Many do NOT attain to faith, even fewer to the heavenly kingdom
February 23, 2020
Catholics have a tendency to believe that if they’re Catholic, then they are saved. Obviously, this is not true. Due to the great difficulty in coming to the Church today, pride has become an ever greater enemy of Catholics in these latter days.
We are instructed by the saints that this danger will be still greater for those who commit many venial sins through attachment to any passion, such as pride. Francis of Assisium says that, in endeavoring to draw to sin a soul that is afraid of being in enmity with God, the devil does not seek in the beginning to bind her with the chain of a slave, by tempting her to commit mortal sin, because she would have a horror of yielding to mortal sin, and would guard herself against it. He first endeavors to bind her by a single hair; then by a slender thread; next by a cord; afterwards by a rope; and in the end by a chain of hell that is, by mortal sin; and thus he makes her his slave.
Back to salvation. Saint Gregory says, “Many attain to faith, but few to the heavenly kingdom.” But today, NOT many even attain to faith.
Today the travail of Catholics is first to strive to know, in the first place, by the assistance of the Blessed Virgin, if they have attained to faith, and if they are truly Catholic. Many will find this is not always easy to do. For instance, how are Catholics to treat the subject of the holy sacrifice of the altar?
Imagine taking the position that every group which gathers for a “Eucharist” is no longer Catholic. This is an example of what is not so easy to do. It is unimaginable for most men, who reject the Church on this matter. The holy fathers going all the way back to Christ expressed what it would be like for us in these latter days. St. Hippolytus, for one, wrote, “The Churches shall lament with a great lamentation, for there shall be offered no more oblation, nor incense, nor worship acceptable to God. The sacred buildings of the churches shall be as hovels; and the precious body and blood of Christ shall not be manifest in those days; the Liturgy shall be extinct.” Catholics in the remnant today do lament for these very reasons.
Yet, even when one properly comes out of the mouth of the Novus Ordo that they be not partakers of her sins, and that they receive not of her plagues they find a delusion so great many end up returning to their vomit. Proverbs 26:11 However, when one escapes the Novus Ordo and all of its Latin-“mass”-going appendages and enter into the true Church, he must know he continues to be subject to the rules for salvation. These rules instruct the faithful that one must die in a state of grace (with no mortal sin on their soul) in order to attain to salvation.
We understand that forgiveness of our mortal sins can be obtained without a priest, via perfect contrition and an intent to confess.
However, what if one is living in mortal sin, but is under the mistaken impression he is not living in mortal sin? This can happen for a variety of reasons, the most common of which he does not know or understand doctrines and laws of the Church. Be assured, the snares of the devil are more wicked and difficult to detect in these latter days, when we are without the sacraments and protection of a Church hierarchy.
So how difficult is it to attain to salvation today? More difficult then in the 1700’s when these words were written on the matter.
“It is not vain curiosity but salutary precaution to proclaim from the height of the pulpit certain truths which serve wonderfully to contain the indolence of libertines, who are always talking about the mercy of God and about how easy it is to convert, who live plunged in all sorts of sins and are soundly sleeping on the road to hell. To disillusion them and waken them from their torpor, today let us examine this great question: Is the number of Christians who are saved greater than the number of Christians who are damned?
Pious souls, you may leave; this sermon is not for you. Its sole purpose is to contain the pride of libertines who cast the holy fear of God out of their heart and join forces with the devil who, according to the sentiment of Eusebius, damns souls by reassuring them. To resolve this doubt, let us put the Fathers of the Church, both Greek and Latin, on one side; on the other, the most learned theologians and erudite historians; and let us put the Bible in the middle for all to see. Now listen not to what I will say to you — for I have already told you that I do not want to speak for myself or decide on the matter — but listen to what these great minds have to tell you, they who are beacons in the Church of God to give light to others so that they will not miss the road to heaven. In this manner, guided by the triple light of faith, authority and reason, we will be able to resolve this grave matter with certainty.
Note well that there is no question here of the human race taken as a whole, nor of all Catholics taken without distinction, but only of Catholic adults, who have free choice and are thus capable of cooperating in the great matter of their salvation. First let us consult the theologians recognized as examining things most carefully and as not exaggerating in their teaching: let us listen to two learned cardinals, Cajetan and Bellarmine. They teach that the greater number of Christian adults are damned, and if I had the time to point out the reasons upon which they base themselves, you would be convinced of it yourselves. But I will limit myself here to quoting Suarez. After consulting all the theologians and making a diligent study of the matter, he wrote, “The most common sentiment which is held is that, among Christians, there are more damned souls than predestined souls.”
Add the authority of the Greek and Latin Fathers to that of the theologians, and you will find that almost all of them say the same thing. This is the sentiment of Saint Theodore, Saint Basil, Saint Ephrem, and Saint John Chrysostom. What is more, according to Baronius it was a common opinion among the Greek Fathers that this truth was expressly revealed to Saint Simeon Stylites and that after this revelation, it was to secure his salvation that he decided to live standing on top of a pillar for forty years, exposed to the weather, a model of penance and holiness for everyone. Now let us consult the Latin Fathers. You will hear Saint Gregory saying clearly, “Many attain to faith, but few to the heavenly kingdom.” Saint Anselm declares, “There are few who are saved.” Saint Augustine states even more clearly, “Therefore, few are saved in comparison to those who are damned.” The most terrifying, however, is Saint Jerome. At the end of his life, in the presence of his disciples, he spoke these dreadful words: “Out of one hundred thousand people whose lives have always been bad, you will find barely one who is worthy of indulgence.”” (St. Leonard of Port Maurice)
If, then, we wish to save our souls, and to become saints, we must make a strong resolution not only in general to give ourselves to God, but also in particular to adopt the proper means, and never to abandon them after having once taken them up. Hence we must never cease to pray to Jesus Christ, and to His holy Mother for holy perseverance.