I was listening to a book on tape called Rescued. It is about a pastor and many church members who are on a couples cruise and videotaping everything. The pastor and several others go on a submarine and it crashes. They all die and the pastor returns from from death to tell his congregation about the judgement he went through.
Now during his judgement even though he was a pastor his name wasn't recorded in the The Book of Life. I don't want to ruin it for you but his final sermon was about repentance.
Just because we believe in God and go to church every Sunday, this does not guarantee our entrance into Heaven. We must repent of all of our sins. In order to repent we must truly understand what a sin is. It is my belief that most people do not really understand what sin is. All the churches now a days seem to bring God to us as a loving all forgiving God. He is but He has a vengeful side. His wrath is strong and he doesn't like sin. The problem is that we rationalize what we think sin is, or more importantly what it is not, but our rationalization does not convince God, only us. This rationale is what makes us, especially me, think that i can do something and it not be sinful. This will be our downfall.
So what is sin? Here is how the Catholic Church defines sin: Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as "an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law."121
1850 Sin is an offense against God: "Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight."122 Sin sets itself against God's love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become "like gods,"123 knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus "love of oneself even to contempt of God."124 In this proud self- exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation.
Wow, of all the people i know, i wonder how many can meet these requirements. I know i don't. A failure in genuine Love for God and neighbor. That is a lot to swallow. Something so simple could have such dire consequences for eternity.
What is a failure of Love for neighbor?
Not feeding a hungry person we meet, giving shelter to the homeless, clothing the needy?
Calling ethnic groups by racial names?
Not giving 10% of your first fruits tot he church?
Excessive drinking, gambling, eating?
Holding a grudge for something that happened a long time ago?
Avoiding someone on the street because of the way they look?
Not loaning a family member money or shelter when they need it?
Lust? Man this is tough one. If you see a beautiful women and in your mind think sexual thoughts about her, then you have lusted.
Dirty jokes that make fun of someone or their heritage?
Cheating on your spouse? This one is more than a sexual relationship with someone other than your spouse. The church teaches that if you are divorced for reasons other than sexual discrepancies, then you are committing adultery if you re-marry. Lustful thoughts are also cheating.
My thoughts above are but a mere mention of what would defy Love of neighbor. I would venture to say that salvation in is in the details. All the little things that we don't worry about is enough to drive that wedge between God and ourselves.
As you know this is Lent for us Catholics and i have been doing a lot of soul searching lately and i have come to the conclusion that i am not near as good a Catholic man as i thought i was or want to be. What i have to do now is repent. This is a lot harder than one thinks. You can't simply go to a Priest, confess and be done. You must truly feel sorrow for what you have done in your heart. You must first identify what sins you have committed. This is quite embarrassing for some of us.
I am on my way for my repentance. Some things i can never fix as i have lost the one i hurt and some things i can repair. This is a burden that i must bear but i hope that in our travels, if we meet you will help me to stay on the right path.