those who had abandoned their vocation to be His saint in this life. God is very merciful to those who did not put Him in first place by saving them through the process of His saving Justice. Jesus may have warned us plenty in the Gospels to help awaken us to become saints and yes some do hear but His mercy is also available to those who had misused their time so He had given us Purgatory.


Here is something from Sacred Scripture that may help. My bolding.

Rev 7:9-17

9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.

13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”

14 And I said to him, “Sir, you know.”

So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”



The opinions and private revelations of some (even many) saints do not amount to binding Church teaching on this matter.

On the question of how many are save, the Church does not offer any clear answer, nor does she bind the faithful to any particular viewpoint on the issue.

The Church takes very seriously the mission of evangelisation entrusted to her, and thus so do all of us faithful. There are risks either way in assuming anything regarding the number who are saved. If we assume very few are saved, we may lose hope in the power of the gospel. If we assume very many are saved, we may become too lax. Best to make no assumptions.


Good advice.


About 10 different saints have said that few are saved. It is directly in the Bible. The saints aren’t stating an opinion, they are stating a fact.(‘Beyond a doubt the elect are few.’ -
St. Augustine, Doctor and Father of the Church)

If a saint reported a private revelation, wouldn’t that revelation be true? Certainly the saint couldn’t have been lying, they are canonized!

I don’t understand. Are all of the saints wrong? Did they say that we don’t know how many are saved? Did they say that they could be wrong and that it’s just an opinion? Did they say best to make no assumptions? No, they didn’t, they told us without a doubt that there won’t be many saved.

Plus history tells us that not many are saved. ‘In the Great Deluge in the days of Noah, nearly all mankind perished, eight persons alone being saved in the Ark. In our days a deluge, not of water but of sins, continually inundates the earth, and out of this deluge very few escape. Scarcely anyone is saved.’ -St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Doctor of the Church

How many were saved at the time of the Great Flood? Barely any. In the same way, not many will be saved now.

Also, it is infallibly stated in the Bible

And finally, to your last statement on the risks of deciding how many are saved, here is this quote:

‘. . . a greater number is lost through false confidence than through excessive fear.’
Ven. Louis de Granada


We are not required to believe anything in a private revelation, even to canonised and highly respected saints.

And all of those private revelations may be true, but true in a difference sense from our (your) understanding. Perhaps all the terrible visions of hell shown to certain saints serve as a warning of what *can *happen to souls, not as a premonition of what *will *happen.

I am saying there may be many good reasons for God to instil in us a sense or urgency in the mission to evangelise. We will not know one way or another until the next life.

Mother Church interprets the bible for us, since it is easy to get it wrong on our own. And the bottom line is that Mother Church has not provided any firm teaching on this passage of scritpure.

The terms “many” and “few” remain vague and relative.

A shepard who cares deeply for his sheep may find one lost out of a hundred to be “many”, and 99 saved out of 100 to be “few”.


Ok, I agree that no one has to believe in any private revelations. However, some saints didn’t have any private revelations and still said few are saved.

All of the saints throughout history have said that few are saved. Never once did they say that they could be wrong or that the number of those saved are unclear.

There are 3 ideas:

  1. Few are saved.
  2. Most are saved.
  3. We cannot know the number of the saved.

Every saint throughout history has supported idea #1. They have said with absolutely certainty that few are saved. If they really thought that we can’t know the number of the saved, wouldn’t they have told us? They didn’t though, and rejected the idea that we don’t know how many are saved.

Also, since saints are in heaven,wouldn’t we want to believe in everything they believe, rather than risk believing something contrary to what they say?

Aren’t saints supposed to be irreproachable in theology?( I don’t know, I thought that saints couldn’t be wrong in what they believed about theology.)


Sorry, but it is not correct at all to say that all the saints held that “few are saved” (though one could say that many saints held this).

There are canonised saints that held universalist positions.

And it is certainly not true that saints are irreproachable in theology. Many of them taught of held serious errors. A saint is not protected from error in their earthly life. The view of saints, even many or most of them, does not equate Church teaching. The important point is that we trust what Mother Church teaches. And as I have explained, Mother Church does not teach us what you hold.

In fact, comments from the past two Popes would contradict the idea that Catholics are expected to think the way you hold.

Here is an interesting article discussing some of this:


That is not the correct way to compare the Flood to our times. We are in the times of Great Mercy because of what the Lord Jesus has accomplished! People who think that only few are saved are forgetting about the great Mercy which is now ours. The Lord Jesus had said to St. Maria Faustina that we are in the times of this mercy. He also said the greater the sinner the more that sinner has a right to His Mercy. I will never compare the Flood to how many people will be saved because the Mercy of our Lord Jesus is ultimately greater! Read the Diary of St. Maria Faustina in order to contemplate and understand what mercy is.


Citation please. Universal salvation is proximate to heresy.

While the opinions of the saints and Church Doctors cited are not binding, it is temerarious to simply shrug them off as one opinion among many.

Our Lord said “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Thus “few” will be saved, while “many” will be damned; the clear sense of this passage is that more will be damned than saved. Salvation is not easy, but is only achieved by grace and walking the narrow path. I don’t see many walking the narrow path, including myself, which fills me with fear of the judgment of our most just Judge.


How come for those who interpret this verse as meaning as only few are saved are not thinking that the Lord might be thinking something else? If only few are going to be saved what was the use of the Sacrifice of the Lord? There is no mention of only few saved in that passage which speaks if I will allow to express myself is only that few will find the fullness which the life of the Holy Spirit will bring. Now this makes more sense than only few are saved because most of us are only marginal Christians so that these marginal Christians do not by the Lord’s definition is qualified to find this fullness in this life. They can be still saved through Purgatory. That is why God has given to us this Purgatory. If there was no Purgatory than yes only few will be saved. The many which the Lord had given in the passage refers to a lot of people and not necessarily the majority of humanity. Mercy is the message which needs to be spoken of and not necessarily this high judgments which we can tend to interpret too many passages as meaning the majority are condemned. If only a few will be saved this points to a very heartless God that we have. God is moved to Mercy so I believe He has a lot more saved than we will speculate about. By the way I believe the majority today go to Purgatory and probably a great number go to Hell and may be only a few go directly to Heaven. Thank God for Purgatory! It will fill up Heaven more.

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