“At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.”
This phrase of St. John of the Cross is, at times, misused by the usual cafeteria Catholics.
By mentioning it, they state or imply that love saves. I am sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but love doesn’t save.
Every monster is capable of love. Every serial rapist and killer can have people whom he loves. Most of them certainly have. Therefore, love is not the key opening the gates of Heaven.
Nor is that kind of love that translates into “doing good”, but with no faith in God behind it. It has always been Catholic teaching that salvation is the fruit of the works that come from the faith. Faith with no work will yield no salvation; but so will the works without the faith.
If you reject Christ until the end, Christ will reject you in the end. He that believeth not shall be damned. It follows that even being, say, an atheist Mother Theresa will be of no avail for he who believeth not.
Certainly, we can and must hope that Christ will help those who do good to others (which isn’t charity in the proper Catholic sense, but is still doing good deeds) to reach faith in the end. But we cannot say that their ability to love, or the good deeds this ability engenders, will save them. Certainly not if, as this is always the case, this “love” is meant as purely earthly, and the good deeds are made because it’s good to be good. If this were true, then fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind,thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners would all inherit the kingdom of God, provided they love and do good. Which most of them assuredly do.
This “having one’s heart in the right place” nonsense is one of the most dangerous pieces of rubbish spread in modern times.
In the end, everyone has his heart in the same place, and most people love others. Even the Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Obama, and Sebelius.
I can’t imagine countless atheists do not love their offspring to distraction. Will this save them from hell unless they repents? Assuredly not. Not if Christianity is truthful, and makes sense.
Beware of pious hogwash.
The excellent Domine, da mihi hanc aquam blog has a truly wonderful quotation from the “Dominican Legend Fr Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange”.
“The Church is intolerant in principle because she believes; she is tolerant in practice because she loves. The enemies of the Church are tolerant in principle because they do not believe; they are intolerant in practice because they do not love.”
This is so brilliant that I had to re-post it here.