Purgatory doesn't need to be a prerequisite |
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Since I last wrote to you, the flu has befallen everyone in the family, especially our sons, and just when I thought I had escaped the worst of it, it hit me a week ago. It certainly gave me time to reflect and meditate on the spiritual life, on our journey towards Heaven, our home, and how much progress we are making together, for we do make the journey with Christ, and we help one another through the fullness of the Mystical Body of Christ.
Today I am going to begin a three part segment for
the Holy Spirit had me meditate and contemplate on the difference between Presumption, and Trust in Our Lord, and to write to you concerning these things, and how they are often misunderstood in our spiritual life.
One of the things that the Holy Spirit brought to my mind is the sense that so many of us have that no matter how hard we try, no matter how much we pray, no matter anything we do or say, etc., we're going to wind up in Purgatory, for how can we "sinners all" ever hope to be perfected so that we can be in God's presence at the moment of our death?
There are those, my dear brothers and sisters, who do presume against the Holy Spirit. That is, they have the wrong idea that regardless of their actions, they are saved, because God is the God of Love, and He, therefore, could never send anyone to hell. Therefore, there are those who simply sit back, take the earthly route of having their cake and eating it too, without any regard for how they live their lives, convinced that there is no hell, no Purgatory, and only Heaven!
There is a hell, there is a devil, and there is Purgatory, which is that place where the soul knows it is destined for Heaven, awaiting its final purification before entering upon Eternal Bliss.
But there are those, my dear brothers and sisters, who come to the spiritual life with a sense of "doom," and this sense of doom is passed along in words, in writings, etc., that, like a cancer, stifles the Holy Spirit, and turns so many burgeoning saints off the path, and into a spiritual malaise, even at times, a spirit of hopelessness. After all, to those who are in the mindset that regardless of how exemplary they live their lives, there is no other option but Purgatory, have already condemned themselves to the idea of a God that is so severe in judgments, that the picture of Zeus with a thunderbolt just waiting to "get" us when our guard is down is their idea of God the Father!
I refer all to the spiritual writing of the newest doctor of the Church, St. Therese of Lisieux. I would humbly ask anyone who has not read her writings, especially her "Last Conversations" to read them during this upcoming Lent. Holy Mother Church did not raise her to the altar, that is, to the Capital "St" before her name, because she worked miracles while alive. Nor did Holy Mother Church raise her to the title of "Doctor of the Church" because it seemed like a nice thing to do.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, God gave us all St. Therese of Lisieux for a number of reasons, not the least of which was to inform all of us that Holiness, Sanctity, that Capital "St." before our name, is not only possible, it is God's Will for all of us. And would God expect that from us, if it were hopeless, beyond our grasp, our understanding, and our achievement.
St. Therese taught that Holiness, Sanctity is not a matter of this or that devotion, outside of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, or the consecrated religious life of the cloister. She taught the way of "Spiritual Childhood", and I have found that her words echo in my soul stronger every day. She did not achieve that Capital "St" before her name because she was worthy in her own right. She knew that she was nothing, but that with God all things are possible. She accepted the graces given to her by God, and she allowed Him to lift her up, to perfect her in this life, so that at the moment of her death, she entered Heaven. She spoke so often to her own sisters, and through them, to us, of the importance, the absolute necessity of HOPE, of ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE in God in the face of all our earthy adversities. She did not grasp that the word "Saint" was just for her, that she was extraordinarily blessed among all creatures of her time. She said over and over in her writings, that it was through Confidence in God that she was able then to free her soul to soar to Him through LOVE!!!!
Not the human emotion of love, my brothers and sisters, but the spiritual awakening of the soul to the Infinite Love of Almighty God for each of His children. He did not create us as an amusement. He created each of us from Infinite Love, and He proved that Infinite Love through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
St. Therese did not "Presume" that she was going straight to Heaven by her own merits. She knew she had none. Any good that was in her came from God, who is the source of All Good. But she also knew that to the measure in which she trusted with CONFIDENCE in the Mercy of God to lift her up, she was being perfected. She did not alter this understanding throughout her life. She lived it, and she taught it, and she is now a Doctor of the Church, elevated to this awesome status by our own dear Pope John Paul II on September 19, 1996 and making her the third female saint to be so honored.
In my next installment next Tuesday I will share more of what I was given to see in the interior of my heart on the difference betwee Presumption and Trust in the Lord and more on St. Therese.
I am praying for all of you, and I humbly ask you to continue to pray for me and for my family. Heaven is not for the few, but for the many. Heaven is real, and your place there is real. Don't sell yourself short by giving up, and settling for Purgatory. Acknowledge that Purgatory is that place where the soul, which denied God's graces in this life, will have the opportunity to find those graces again!
Your very little sister in Christ, who loves and prays for each of you every day,
For past installments by Cyndi Cain, see SYMPHONY OF SUFFERING Archives
February 13, 2001
volume 12, no. 44
Cyndi Cain's SYMPHONY OF SUFFERING column