Hi, I have a question in my mind that is bugging me and I need to get more info on.
I have been a life long Catholic, but was away from regular church attendance until about three years ago. I now attend mass weekly and go to confession every 3-4 months. I believe in the “ordinary” means of salvation offered by the church - regular participation in sacraments, avoiding mortal sin, and being in a state of grace.
Over time, I think I have developed an inadequate understanding of how we are saved. I have seen it too simplistically, almost being a like a game of musical chairs–if the music stops and you aren’t technically in a state of grace, you by default go to hell.
The genesis of this question came from when I have thought about the many relatives and friends that are not do not appear to be in “a state of grace” by external measures—they are technically Catholic, but don’t go to church on a regular basis, admit that they haven’t gone to confession in years, etc.
I realize that God can save whomever he pleases, inside or outside of the ordinary means of salvation. However, I have to grapple with this questions of the fate of these many people that I come into contact who are good people, at least loosely are Christian, are good “law abiding” people – just not the kind of people that I envision that would go to hell.
The answer to this question is important for my understanding as to who God is and how he deals with these billions and billions of souls over history. I am not looking for infalliable answers, just some insights from writing of the saints, etc. — anything that can give me some understanding.
Thanks for any input