The purpose of our life is simple: to
get to Heaven. Jesus warned us that the
way to heaven is narrow and there are few that follow that path. However, the
path that leads to destruction is wide and many choose it!
Highlighting the obstacles on the
path to heaven can be of great help to us. The Shepherd must know where the
wolf is hiding; the soldier must know where the enemy’s attack is planned; the
athlete must know the weak point of the opponent. The soldier of Christ indeed must detect his
LAZINESS. The Book of Revelation warns us of an
attitude highly displeasing to God--- that of apathy and laziness. “You are neither hot nor cold, I wish you
were either of the two, but lukewarm. I will spit you out of my mouth. (Rev. 3)
To lose our first love, to surrender to apathy, to give in to discouragement,
to lose the fire of passion for Christ—all is so easy! Why? Original Sin and its effects, an
environment of apathy, and the devil--- all contribute to laziness. The saints were keenly aware of the
shortness of life and the price of our salvation—the Precious Blood of Jesus.
They did all they could to serve the Lord with a generous spirit.
DISTRACTIONS. Never in the history of the world have there been
so many distractions. What do we mean by
distractions? T.V., the internet, sports, parties, social activities,
long-phone conversations, vacations, pets, cosmetics—these are all
distractions! Not that these
distractions are necessarily sinful, but how easily can they crowd God out of
our lives! How easily can distraction
become the principal focus of our lives and God becomes more and more distant
like a ship leaving the port and disappearing into the midst of the sea!
SENSUALITY. Sensuality in all its forms can easily put
God at a distance in our lives! Eating,
drinking, smoking, drugs, disordered sexual appetites, a life of ease—these are
manifestations of sensuality. A key example of the pernicious effects of
sensuality is the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich man. Overtly the Rich man did not seem to be
evil. However, he did end up in the fiery pit.
Why? Not so much for what he did
do but for what he failed to do, the sin of omission, catapulted this piteous
man into the fiery furnace. His
luxurious and sumptuous meals, his expensive wardrobe, and high-class living
blinded him from seeing Jesus who was truly present in Lazarus, the poor,
raggedy, and wound-covered man outside the gate.
RESENTMENT AND LACK OF
FORGIVENESS. Too many people today live
as modern slaves. Their chains are not
so much physical as moral shackles. One of the most common bondages today is
resentment and lack of forgiveness. In the Our Father we pray, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive
those who trespass against us….” In other words, for me to be forgiven and to
be a recipient of God’s mercy, I must
forgive and be merciful to others. It is a two-way street! Jesus came to set captives free. Forgiving
those who have wounded us is setting the captive free. That is me! I free myself of the cage of unforgiveness
and experience the freedom of the sons of God.
IGNORANCE. How can we love somebody that we do not even
know? Impossible! How can we love an
“Unknown God?” Impossible! Both agnosticism and atheism are two theological
ideologies spreading like wildfire, especially in the USA. An atheist denies the existence of God. An
agnostic lives in perpetual uncertainty.
Ignorance, on any topic can only be dispelled by serious study. Professionals must be up to date, on the
cutting edge and constantly in “Permanent Formation.” Christian-Catholics must be “Professionals”
with respect to religion and God. It
should be their most ardent desire and longing to get to know God better which
will lead to loving God more ardently, which in turn will lead to following Him
more closely, and then in bringing others to Him.
In conclusion, beware of these five
major roadblocks on the Highway to heaven: laziness, distractions, sensuality,
unresolved resentments, and ignorance.
Pope Francis consecrates his pontificate to Mary
May the Blessed Virgin Mary who gave
her whole self to God with total generosity help us to surmount the obstacles
along the path and attain to the eternal happiness of heaven. Mary Gate of
Heaven, pray for us!