Every November I go around to the parish schools (wherever I am serving) and talk about the Holy Souls. One part of my presentation is asking the children about what happens after we die. The most common answer is that we go straight to heaven – at least in the Walt Disney view of things. To bring things back to a Christian footing I speak about living our lives in one of two ways: we reject God and his offer of salvation by saying NO to his will or we accept God and his offer of salvation by saying YES to his will. I then say that if give God a big YES we go straight to heaven while a small YES will result in us going to Purgatory where our love for God will be purified and become a big YES.
Thinking that there is automatic passage to heaven after death is one sign of a general loss of the sense of sin and how it separates us from God. Reaping what we sow is a part of our natural world. The farmer’s harvest and the student’s exam results are all the fruit of the work done – or perhaps undone – earlier on.
Yesterday my sister Maureen sent me on this SINNERS’ PRAYER which corrects this presumptuous view of our relationship with God and the consequences of sin