What if I don't make it?


#1

What if I haven’t done enough? Not been good enough? Not cared enough? Didn’t pray as I should. Wasn’t kind enough? Didn’t focus during Mass enough?

Surely it can’t be as black and white as dying in or out of mortal sin? I know this is church teaching but only sometimes it is obvious when we commit mortal sin but can we really ever know?

St Therese of Avila hadn’t committed a mortal sin but was shown her place in Hell due to her lukewarmness.

How many of us could end up like that? Kind of like a marriage ending not because either one did something bad to destroy it but it just rotted away and they split up?


#2

This is my greatest concern also. Many times in life I have honestly thought that things were going to be ok, but it turned out that they were not. So I find it extremely difficult to put my trust in people who say things in the vein of, “just trust God, everything will be ok.”


#3

I struggle with this as well. After all God is totally beyond our human comprehension, so for someone to say that one simple unconfessed mortal sin–let’s just say masturbation since it comes up so often on these forums–leads one to Hell seems awfully legalistic to me and honestly I think it’s part of the scrupulosity we often see on the forums as well.


#4

Yet it is true that none of us will get to heaven on our own merits.

You have the right idea, though. There is an often overlooked passage in the Catechism that defines hope as a balance of expectation and fear:

Hope

2090 When God reveals Himself and calls him, man cannot fully respond to the divine love by his own powers. He must hope that God will give him the capacity to love Him in return and to act in conformity with the commandments of charity. Hope is the confident expectation of divine blessing and the beatific vision of God; it is also the fear of offending God’s love and of incurring punishment.

2091 The first commandment is also concerned with sins against hope, namely, despair and presumption:

By despair, man ceases to hope for his personal salvation from God, for help in attaining it or for the forgiveness of his sins. Despair is contrary to God’s goodness, to his justice - for the Lord is faithful to his promises - and to his mercy.

2092 There are two kinds of presumption . Either man presumes upon his own capacities, (hoping to be able to save himself without help from on high), or he presumes upon God’s almighty power or his mercy (hoping to obtain his forgiveness without conversion, and glory without merit).

See also CCC 1817-1821.


#5

St Pio said “pray, hope and don’t worry.”

Doubt is never far away but it’s not helpful. I believe in a loving, merciful God who will judge us fairly. He knows if we have done our best and when we fall He knows why too. We ask for His help, to hold our hand and help us to stand again after we’ve grazed our knee.

Sometimes I remember Fr Byles who gave mass on the Titanic as it sunk, hoping to save ‘lives’ in the process. Thanks be to God.


#6

I think we all have the fear that we will go to Hell when we die. I remember as a small child walking down the hallway with the sudden thought, “I’m going to Hell when I die because I’m such a bad little girl.” I was maybe 4 at the time and my greatest sin had been breaking Coca-Cola bottles in the alley outside our house.

That haunted me all my life until I decided to let go and let God. There are times when I still worry about it. But I trust in God’s infinite mercy that He will pick me up when I stumble and fall.


#7

I don’t know how to balance anything against the fear of eternal torture. Maybe not being eternally tortured?

Hope dies in me.


#8

I don’t doubt in God but more about myself.

It’s confusing when we hear other faiths can still get to Heaven but one mortal sin for Catholics and we are doomed, it seems harder for us.

I feel I need a doctorate to understand the catechism and yet the church says to have communion and confession at least once per year, who goes to Mass 55+ times per year without communion? Who goes to Mass every week but confession just once per year?


#9

I receive maybe 5 times a year, if that. Without exception, it is when I can go to confession less than 24 hours ahead of ti.e


#10

The last time I received was the day after my surgery. If only I could get to Mass more often than I’m able to at the present time.


#11

“Devil” and “Doubt” both begin with “D” for a reason.

Yes, it is as simple as being in mortal sin or not. But, it tales a lot of effort to mortally sin. It is not accidental or casually done.

It seems like you are under spiritual attack, or a crisis of faith. Have you spent time with our Lord at adoration? He’s the divine Physician, ya’ know!


#12

That’s why it’s not over until it’s over. WE CAN CHANGE and we CAN be sorry and repentant and ask forgiveness each and every time we sin. We must remember that each of us will take our last breath and until we do so we can turn to God and live His will and not our own.

Love God with our whole heart, mind and soul and love our neighbor

That’s what counts.


#13

Fearing Hell is fine as far as it goes–Hell is well worth fearing–but what is it if the thought does not make us grieve the good we are not doing and does not make us want to do penance for others who might be headed that way?

Any thought that tends to fill us with self-concern instead of concern to love God and neighbor more ought to be seen as a temptation. The goal, after all, is to hate sin not just because we “fear the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell” but rather most of all because of having offended God who is “all good and deserving of all my love.”

I have heard a priest say that visions of Hell even carry a danger to the soul, because they can become a sort of “spiritual pornography” that distracts us from loving God and neighbor, which is the only thing that ought to concern us. Whatever encourages you more in that direction, think on that. If it does not, think on better things.

OP, pray for your relative, so that he may be made into the saint with the help of your intercession and penance. Under the great economy that grace owns, it will bring you both closer to God.


#14

Well, it should not be just “trust God, everything will be OK.” It ought to be “seek to hate sin because it offends God, trust in His mercy and never fear to turn to mercy when you fail, and everything will be OK.”

Let’s face it: If we were saints now and were offered the chance now to go back and do life over again, we wouldn’t choose to get to Heaven by a last-minute confession. We would want to have turned ourselves over to God as much as possible as soon as possible, to have avoided everything that took us farther from God and to have done everything to please him and to quench his Thirst to redeem every soul.

Seek to do that, and trust that everything will be OK.


#15

If I was ordered to run a marathon I would worry what happens if I try and fail rather than the prize at the end which of course is in my mind.

It is the not knowing that makes things hard.

It is a narrow gate and we can’t all squeeze through it, what if I get to it but can’t fit through?


#16

What would happen if you gave up instead and didn’t try? No heaven yes?

What would happen if you try, don’t quite fit the bill but eventually make it? * Heaven yes?
What would happen if you try and do make it? Heaven yes?

By trying you have given yourself a chance of salvation through two means against one, that means the odds are in your favour!

*reference to purgatory.


#17

@Lee1

What would happen if you gave up instead and didn’t try? No heaven yes?

What would happen if you try, don’t quite fit the bill but eventually make it? * Heaven yes?
What would happen if you try and do make it? Heaven yes?

By trying you have given yourself a chance of salvation through two means against one, that means the odds are in your favour!

*reference to purgatory.

I don’t see it that way.

What would happen if you gave up instead and didn’t try? No heaven yes? Correct.

What would happen if you try, don’t quite fit the bill but eventually make it? * Heaven yes?
I don’t agree with this one, I see trying and failing equals no Heaven.

What would happen if you try and do make it? Heaven yes? Correct.


#18

A common definition of “saint” is “sinner who never stopped trying.” This is an area where Yoda got it wrong. All God asks is that we try our best to do His will. Success is go to Him, not to us. Our efforts will not get us into Heaven; only His grace makes it possible. And all He asks is that we try.


#19

I’m saying you may experience some level of purgatory, this is for souls who are saved but not pure enough for heaven.

You’re being very harsh on yourself, which is fine but you sound slightly defeated by these thoughts?


#20

For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment and all of us wither like a leaf and our iniquities like the wind take us away.

Isaiah 64: 6

For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God

Not as a result of works so that no one may boast

Ephesians 2:8-9

As it is written there is none righteous not even one

Romans 3: 10

Jesus said to him I am the way and the truth and the life no one comes to the Father but through Me.

John 14: 6

That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved

For with the heart a person believes resulting in righteousness and with the mouth he confesses resulting in salvation.

Romans 10:9-10

If we say that we have no sin we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.

1John 1: 8

If we confess our sins He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness

1 John 1: 9

If we say that we have not sinned we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

1 John. 1: 10


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