Saturday, July 14, 2007

Everlasting Salvation

1. Let us consider again the man on the endless, and apparently aimless, journey into land after land. He walked for a long time through valleys and over mountains, in the heat of the summer and in the sharp cold of the winter months. It made no difference to him whether the sun gave him encouragement or the rain and snow impeded him, he forged ahead just the same. He crossed rivers, floods, mountains and hillocks, and came down into the valleys again. But at last, when he had travelled for years, he felt himself tiring.

He turned around and saw another man looking at him with compassion in his eyes. He approached the stranger, who said to him: "My friend, you look tired. Have you been walking for a long time?" "For a very long time," he replied, "and I am very tired." "But where are you going?" the other man asked. "What is your destination?" The traveller sighed as if he had just awakened from a deep sleep and murmured: "Where am I going? I don't know! I have been walking for a long time, but I have no idea where I am going." At this his new friend stared even more pityingly at the traveller, eyeing him as if he were an unfortunate simpleton.

When we reflect a little, do we not feel that we are rather like this poor traveller? Our journey has lasted a good many hard and weary years. Have we seriously thought about where we are going? Have we solved the fundamental problem of our earthly journey-the goal and purpose of our lives? What does it profit a man, Jesus has said to us, if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul? (Mt. 16:26) Our eternal welfare is the great question which we should ponder continually.

2. More than anything else, it is necessary to look after our eternal salvation. In comparison with this, all other business is unimportant. Our personal salvation is the only thing which is absolutely essential in our lives. Let us meditate on this momentous fact, which has converted so many sinners and filled Heaven with Saints.

If I lose my soul, what use will money or success be to me? What good will be human learning or worldly pleasure? All this will pass away, whereas only my good actions will weigh the balance of divine justice in my favour.

Let us think of our sins, which are unfortunately so numerous, and of our good actions, which are probably far fewer in number. It will be tragic for us if the weight of our sins should carry us towards damnation. It is still in our power to guard against this by leading lives of penance and sanctity. Strive ... by good works to make your calling and election sure. (2 Peter 1:10)

3. We should not be discouraged because our salvation requires so many sacrifices on our part. Jesus warned us that it would have to be so. How narrow the gate and close the way that leads to life. (Mt. 7:14) The kingdom of heaven has been enduring violent assault, and the violent have been seizing it by force. (Mt. 11:12) If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23) All this is required for salvation, and anyone who is not prepared to meet these demands cannot gain everlasting happiness. Nevertheless, there is no need for despondency. What is difficult for man is easy for God. If we ask God for His grace and co-operate generously with it, we shall be saved. Let us resolve to play our part well.