Many of us never know how close we have come to going to hell. I found out today just how close I really came to being in the place of eternal torment. Really close.
When my husband was alive I had come back to the Catholic Church and I prayed my Rosary and loved to spend time with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. After my husband died, everything hurt, and I mean everything. Little things like going to the grocery store or watching t.v. was painful, and yes going to church was painful too because everywhere I was, I could feel his absence. (He never went to church with me, but I prayed for him much there.)
Well, after his death, I was hurting so bad, that I just didn't care about anything, myself included. All I wanted was to not hurt just for a little while. I worked 50 hours a week, because I knew if I kept busy the 'demon' of sadness was kept at bay. (There is a physical law that you can't think of two things at the same time, so the busier I was, the better.) In addition to using work as a distraction from the pain I was experiencing, I also sought out unhealthy relationships with men. I stepped into mortal sin. I made every excuse for my behavior, saying that God would understand, and what I was doing wasn't so bad. But I was lying, to myself. The part of me that had loved to go to Mass and pray her Rosary in front of the Blessed Sacrament was screaming, "What are you doing! You know better!"
After three years of this I was beginning to wonder if this was going to be my entire life, and if I could continue to live in this constant pain. Then one day, there was no extra work available and I took a day off. I waited for the sadness to come. It didn't. I was quite surprised. My demon must have been on an extended coffee break. For the first time I knew something that I hadn't known in three years: Hope. For the first time I had hope that there could be a life without this constant sadness.
There was still the problem of my sin though. Then on the way to work one day I heard the sweetest female voice say to me, "Pray a Rosary for me." I knew who it was, I didn't need to question. I said to her, "Gosh, a WHOLE Rosary?" She said, still ever so sweetly, "Just give me a decade." I said, "Ok." and prayed the decade. Well, that was all it took, with that one decade, I started praying the Rosary daily again. I tell you the truth, if you are in consistent mortal sin, you cannot pray the Rosary and still sin, you will either give up the sin or give up the Rosary. This was my truth also. The rest of the story of how I came home (it wasn't overnight, but our Mother's Holy Rosary did it) is a rather long one, so I won't tell it here.
But what I will tell is what God showed me about how close I came to facing God's judgement while in mortal sin. God can judge a sinner at ANY TIME He wishes, and in praying the Stations of the Cross, God let me know just how close I came to that judgement while I was still in mortal sin and not confessed.
The fourth station of the cross is where Jesus meets his Mother on the path of the Cross. In our Church, if you look at the station, it almost looks as if the Blessed Mother is pleading with her Son. When I came to this station to pray it, God showed me something. God showed me that it was the Blessed Mother who had pleaded to our Lord for me when I was in my worst sin. Then I was to understand that when I heard that sweet voice asking me to "Pray me a Rosary." was my last chance to repent. What would have happened? I don't know, maybe I would have died in my sins. But I tell you the truth, if I HAD died in my sins, I would have faced my personal judgement before God and because my sins were of a grave nature, I would have been in hell for all eternity, I know that for sure. I know that because this was what was the knowledge given to me.
How close to the edge of the cliff was I, ready to fall into hell? Really close, almost hanging on by a thread. But God was merciful and sent me His Mother to call me back from the ledge. If your own child got too close to a fire, would you scream and maybe make the child react and fall the wrong way towards the fire or gently distract it from the danger with a sweet and gentle voice to draw it away from the danger?
She is a loving Mother, and when I was close to danger, with her Son's permission she came to me and lovingly pulled me away from the fire (literally!). I beg any of you who are reading this to examine your own sins and reconcile with God....now. Do not turn God away if you hear His voice.
Go to Holy Confession!
Act of Contrition
(My personal prayer)
God forgive me of my sins, I regret each one as a separation from you. Look in my heart and know it is full of love for you and a desire to pursue the path of perfection. Help me pursue this path of perfection by keeping my heart, soul and body pure.