St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Corinthians that “eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and it has not entered the human heart what God has prepared for those who love Him.” We also read in paragraph 1024 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that heaven is “the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness.”
We were created to spend eternity with God in heaven, but we may not always know the path that leads there. Jesus said that the gate is narrow that leads to heaven, while the road to perdition is wide. How can we walk the path to heaven, and how can we avoid the temptations that threaten to lead us from that path? Recently on Go Ask Your Father™ Monsignor Stuart Swetland responded to a listener who was worried about finding his way to heaven by telling him:
“There are many different paths that can lead to perdition. There is one that leads to Heaven, and that is the way of love. The way of yes to God’s offer of relationship.
God offers Himself to us in a loving friendship, and like any loving relationship, it has to be a two-way street in the sense that we have to say yes to God’s offer of relationship. For anyone who has reached the age of reason, they have the responsibility to say yes to God’s offer of love. And living in friendship with God is a demanding task, just as living in love with anybody is.
A husband and wife must live in love, and that is a demanding task. Best friends have to live in the love of friendship, and that is a demanding task. Living in love with God is a demanding task, not because God is testing us, so much as God wants what is best for us. And what is best for us is that path of love. And there is only one way of doing it.
There are lots of ways not to love, but there is only one way to love. We have to give ourselves totally to Him. And like any friendship or any relationship, daily communication is the best, the strongest for us. It is what makes our relationship real. But everyone knows that there are days that things happen that make it difficult. And we do our best to make those little aspirations, those little prayers that we throw up all the time, like ‘Lord, have mercy,’ those momentary spiritual communions that we make with Jesus present in the tabernacle. But the norm should be that we spend time with the Lord each day, because we have made it a priority.
My spiritual director says to me, and I say this to my spiritual directees, that if you are too busy to pray, you are too busy. God doesn’t want that for you. He wants you to have the time of resting with Him, abiding with Him, being with Him. So that’s part of it. And that strengthens you each and every day, because when we are in contact with Him it increases our capacity to love, and it opens us up to receive more of His supernatural help, which we call grace.
Remember, God will always give us the grace we need to avoid whatever temptations are out there. If at the moment we don’t have enough grace to deal with that temptation, we at least have enough grace to pray for more help, so that we can overcome that temptation. So our first reaction if we see that we are struggling with temptation is to fall to our knees and ask God for help.
I recommend to everybody that our frequent Confession helps us because it not only holds us accountable, but in Confession not only are our sins forgiven, but it gives us the grace to fight the good fight of faith as we go forward.”
Listen to the full conversation below: