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A wise person tries to lead a life worthy of Heaven, and so is already living in God's glorious light, when at death, she is called to step forward into Heaven. People who are trapped in mortal sin, by their own free choices, are as if held in a deep pit, in this life. If they do not repent before they die, they will be in that pit at death, unable to enter Heaven, separated from God for all Eternity, by their own fault.
A man who carelessly and deliberately commits mortal sin, but who does not walk away from the Church is like a man on a narrow ladder in a mineshaft, above a fiery pit, in danger, but who has a safety-rope round his waist - from Heaven. If he begins to climb upwards, he can find safety at last, and avoid the flames.
A person who is in mortal sin who not only disobeys God's Commandments but deliberately leaves the Church is like a man on a narrow ladder, in a mine-shaft, above a fiery pit, who deliberately cuts the safety-rope that God had put around him to save him from falling into the flames.
It is a tragedy when people die suddenly, especially if they are unprepared or trapped in mortal sin. Each is catapulted into the presence of the Creator, and is carried towards Heaven, if in a state of grace, possessed by the Holy Spirit, or else falls into Hell. We should all give up our sins, and love God, and show love for Him and our neighbour.
It is a tragedy when a massive natural disaster strikes, and people on earth are suddenly orphaned, bereaved, or injured or lost; but it is an even greater disaster that so many of those who have died have gone to God whilst unprepared, or living in mortal sin. How fortunate are all who have led holy lives.
A person who goes his own way, ignoring God's laws, and not caring about committing mortal sin, is like a person in a lift which is hurtling towards destruction because the cable has snapped. Unless he accepts that he is in danger, and calls for help in time, he will perish.
We do not always feel wonderful after a good Confession, because we are like a man who has climbed out of a deep mine shaft - mortal sin - and who now sits exhausted on the ground. But within the soul the peace of Christ increases, as Christ present within the soul gives grace and spiritual nourishment.
Just as an astronaut who deliberately cuts himself free from his spacecraft risks floating away alone into space, to die, so a person in mortal sin risks finding himself eternally 'lost' without any of the joy and peace and love of God, his Eternal 'Home'
To be in a state of grace is like living in the sunlight with people you love, in beautiful surroundings. To be in mortal sin is to be trapped, spiritually, as if in a dark alley-way, slimy underfoot, and filthy, whilst other people are free and joyful. With God's help, we can live in the light.
A person in mortal sin is like a man on a mountain-side looking into a beautiful valley, towards the City of God, but unable to see a way in. He cannot, by his own power, be restored to a state of grace, or - if he dies - enter Heaven. He needs the help of God, to find forgiveness and salvation.
There is one way into Heaven, made by Christ. It is found by people who walk along the road marked out by Christ. By repentance and Baptism, people are made radiant with Divine grace, ready to walk through the gates of Heaven when they die. Even the person in mortal sin, if he descends from his isolation, can be purified and made worthy to enter.
If we could see into a tunnel where a train has crashed we would see helpless people, in darkness, in desperate need of outside help; and so it is with people trapped in mortal sin. They are in desperate need of the Divine grace that can bring them to repentance, with new life, hope and joy and forgiveness. They desperately need the prayers of the faithful, to help them.
We are on a long climb, as if up a rope, on a cliff-face, in our efforts to reach Heaven in a state of holiness. We sometimes grow weary. We are in pain, or tempted to let go of the rope to enjoy some freedom from our daily routine of service. If we really let go - by deliberate mortal sin - we are doomed, except for a miracle. By faith and prayer, we can persevere to the top.
Many people search for the way into Heaven. Catholics who offer to enquirers a watered-down version of the Catholic Faith, failing to speak truthfully about sin and repentance, make it harder for those people to achieve Eternal Life. They brick up the door to Heaven, so to speak, as surely as bricking up an entrance to a church, our threshold to Heaven, if they allow people to continue in those sins which are, objectively, mortal sins, yet receive them into full Communion, or baptise them.
People in mortal sin are in great need of help, the help which can be brought to them through the prayers of other people. Divine grace can be brought to souls through intercession, just as dramatically as if a life-line were to be suddenly thrown to a person about to be swept over a huge waterfall, to her doom.
A person who has repented of mortal sin, and has been forgiven, after years of neglect of the spiritual life, is like a seaside shack after a furious storm. Even if it is still standing, and the rain is kept out for the occupant, it will need many repairs before it is a comfortable home. Much penance and prayer is necessary, to purify a sinner, and repair what had been damaged in him by prolonged self-love.
A Catholic who ignores the Church's moral teachings, and the sacraments, is as much in danger as a person in the sanctuary at Lourdes, in winter, who decides to leave the town and stroll outwards, to go into the mountains, whilst not wearing sensible clothing. Just as the pilgrim might die of exposure, the unfaithful soul might die in mortal sin, and enter Hell.
A Catholic who puts himself, by a deliberate act or choice, out of Communion with the Church, in mortal sin, is as if standing on a ladder, near the top of a huge pit, in danger of falling; if he dies before he repents and is reconciled he will certainly fall into Hell. He needs God's grace to take the wiser course: to repent, and so climb the ladder and stay on firm ground, out of danger.
We should pray for people in spiritual danger; however, people who insist on walking at the top of a steep cliff can fall, because of their own pride in ignoring warnings, onto the rocks below. A miracle could stop their fall, just as a miracle could stop the headlong fall towards Hell of a person who is insisting on committing mortal sin, despite all warnings. But miracles are rarely granted in such circumstances, being more usually given to the lowly.
We cannot look away when people starve; nor should we look away when the souls of fellow creatures are in danger. People who deliberately defy God's law, and commit mortal sin, and who even show pride in what they do, or boast about it, are as if climbers dancing only inches away from the mouth of a live volcano. They will end in Hell, unless they repent; and so they are in desperate need of our fervent intercessions.
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