"We cannot love sin during life and begin to love virtue at death. The joys of heaven are the continuance of the Christ-like joys of earth. We do not develop a new set of loves with our last breath. We shall reap in eternity only what we sowed on earth.
Then let not our presuming moderns who pile sin on sin think that they can insult God until their lease on life has run out and then expect an eternal lease on one of the Father’s mansions. Did He who went to Heaven by the Cross intend that you should go there by sinning? "
Bishop Fulton Sheen, Seven Virtues
Turning away from me is dangerous.
Your foolish self-confidence will destroy you!
Sky View tweet:
I tell this story whenever I can. It is a true story that involves St. John Bosco, a nineteenth century Italian priest, who took in abandoned boys from the street into his orphanage. One day three of his boys were playing soccer. To engage them in a conversation so as to teach them a spiritual lesson, he asked them this question: What would you do if you knew you had three weeks to live? The first boy piped up and said, “I would immediately go to the chapel and prepare for my death by saying many prayers.” The second boy essentially said the same thing. The third boy to speak, however, gave an unconventional answer. He said that upon hearing the news that he had three weeks to live, he would continue playing soccer. It just so happened that this last boy to speak up was St. Dominic Savio.
What St. Dominic understood that the first two boys failed to grasp is that the path to heaven runs through the soccer field. He knew that playing soccer was perfectly consistent with his salvation. No doubt, he frequented the chapel and daily attended Mass. But his point was that everything he did was a spiritual offering; an opportunity to glorify God.
This takes us to Bishop Sheen’s point: Our friendship with the Lord is meant to permeate all of life, not just church on Sundays. Holiness is not a garment we put on just for Mass and it is certainly not something we put in the closet for the remainder of week (this, by the way, is what led to a sharp decline in Mass attendance). Rather, the only way to dress for heaven is to wear the garment of holiness and virtue throughout the week. By doing this, we are always ready when death knocks at our door.
In addition, we must remember that keeping a wardrobe worthy of heaven must include (and this is where so many people get it wrong) getting rid of our shabby clothes. This is to say that the daily act of turning towards Christ has a corresponding duty of turning away from sin. Without this latter part, we just might be found naked when our number is called.