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What We Must do to Get to Heaven

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By Fr. Joseph, MIC (Jul 20, 2019)
What did Adam and Eve actually do wrong? They were disobedient to God, that's true. But that was just the beginning of their problems. What happened next proved to be an even larger problem. They didn't follow the ABCs of mercy.

First, A: Ask for God's mercy:
Next, B: Be merciful to each other.
Finally, C: Completely trust in God.

Adam and Eve didn't know their ABCs.

Ask for His mercy
Adam and Eve never said they were sorry. They never asked for forgiveness.

Scripture makes it clear that we must repent of all serious sins in order to enter Heaven (see Mt 4:17). It also makes clear that when we do repent, God will forgive our sins (see 1 Jn 1:9).

People are fearful that God cannot forgive them or won't forgive them. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. We read in St. Faustina's Diary about the healing graces that flow from the Sacrament of Confession. Regarding His compassion for sinners, Jesus says, "I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart" (1588).

We mustn't put ourselves outside of the mercy of God. That is to say, we mustn't tell ourselves we don't need God's mercy or that our sins are greater than His willingness or capacity to forgive. We do indeed need God's mercy; but we must indeed ask for it.

Be merciful
When they were caught in their sin, were Adam and Eve merciful to each other? No. In fact, Adam immediately blamed Eve for his disobedience (see Gen 3:12).

In the Gospel of Matthew, we learn that at the end of time, the Son of Man will judge us based on whether we have engaged in the works of mercy. "Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me" (25:40).

The works of mercy are not optional. Indeed, faith without works is dead (see Jas 2:17).

What are some ways we can show mercy to others? Jesus makes it clear through St. Faustina. He says by deed, word, and prayer. "In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me," Jesus says (Diary, 742).

Completely trust
Did Adam and Eve completely trust in God? No, they didn't. They ran and hid from Him.

By contrast, among the many examples of trust is that of Abraham.

Abraham understood that, first and foremost, we must seek to do the will of God, trusting that God knows what's right for us. When he agrees to sacrifice his son Isaac, Abraham not only models obedience to God, but he also models what it means to completely trust.

How so? As Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, has pointed out, God had promised Abraham that his descendants would outnumber the stars in the sky (see Gen 15:5). Abraham trusted the Lord that He would keep His promise. Considering Abraham was prepared to kill Isaac, the son of the promise, I'm sure he didn't exactly understand how God would go about fulfilling His promise. Still, Abraham trusted.

We have to ask ourselves if we have such trust. Saying "Jesus, I trust You" is not enough. But when we say, "Jesus, I trust in You," we entrust ourselves to Him. We give our lives to Him.

So remember your ABCs. Our salvation depends upon them.

Father Chris Alar, MIC, serves as the director of the Association of Marian Helpers and the spiritual director of Friends of Mercy.

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