Avoiding Purgatory

Settling for 'Second-Best'

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart
and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
And the second is like to this:
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
Commandment of Love (St. Matthew 22: 36-38)

Loneliness, Love and Lust

"God wants me to be happy . . ."

Loneliness can be an occasion for great growth in trust in the Lord's Goodness. He may use our loneliness to draw us closer to Him to perfect the virtues of patience, prudence, perseverance, and piety. Loneliness can be the workshop of virtue if we trust in Him who wills our good and desires our salvation.

On the other hand, we may choose the more frequented roads of self-pity, despair, despondency. These are occasions of sin. Sorely tempted, many choose to settle for 'second-best' by seeking solace with another in a lustful relationship.

Cut off from a life of grace, this mortal sin plunges a soul into darkness where the light of wisdom, understanding, and prudence may not penetrate. The effects of sin - more sin - compounds the inability to choose rightly. Conscience is deformed, and soon, evil is called good.

In recent years, the phenomenon of divorce has shattered the covenant relationship between God and man mirrored between husband and wife. The pain of abandonment and betrayal leads to a deepening loneliness that follows in the wake of these broken marriages.

The life-long covenant relationship between husband and wife cannot be broken by an act of will. Each vow: "For better or worse, in sickness and health, in good times and bad, until death do us part." At the moment of marriage, the two become "one flesh." Only death will break that bond. So it is with our relationship with God — either we choose life with Him, or we choose the second-death for all eternity. These are tough words, tough choices for our time.

But how do we live this bond when our spouse has been unfaithful, has sought or obtained a civil divorce? The sacrament of matrimony confers upon spouses, open to receive them, special graces to aid in their journey together to their God. Each spouse is called to sanctify their mate through prayers, good example, and fidelity to their vow, whether or not the other spouse does the same. Heroic love — the grist of saints — is to put the other first. Each spouse has given themselves over to the other in an vow of total surrender. Happiness — blessedness — occurs when a spouse willingly endures bad times, forgives infidelities, and perseveres in prayer for their beloved.

Often a lonely person will be told, "God wants you to be happy. Find someone else." This is a lie. God has given us commandments that reflect who He is. These commandments give life. Adultery brings death to the soul and obstructs the possibility of marital reconciliation. Furthermore, the feeling of loneliness will deepen since the first vow still remains in effect, despite civil law. Our souls know the Truth - He has spoken clearly on adultery. Loneliness for the one who is the other half of the 'one flesh' will not be satisfied by another. The eternal consequence of such a relationship will be deadly since it is based on the lie propagated by the father of lies, Satan.

This lie is seen most clearly in the eyes of the fruit of marital love — children. The family, the integral unit of society, is destroyed. The child, who naturally loves both father and mother, is torn to choose between the two who are one. Confusion, disunity, anger, hatred, bitter acrimony, might be replaced by a civil arrangement, but the damage to the child will last a lifetime.

Look at the difference: a family with husband and wife, father and mother, and children growing in their relationship to one another in the image of God versus parents apart, children forced to alternate visits between separated spouses. What does this say to the child? Will the child be scandalized and scornful of love, of marriage, and be frightened of any commitment? Yet each child is created to love God, him or herself, and all others.

A family to stay together, needs to pray together.

"My parents were divorced. I don't want to make the same mistake. We'll just live together instead."

The other face of loneliness is settling for 'second-best': living together outside of marriage. This too is a very destructive lie since it tears at the very fabric of the unity God wishes us to experience in marriage. Children born of such illicit unions will not experience the fullness of what God has intended, and often never hear the Name of Jesus spoken in their house. Aside from the destructive lie that is propagated — that it's the 'same as marriage without the papers' — the couple live in distrust of one another. Either can simply choose to leave — no permanent bond may be formed outside of marriage. Loneliness settles for temporary relief — another body who cannot commit themselves to love you.

Fornication often is replaced with adultery if the other person has been divorced.

"No-one has the right to tell me what I should or should not do, especially about my morals or values. . . ."

Cultural laws reflect current thinking on relative morality. However, the eternal laws of God do not change with our re-definition of words. For example, adultery or 'second (illicit) marriage' is still adultery — Herod's 'wife' had John the Baptist's head for preaching this truth. Another re-defined word that is popular today: abortion or 'a woman's right to choose'.

We are always faced with two choices. One uplifts us to the fullness of life in relation to our God. The other degrades our image and likeness to God: the adulation of gods we have made: power, prestige, pride and pleasure. This choice leads to the second death.

Our Lord's Passion gives us the best example of the choices we continually face. Truth stood before Pilate: "Jesus answered: 'Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.' Pilate saith to him: 'What is truth?' And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and saith to them: 'I find no cause in him.' . . . And so Pilate being willing to satisfy the people, released to them Barabbas, and delivered up Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified." (St. John 18: 37-38; St. Mark 15: 15) . . . . "I am the way, and the truth and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me." (St. John 14: 6)

We, too, will stand before the Truth, before Jesus, on our personal day of judgment. If we have lived a life in accordance to His Will, expressed in His Bride the Church, we face Mercy. Otherwise, we face the Just Judge — we must account for all our choices — since it is He who knows the depths of our hearts.

"Take heed therefore how you hear. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given:
 and whosoever hath not, that also which he thinketh he hath, shall be taken way from him."
 (St. Luke 8: 18)

Action Item

If you don't believe, but would like to . . .
Or perhaps have problems with His Church . . .
Ask your beloved Mother, Mary Most Holy, to help you.
She brought Jesus to us — she will bring you to Jesus.
Ask her to help you — say a Hail Mary
She will, if you are sincere.

"....The medieval theologian William of Saint Thierry once said that God — from the time of Adam — saw that his grandeur provoked resistance in man, that we felt limited in our own being and threatened in our freedom. Therefore God chose a new way. He became a child. he made himself dependant and weak, in need of our love. Now — this God who has become a child says to us — you can no longer fear me, you can only love me...."

(Extracted from Pope Benedict XVI, 25 December 2008 —
Homily from the Midnight Mass, Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord)

Sponsor and Adopt Souls

The Church teaches that one of the spiritual works of mercy is "to pray for the living and the dead." May we invite you to sponsor a Beloved? If you have already done so, would you consider 'adopting' another soul, and agree to pray for their repose?

May God bless you abundantly here and in the life to come!