There is something about heroism that is awe inspiring. Whether it is the video of someone risking life and limb to pull someone out of a burning car, to the actions of a soldier carrying his wounded comrade out of heavy fire, heroic actions fill us with a sense of admiration. You know the feeling. It makes you feel safer, more secure, and perhaps it makes you ponder what you would do if you were in a similar situation. Often the stories are dramatic, and sometimes the hero even sacrifices their life for the ones they are saving. Let us examine quickly examine a case below.
For a moment, you are going to become a hero. You are taking a morning jog through a neighborhood, and nothing is out of the ordinary. As you turn a corner you see a few houses away a boy, perhaps 7 or 8 years old, kicking a soccer ball around in the front yard. A car drives past you, slows down abruptly, and comes to a stop in front of the yard where the boy is playing. You can see the boy’s attention being attracted towards the car, and as you approach you begin to hear the driver. “Have you seen my dog? He got out this morning, and I can’t find him anywhere. Can you help me look for him?” The boy is curious. He is walking towards the car. You see the passenger door begin to open…
Without a moment’s hesitation you begin to yell and shout, your jog turning into a 100 meter dash towards the developing situation. The car screeches off, the boy runs wide-eyed back into the yard, and you have the sense to get the license plate number before the car disappears around the corner.
Let us walk through the steps you went through in order to save the boy. First you became aware of the situation, and then identified the objective or the mission: the child is in danger. I will do everything I can to save him! Then, you completed the mission. You saved the boy.
Let us apply this to the spiritual life. Our mission is to get to Heaven. To save our soul and become saints! The danger is that through the three pronged enemy of our human weakness, the world, and the devil it is possible to lose our soul. The heroes we hear about on the news are fighting for a tangible good; something that they can physically feel and see. The child in our story was the tangible good that we fought for. The spiritual warfare we usually cannot see, and this is a great stumbling block for many people, for there is always an uncertainty when pursuing the intangible good as it cannot be sensed physically. However, we have the teachings of the Church to lean on, and the words of Christ to inspire and reassure us. “Blessed is he who has not seen, but has believed” (John 20: 29).
My dear friends, be assured that there is a battle going on for your soul between the forces of good and evil, and that you should fight above all else to save it. Our mission is heaven; to become Saints! The danger is losing our friendship with God through mortal sin. How do we conquer our weaknesses and become saints? We develop and strengthen virtue! We develop virtue by mental prayer, receiving the sacraments, and actively pursuing the arduous good. We develop virtue by learning the faith, by imparting the faith to others, and by uniting our sufferings with the sacrifice of Christ on the cross of Christ. Follow the example of the glorious saints which have accomplished their mission; pray for their intercession, for the road to Heaven is not easy. We must put away our “old man”, and put on the New Man, which is Christ.
To be specific, mortal sin is the only danger to our mission of getting to heaven. It completely cuts off our relationship with God; it kills God’s life in our soul. To commit a mortal sin, the action committed must be seriously wrong, and the person committing the sin must know that it is seriously wrong and he must have full consent of the will. If you are in mortal sin, go to the sacrament of confession, making sure to mention the sin and how many times you have committed it since your last confession. Even if you might be in mortal sin, it is always prudent to be humble and to clear your conscience; the priest should be able to diagnose whether a sin is mortal or venial. Confessing your sins to a priest can be embarrassing at times. However, the priest is bound under pain of death to keep everything he hears in the confessional a secret. Do not fear the priest or the malignity of your own sins. God is all merciful. However, God is also the Just Judge. Do not test the mercy of God by postponing your visit to the sacrament, by remaining attached to habitual sin or by remaining attached to the near occasion of sin. If you die in mortal sin, you will lose your soul and you will fail the mission. We are called to be heroes; we are called to be saints!
If you are having doubts about Catholic teaching or are discouraged with your weaknesses, pray the rosary and ask God for the gift of faith. No human being ever created is closer to Christ than His most holy mother Mary, and by her own words all she wants is God’s will. The Rosary is a most powerful weapon in this age of disbelief. Saint Maximilian Kolbe reminds us, “Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.”
My friends, we have identified the mission. The mission is to save our souls; to become saints! Let us accomplish this mission, with the help of God, the Church, Mary, the saints, and each other. I pray with all my heart that as we look upon the face of Christ after our death, both you and I will hear the most glorious words, “Come, good and faithful servant, enter into the kingdom of the Lord.”