Ave Maria Meditations
The only thing that really matters in life is getting to Heaven!
Among all the achievements of our life only one is really critical. It is attaining the goal–Heaven–set for us by God. We must be ready to give up everything, if necessary, to achieve this goal. We must also be ready to set aside anything that even gets in the way of our achieving it, no matter how valuable or appealing it may seem. Everything else has to be subjected to that one supreme objective in our life: possessing God.
If anything becomes an obstacle rather than and aid to this end, then we must be prepared wither to set things straight or to put the obstacle aside completely. Eternal salvation–our own or our neighbor’s–comes first. Our Lord tells us so in the Gospel of the Mass: If thy hand is an occasion of sin to thee, cut it off!…and if thy foot is an occasion of sin to thee,, cut it off!..and if thine eye is an occasion of sin to thee, pluck it out! (cf Mk 9:40-49) It is better to enter the kingdom of Heaven maimed, lame, or lacking an eye than being physically sound to be cast into hellfire where the worm dies not and the fire is not quenched. It is better to lose something as necessary as one’s hand, foot, or eye than to lose Heaven, which is our supreme good, implying as it does the beatific vision of God for all eternity.
By employing these very graphic images, Our Lord teaches us that it is our positive duty not even to run the risk of offending Him; we have the serious duty of avoiding or setting aside proximate occasions of sin…anything that entices and draws us closer to sin must be energetically excised from our lives. We cannot toy with our own salvation or with the salvation of our neighbor.
Often the obstacles we have to set aside will not be tremendously significant ones. In the life of a Christian who is striving to please God in all things, this will usually be the case. What will have to be set aside and cut out are our in or whims and preferences. We shall take prudent steps to correct small breaches of temperance where Our Lord asks us to mortify our taste or our appetite, to control our temper or our moods, to overcome any excessive concern we may have about our health or comfort. All of these more or less habitual failings need very much to be taken into account, even though they may not be more than venial sins. They slow our pace and can trip us up or worse: they gradually lead to or bring about more serious falls.
Fr. Francis Fernandez(In Conversation with God)