We were created to know, love and serve God in this life so as to be happy with Him in heaven. Put in other words, we were created to praise God, reverence God, serve Him and by means of this, save our soul. (St Ignatius Principle and Foundation, Spiritual Exercises #23). The climb is steep, slippery and perilous in our ascent to heaven. Here is a ladder with 10 rungs that will lead us safely to heaven:
1. PRAYER. St. Alphonsus Liguori affirms: “He who prays much will be saved; he who does not pray much will be damned.” Conclusion: let us strive every day to improve and upgrade our prayer life.
2. SIN. Our mortal enemy number one is SIN! The saints are different in many aspects, but united on one principle: DEATH RATHER THAN SIN. (St. Dominic Savio)
3. CONFESSION. However, if we do fall, never give in to discouragement, but trust all the more in God’s mercy. Make a good confession and return to joy and peace of soul!
4. MERCY AND FORGIVENESS. “Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful.” Never seek revenge; give mercy. This is the greatest attribute of the Heart of Jesus and hopefully, it will be yours.
5. PERMANENT FORMATION. As followers of Christ, we must make a concerted effort to grow in knowledge of our faith through study. Jesus said that we should love God with all our heart, soul, strength and MIND!!!! This demands study— a constant reminder of Pope Benedict XVI.
6. DAILY OBLIGATION DONE WELL. Lucia of Fatima asked Our Lady what penance God wanted of them and Mary said to carry out your daily obligation well. St. Therese of Lisieux made famous her “Little Way” which consists in doing our ordinary obligation with extraordinary love. Let us go for it!
7. OUR TONGUE AND WORDS. Saint James is blunt and to the point: “One should be slow to speak and quick to listen.” The person that does not control his tongue will never attain to true holiness. How often a word said without reflection has resulted in calamity!!!
8. PENANCE. To overcome the old man, the flesh, our innate concupiscence, prayer is key. However, we must add to prayer, penance! A bird cannot fly with one wing; nor can we fly high in the spiritual life without the two wings of prayer and penance!
9. MASS AND HOLY COMMUNION. Certainly, the quickest road to holiness is direct encounter and reception of Jesus who is the source and summit of all holiness. Form the habit of fervent and frequent Communion. Jesus is the “Holy of Holies”. Communion gives us the very Sacred Heart of Jesus with its most sublime virtues.
10. MARY and the Holy Rosary. By praying the Holy Rosary, Mary intercedes for us and attains for us her virtues. We become like those with whom we associate. By spending time with Jesus and Mary, we become holy because they indeed are holy. “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death”. Amen
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