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Expert Answer Forum

by Catherine Frakas 28 Oct 2001

up or down QUESTION from michael evans August 29, 2000 Dear Brother,I have heard that it is easier for a camel to pass through an eye of a needle than it is for a soul to enter heaven and on the other hand I have read literature that suggests that most of us will end up in heaven sooner or later without trying too hard.How much good works,penance etc is considered enough for ones salvation.Is there a point you reach on your journey when you can confindently say,yes Iam definately going to heaven and definately not going to that dreadfull place of eternal misery.
Thank you brother John-Paul.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on November 19, 2000 Dear Mr. Michael:
The phrase you are looking for is (LK 18:25) For it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.
It is a RICH man who has the trouble entering heaven in this verse.
By the way, the eye of a needle is not a sewing needle. One of what back gates of Jerusalem, if I remember correctly, was called the needle because it was narrow. Thus a rich man with a camel loaded down with possessions could not get through the gate.
In this day and age of Plausibility we are told that most people will reach heaven, or even that all people will reach heaven. But this is a lie.
Jesus tells us three times:
MT 7:13 Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.
MT 7:14 How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.
LK 13:24 Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.
We need to find that narrow gate to find heaven.
How do we do this?
Whether we go to heaven or not depends upon whether we are in a state of grace upon our death.
The best and fullest way to be in a state of grace at death is to be baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church, participate frequently in the Sacraments, and make devotion to God (and all the things that that means).
If we love God, follow His commandments, participate in the Sacraments, repent of sin, we can have the hope of salvation. The hope of salvation is not an absolute assurance. I cannot know that my state of soul is going to be 10 years from now. But I can have an idea of my state of soul today, I can have an idea of my intention to love God and to live for Him, and with that, and the knowledge of God's promises that if I serve Him, follow His commandments, repent of sins, that He will save me.
Thus we have the assurance of hope in our salvation. Hope does not mean mere wishing. That is how Protestants tend to see that word. No, hope is a firm and confident hope in the faith and knowledge that God is not a liar and will keep His promises. Now we merely have to keep our promises (knowing that when we break our promises, God is there to forgive us when we ask).
Frankly, there is no reason why everyone can't go to heaven. But pride gets in the way for some. Pride will not allow some to submit to God and His teachings. Or Pride will not allow some to confess sin and thus they die with mortal sin on their soul.
God understands that we are pilgrims on the road, not perfect beings that have already arrived. He asks us to follow Him and when we fail at that to humbly confess our failures. When we do that, (1JN 1:9) If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.
By these means we can have an assurance of hope that we may die in a state of grace and receive heaven as our reward.
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