Purity of Heart: The Moral Life- Teachings
Can I Attain Heaven?
Msgr. Charles M. Mangan
terrifying disturbance - Original
caused by the grave transgression
and Eve, which forcibly closed the Gates of Paradise, the
Father, showing His fervent desire that the human race be
reconciled to Him, sent His Son Jesus through the fruitful
action of the Holy Spirit to grant His sons and daughters once
again the chance to taste everlasting life. By His redeeming
Death on Calvary, Christ demonstrates His sincere wish that you
be with Him forever. God created you so that you might
possess unending happiness in Heaven.
God wants you to go to Heaven. After
To arrive there, you must know,
love and serve the Lord here on earth. This "blessed task" can
seem overwhelming. How do you persevere in the fierce battle to
love and obey Jesus now, knowing that your fidelity will be
rewarded in the next world in the unceasing Kingdom of God?
There are some tried-and-true ways that will propel you forward
on this challenging, vital pilgrimage. Here are a few. Let's
call them the "Ten Commandments of Our Journey to Our
Everlasting Home." I.
"You shall pray daily."
God can't be overestimated. Prayer is the essential
nourishment for our souls. Without it, our inner selves wither
away. Although it can seem unfulfilling, primarily when we are
troubled with distractions, prayer needn't be complicated. Saint
Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897), also known as "The Little
Flower," described it as a loving glance towards Paradise. "For
me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned
toward Heaven, it isa cry of recognition and of love, embracing
both trial and joy" (Catechism of the
Whether you pray
vocally, meditate on certain passages from spiritual works, or
use contemplation by shutting out external realities, you will
become more like Jesus. Why? Because you have come into contact
with Him and His Beloved Father through the power of the
II." You shall frequently
receive the Sacraments."
The Sacraments are those seven
special external signs that bestow the grace ("God's
life") that they signify. We receive most often Penance
("Confession," "Reconciliation") and the Most Holy Eucharist. To
be absolved from our sins by the priest is a superb foundation
(and is obligatory when one is conscious of unconfessed mortal
sin on his soul) for receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and
Divinity of Jesus in Holy Communion. Regular prayer in the
presence of the Blessed Sacrament will change your life.
III "You shall often read
The Holy Spirit speaks to us in
the inspired words of the Holy Bible. We don't need to be
intimidated when starting to read Scripture. Ask the Lord to
open your soul to His Truth and to provide you with sustenance
for the journey to His Kingdom. You will not be disappointed
when you ponder the sacred message contained in the Bible.
IV. "You shall be devoted to
Mother of God."
Mary was the first
Christian. She is not only Mother of Jesus but also our
Mother who, now assumed into Heaven, intercedes for us near her
Divine Son. Praying the Rosary, wearing the Brown Scapular of
Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Miraculous Medal, traveling to
churches and shrines named in her honor. . .you enjoy abundant
opportunities to show the Ever-Virgin that you love her and pine
for her maternal protection.
V. "You shall study the
Teachings of the
Jesus left behind His Chaste
the Church, for us! What God revealed in Sacred Scripture and
the Apostolic Tradition is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit and
guarded by the Church's
(the Teaching Authority composed
Pope and those Bishops in union with him). Studying the
doctrines of the Church as found in the Catechism and other
solid volumes will help you in observing the beauty of the
Church and the reasonableness of her mandates.
VI. "You shall have recourse
to the Angels
Saints." Each person asks
Guardian Angel "to light, to guard, to rule and to guide" him,
using the phrase of the famous "Prayer to the Guardian Angel."
The Angels, including the three well-known Archangels Michael,
Gabriel and Raphael, are strong and close to God. You need the
protection of the Holy Angels from all the snares of Satan who,
with his cohort of demons, is very active in your midst. The
Saints are already in Heaven. Their celestial assistance is to
be constantly pursued; their edifying example is to be
continually imitated. Your Patron Saints are your special
companions who delight whenever you invoke them.
VII. "You shall perform acts of charity through the Corporal
and Spiritual Works of Mercy."
Charity, by which we resemble God Himself, is the greatest
of the three supernatural virtues (faith and hope are the
others). We live in charity when our souls possess it; we engage
in charity when we reach out to our neighbor. When you embrace
the Corporal Works of Mercy (to feed the hungry, give drink to
the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, attend the
sick, visit the imprisoned, bury the dead) and the Spiritual
Works of Mercy (to instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful,
admonish the sinner, bear wrongs patiently, forgive offenses
willingly, comfort the afflicted, pray for the living and the
dead), you provide evidence of your ambition to serve Christ
wherever you meet Him.
VIII. "You shall have concern
for the Poor Souls in Purgatory."
The Holy Souls in Purgatory will eventually enter Heaven.
Meanwhile, they warrant our prayers and sacrifices. Arranging
for a Mass to be offered for all of them (or for anyone of them)
is the best remembrance you can give them.
IX. "You shall practice
Mortification done from love of
Christ and in a spirit of penance and reparation for one's own
sins and those of others is critical in seeking the face of
Jesus. Each Friday is a day of penance when we recall the
Savior's suffering and death on Calvary. Your self-denial makes
you more humble, dependent on God and receptive to His will.
X. "You shall carefully avoid
the near occasions of sin."
Persons, places, things and events can lead us to sin. When
we become aware of these "near occasions," we have the duty to
evade them if possible. If we can't completely sidestep them,
then we must limit their influence. Ask your confessor in the
Sacrament of Penance to explain this crucial principle.
Attaining Heaven is possible. The Lord has generously bestowed
on us the capacity to know, love and serve Him in preparation
for our time with Him forever. And going to Heaven is also
demanded of us, because "He is our God and we are His people,
the flock He shepherds" (Psalm 95:7). Where else would you want
to spend eternity but with your gracious Creator Who made you
Msgr. Charles M. Mangan is a
priest of the Diocese of Sioux Falls, SD. A prolific writer,
Monsignor is a member of the Vaticanís Congregation for Institutes
of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. He has an S.T.L.
in Canon Law and is currently completing a doctorate in Mariology.
This page is the work of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and
Copyright © 2006 SCTJM