Saturday, March 9, 2013

Born to Soar

There is a common tendency to divide humanity into great sinners, great saints, and “normal people.” We tend to think that a merciful God glorifies the great, damns the evil, and reflexively saves the average Joe.
There is a strong part of me that wants to believe that this is the case. After all, God is infinitely merciful.
But I can’t quite shake a nagging feeling that there is more required of us that what we deem to be the bare minimum for salvation. And an even stronger part of me warns that I would not choose the path to joy if it were presented me now, preferring my own weak will to eternal joy.
For as I have stated more fully in a previous post, God loves us deeply. He loves us not with the senile affection of a grandparent, but with the burning fire of a lover. And He demands that burning love of us in return.
A life of comfort is a dreadful temptation to mediocrity and indolence. C.S. Lewis, in the Screwtape Letters, warns us that the comfortable path is dangerous for salvation: "The safest road to Hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts."
Yes, this comes from a fictional devil, and thus comes with a grain of salt. But Christ himself indicated the same in the Gospels when he warned: "Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat." (Matthew 7:13)
We were made in the image and likeness of God. We are given by God incredible graces in the seven sacraments, a book to teach us our heritage, an incredible longing to enjoy a presence which we see faint echoes of on earth, and a Church to help us love Him better .
We were born to soar, to become living flames of virtue, sons and daughters of God.
And yet I can say for myself that I consistently choose the path of mediocrity - Masses barely concentrated    on, prayers hastily whispered, duties grudgingly performed. Would I really want to spend an eternity in the unbearably powerful presence of my Master after a lifetime of half-given service?
Perhaps. Yes, I might be saved, in spite of myself. Yes, I may choose the path of paradise on my deathbed. Yes, I may have a tepid, latent desire for Christ that Purgatory will blow into flame.
But as of this moment, I can't say for sure whether this is the case, and it scares me greatly. 
Are we sure that a merciful God will save us in spite of ourselves, when we may not wish to bear His love in return? I would never and could never claim knowledge of who chooses salvation or damnation - but I do know that humans tend to miss the marks they aim for, and that shooting for mere mediocrity may result in much worse. 

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