Questions about who is saved


#1

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


#2

According to St Faustina, at the hr of death Christ calls to each soul 3 times, to give them a last chance. It is called the Divine Mercy


#3

Is that from her diary?


#4

I think it might be. I heard about it from Fr Groeschel on EWTN


#5

ONLY God reads the depths of one’s heart. NO ONE should attempt to “figure out” who or who is not going to heaven. Externals DO NOT necessarily exhibit the internal. We should ONLY be concerned with our own salvation in as much as our own moral assurance. We must lead others to Christ and be the best example that we can for them but we should NEVER try to figure out who is saved. I’ve spoken with Church officials who will not even venture a guess as to where Hitler is. God is infinitely merciful as well as infinitely just. No one will go where they do not belong because we all get to choose…God Bless…teachccd :slight_smile:


#6

I like the response, teach.

Tom, as you’ve accurately observed, salvation isn’t something black and white. The only thing you can really do is live the best you can, repent for your sins, try not to repeat them, and always be open to God.


#7

I don’t like that response. It stifles curiosity, and learning. The Church has, on several occasions, promulgated very specific guidelines on the subject…if the Church talks about it, why can’t we discuss what the Church says about it?


#8

I don’t think we should worry about who is saved. Only God can know that. Instead we should worry about ourselves being saved; as Saint Paul said, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. I always have agreed with what one writer said, in something I read years ago, that in heaven, we will be surprised at some of the people we see there.
I agree that we should try to help people spiritually in one way or another, especially our families, and some one of them may seen a lost soul, but in this case too, we may be surprised at who we see there in heaven, perhaps because this person repented at the end, perhaps through our own prayers.
Who is God? His mercy is greater than his justice, and I and my wife have a special devotion to the Divine Mercy. After all, Christ came into the world, not to condemn the world, as he said in John, but to save it. But who will be saved, God knows.


#9

I think we can get too technical about it. Is God only interested in having us keep our head down, avoiding mortal sin, maybe barely sneaking through to heaven because we were lucky enough to get that last deathbed confession in and die seconds before we had another impure thought? Is that the definition of one who’s come to know God and love as we ought-to be “perfect as He is perfect”?

The greatest commandment is to love and I’d much rather face God knowing I had loved well than that I had observed all the rules scrupulously, if there was a choice between the two. Avoidance of sin means nothing if it doesn’t also serve to mean we’ve correspondingly grown in love. I think all matters of our faith need to be understood first in the light of an all-compassionate and merciful God and His greatest commandment.


#10

I think we can get too technical about it. Is God only interested in having us keep our head down, avoiding mortal sin, maybe barely sneaking through to heaven because we were lucky enough to get that last deathbed confession in and die seconds before we had another impure thought? Is that the definition of one who’s come to know God and love as we ought-to be “perfect as He is perfect”?

The greatest commandment is to love and I’d much rather face God knowing I had loved well than that I had observed all the rules scrupulously, if there was a choice between the two. Avoidance of sin means nothing if it doesn’t also serve to mean we’ve correspondingly grown in love. I think all matters of our faith need to be understood first in the light of an all-compassionate and merciful God and His greatest commandment.


#11

I think we can get too technical about it. Is God only interested in having us keep our head down, avoiding mortal sin, maybe barely sneaking through to heaven because we were lucky enough to get that last deathbed confession in and die seconds before we had another impure thought? Is that the definition of one who’s come to know God and love as we ought-to be “perfect as He is perfect”?

The greatest commandment is to love and I’d much rather face God knowing I had loved well than that I had done everything “just so”, if there was a choice between the two. Avoidance of sin means nothing if it doesn’t also serve to mean we’ve correspondingly grown in love. I think all matters of our faith need to be understood first in the light of an all-compassionate and merciful God and His greatest commandment.


#12

Congratulations on creating a false dichotomy between love and obedience.

Chesterton said this kind of thinking was akin to saying “let’s not mess about with biology and physiology in medicine, instead lets just all concentrate on how great it is to be healthy.”

Some of us will, instead, spend some of our time on the details.

Hmmm…why do the details bother y’all so much? I wonder.


#13

Curiosity and learning should not include judging souls. While the Church has specific guidlines on salvation, She never claims to acknowlege one as not being saved. We do canonize saints as we know that they are in heaven but we do not have a list for the condemned…teachccd


#14

Sorry for the MRP (Multiple Redundant Posts) the computer kept telling me the server had timed out and wouldn’t send :o

No, what I’m saying is to not think that avoidance of sin is the main goal of our faith. It’s bigger than that. If you are not succeeding in overcoming sin and growing in love, then there’s something wrong and I think it’s entirely possible-and very human-to slide into legalism, as the Galatians did, and focus on observance of external acts only as the means to salvation. I think it’s a very real dichotomy that relates to the Ops concern. But I’m always open to learning if I’m in error.


#15

Oh boy…it’s 2008, and we’re worried about legalism?


#16

Some things never change.


#17

Judging by some responses, I think I have not phrased my questions as well as I would have liked. I fully realize that we are not to judge, and that my aim is to love God better, not just “follow the rules”.

My questions really is more a point of concern in regards to those around me that I worry about. I quess that my questions is better phrased, “how does God (the Trinity, not just the first person of the Trinity) work to achieve the salvation of souls?” How do our prayers, sacrifices, and mortifications assist this process?

I have begun to read Saint Faustina’s diary. Wonderful insights as to how prayer and works interact with our fellow man to allow every opportunity for acceptness of Divine Mercy.


#18

God sent His only Son, Jesus, to redeem mankind and reconcile us to Himself. Salvation is achieved through our cooperation with this redemption. Ultimately God judges how well we utilized His grace united with our faith in Christ and demonstrated by our love for others. We can pray for others, to be sure, but only they can choose what Christ commands. We can lead by example and perhaps prompt them to see their failures but we are only responsible for ourselves. God equally gives everyone the grace to seek Him and all those baptized in Christ have the sanctifying grace which enables them with the supernatural life we all had before the fall.

Concisely put, (maybe that’s too late :smiley: ) everyone is responsible to utilize their gift of free will to either follow God through His Son, Jesus Christ, or not. Prayer is effectively allowing you to better know God as He allows others to make that choice…I hope that helps…teachccd :slight_smile:


#19

Tom, are you gone?


#20

Nope, still around. Appreciate your prior comments. As I think more about my questions, I realize that I am trying to understand how praying for others, especially those not active in their faith, can interact with the work of the Holy Spirit. I am reflecting on passages like the gospel passage about the paralytic that was brought to Jesus by his two friends, and lowered through the roof, and Jesus cures him without a word from the paralytic.

I fully understand that the individual has to respond on some level to grace given by the Holy Spirit, but I am trying to understand, as best I am able, how our prayers assist in the process.


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