A Revelation That Most Catholics Are Saved (Pt. 2)

St. Mechtilde believed that Our Lord said to her that the number of Catholics who go to Heaven when they die, exceeds the number of those who go to Hell (Liber specialis gratiae. In Sanctae Mechtildis, virginis ordinis sancti Benedicti, Liber specialis gratiae accedit sororis Mechtildis ejusdem ordinis Lux divinitatis. Book 6, Chapter 15. Ed. Monks of Solesmes. Paris: Oudin, 1877). Nevertheless, Our Lord assured her that His justice will claim its due; many souls will go to Purgatory before they are pure enough to enter the Kingdom of God.

Whether or not we can apply this revelation to every generation is not certain (private revelations, in themselves, are uncertain*). It may be the case that the majority of Catholics will, in the end, be saved.

Either way, let us thank God for His mercy! And let us not be presumptuous! We will be saved if we seek God with all our heart. If we are tepid in our faith, there is a danger that we will fall from sin to sin, without even realising how far we have fallen. We must imitate the holy monk that St. Leonard tells us about, who said that, even if one soul were damned, he would do absolutely everything in his power not to be that soul.

*Still, if they are consistent with Church teaching, and if they have been given to a humble and obedient soul, such as St. Mechtilde, then we are safe in believing them, so long as we subordinate them to the Magisterium… This site only quotes from the revelations of those whose virtue has been recognised by reputable authorities.

The Eternal Father to St. Hildegard:

“Does anyone think it possible to see into the deep wisdom of the Most High and into the discernment of His knowledge, and count the number of those who are to be saved? His judgements are incomprehensible to all people. Your task is to run; for the kingdom of God is prepared for you.” (p. 315, Scivias)

God is Patient and Rich in Mercy.

“When Sister [Saint] Mechtilde was once praying for someone who was afraid God had not forgiven a fault he had committed, the Lord told her:

‘That would be impossible. Whosoever regrets his sins receives their pardon from Me. If he continues to grieve for them, I give My grace in addition.’ (p. 47 of ‘Divine Communications’, Vol. 2, by Rev. Auguste Saudreau)

The following encouraging words are from Fr. Mueller’s book, ‘The Prodigal Son, or, the Sinner’s Return to God’:

“The Lord waits,” says Isaias, “that He may show mercy to you.” (Isaiah 30:18)… He delays His punishments as long as possible, that the poor ungrateful wretch may repent and at last return to His friendship. And, when obliged to punish, when He can delay no longer, He does it with such slowness that He discharges His anger little by little, to oblige the sinner to repent of his sins and to arrest the arm of His vengeance. God might have destroyed the city of Jericho in one instant, yet He spent seven days in destroying it. In like manner, He might have destroyed the world by water in one moment, yet He spent forty days in this work. Why? In order that those who were destroyed might have time for doing penance, and so be saved. (p. 281)

Encouragement for Those Who Wish to Abandon Sin

“… God grants the same favors to holy penitents as to innocent souls, and thereby fulfils the promise made by Him through the prophet Ezechiel: “The wickedness of the wicked shall not hurt him in what day soever he shall turn from his wickedness.”  But not only do holy penitents receive the same favors as innocent saints, many of them even seem to be more highly favored by God. Which of the apostles was made Head of the Church? Was it St. John or St. James, whose lives were always blameless? Not so; it was St. Peter, who denied his divine Master three times. And did not St. Paul, who persecuted the Christians with implacable hatred, become a vessel of election to preach the Gospel among the Gentiles? The innocent apostle St. John always remained faithful to our Lord, and stood beneath His cross at Mount Calvary. Yet it was not to him that our dear Saviour appeared first after His resurrection, but to St. Peter, His sinful apostle. It was not Martha but Magdalen, the penitent, that sat at the feet of our Lord and listened to his sacred doctrine; and it was she, too, to whom our Lord first appeared after His resurrection. How great are the graces and privileges which our Lord afterwards granted to so many holy penitents! To St. Augustine, for instance; to St. Margaret of Cortona. To this last saint, in particular, who had formerly spent several years in sin, God revealed the place prepared for her in Heaven amongst the seraphim; and even during her life He showed her many signal favors, insomuch that, beholding herself so highly favored, she one day said to God: “Lord, how is it that Thou lavishest so many graces on me? Hast Thou, then, forgotten the sins I have committed against Thee?” “And have you for gotten,” our Lord answered, “what I have told you, that when a soul repents of her faults I no longer remember the outrages of which she has been guilty towards me?”

… But will not innocent souls murmur at this love and mercy of God for sinners? … Oh! no, holy innocent souls! Show yourselves content with all this… Persevere in your piety, and your reward is most certain. “My son, thou art always with me, and all I have is thine.”  

But do you, wretched sinners who have hitherto been prevented from returning to the Lord by the consideration of the great number and hideousness of your sins, hearken to the words of the wise man: “Think well of the Lord. Think of the Lord in goodness, and seek Him in simplicity of heart.” Think of the Lord in a manner worthy of His goodness and exceedingly great mercy. Should you have committed all the sins that ever were committed, should you have stayed from confession for how long soever, let all this be no reason for you to stay away any longer. God is ever ready to receive you with open arms, to embrace you as His dearly beloved children, with so much the more joy and gladness the further you have strayed away from Him. “Fear not,” said He one day to St. Margaret of Cortona “fear not to obtain the full remission of all thy sins. Thou wilt infallibly obtain it, and thou shalt inflame others colder and more coy. I have destined thee as an example to all poor sinners, in order that they may clearly understand that I am that compassionate Father who welcomes back His most rebellious and most contumacious children, and that, if they ask my pardon and prepare to receive my grace, they will ever find me ready to give it just as quickly as I have turned to thee.”  From the moment of your repentance, all the disorders, all the crimes, of your life, no matter how black, how hideous they may be, will be drowned, as it were, in the ocean of God’s mercy, and disappear as the darkest night disappears at the rising of the sun. “As far as the east is from the west,” says the Lord, “so far I will put away from me all your iniquities.” 

The Mercy of God Towards a Great Sinner

Father Patrignani (Corona d’Esempi, IV. Esemp. 13, t. iv.) relates that a certain woman had committed a great many crimes, but Jesus patiently waited for her conversion. As the woman seeks the lost penny in the sweepings, so did Jesus seek this lost soul in the very midst of her sinful career. This woman at last went so far in her wickedness as to receive Holy Communion unworthily. After having received, she drew from her mouth the sacred particle and placed it in a handkerchief. She then went to shut herself up in her room, where she threw the Blessed Sacrament on the ground, and began to trample it under her feet. But lo! she casts her eyes down, and what does she see ! She sees the Sacred Host changed into the form of a beautiful Infant, but all bruised and covered with blood; and the Infant Jesus said to her:

“What have I done to you that you treat me so ill?”

Upon which the wretched creature, full of contrition and repentance, threw herself on her knees in tears, and said to Him: “O my God, dost Thou ask me what Thou hast done to me? Thou hast loved me too much.” The vision disappeared, and the woman changed her life and became a model of penance. Oh! the great patience of God in waiting for the return of the sinner.

Amend Your Life and You Will Be Saved!

“… know for a certainty that if anyone of you wills to correct himself, amend his life, and humbly turn back to Me, then like a loving shepherd, I shall joyfully run out to meet him, lifting him onto My shoulders and personally carrying him back to My sheep. For by My shoulders I mean that if anyone amends his life, he will share in the benefit of My passion and death, which I endured in my body and shoulders; and he will receive with Me eternal consolation in the kingdom of Heaven.”

– Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweden

“Who can be mad enough,” says Ven. Louis de Blois (Blosius) “not to wish to be saved? What can be easier than to obey a most loving Father, commanding nothing except what promotes our happiness?” (p. 160 of ‘Comfort for the Faint-Hearted’)

“Mercy is, accordingly, pronounced to anyone who repents of his sins and resolves to sin no more, for My Spirit shall inspire him to perform good works. Whoever freely desires to be separated from the vanities of this world is made more fervent by My Spirit.
The person who is even ready to die for me will be so inflamed by My Spirit that he will be wholly in Me and I in him.” (Our Lord to St. Bridget) 

“Likewise, if any sinner were so rooted in diabolical deeds that he was standing at the very brink of destruction, he could still obtain forgiveness and mercy, if he called upon God with contrition and a will to improve.”

– Jesus to St. Bridget

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“Peace to men of good-will!”

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A Revelation That Most Catholics Are Saved.

Venerable Joseph of St. Benedict (d. 1723) was a holy lay-brother of the Benedictine Order of Montserrat in Spain. He was favoured with many mystical gifts, such as visions and the discernment of spirits. Venerable Joseph declares that he is “divinely certain” that the greater number of Catholics are saved. As a part of the process to declare him Venerable, 40 doctors and theologians examined his writings, and “none objected to his thesis” (Fr. William Most).

I mention this revelation for two reasons, primarily:

1. To call to mind the fact that there are contrary revelations; therefore, we should not place our hope in something so uncertain. (Our hope should be in Christ, whose burden is light, provided that we offer him our good will, without reserve. Such souls need not fear damnation, as St. Claude says).

2. To remind oneself that the love and mercy of God are a reason for loving Him more, not less. 

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The revelations of Ven. Joseph of St. Benedict can be found in the book, ‘Fratris Josephi a Sancto Benedicto Opera Omnia’ (available in Latin on ‘Google Books’). The censura of Fr. Dominici Lossada relates to the number of the elect.

Consoling Thoughts On Salvation.

“How many are saved?” “What is the number of the elect?” Questions such as these are common. I do not intend to offer a definitive answer to these questions; that would be great presumption on my part (not even Jesus told us how many would be saved; rather He told us to love and obey Him). The purpose of this article is to provide reasons for doubting the most restrictive view of salvation.

Those who will derive the most consolation from this article (and it is for these relative few that it is primarily written) are those who have read the most restrictive view on salvation. I allude here to the writings of a particular Saint. As there is no obligation to say more than the Scriptures, I believe it would be imprudent to share his writings.

Some Preliminary Points

+ However many souls are saved, God is all good (the more we believe it, the more we will see it; therefore, cultivate hope in God e.g. by meditating on the Passion, or reading a simple book like ‘A Call to Souls’ by Sr. Josefa Menendez) + The devil can appear as “an angel of light” and deceive us with false visions etc. + Even canonized Saints have believed that they had certain revelations that were evidently false (e.g. http://www.ewtn.com/library/THEOLOGY/MARY523.HTM#27 — see ‘Appendix: Discernment of Spirits’) + Even great and influential Saints have been wrong on crucial issues (e.g. St. Augustine’s ‘massa damnata’ theory and denial of the universal salvific will: http://www.ewtn.com/library/THEOLOGY/AUGUSTIN.htm. St. Alphonsus also indirectly refutes St. Augustine on this point: http://www.catholictreasury.info/books/prayer/pr16.php) + The imagery in Scripture that refers to the number of the saved is not straightforward (compare the number of grapes left in a vineyard after harvest, to some of the New Testament passages or parables e.g. Parable of The Ten Virgins, the good fish and the bad fish, the wheat and the cockle etc.) + The Church teaching on “No Salvation Outside the Church” has been clarified since the 19th century (the Church has not changed its teachings; rather, God- in His infinitely wise and loving Providence- has clarified our understanding of this doctrine. The Church has always implicitly taught that salvation is possible to non-Catholics e.g. by means of an act of perfect contrition. It is worth adding- only because they do not add anything new to Church teaching- that Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich, St. Padre Pio and others confirm this fact.) + As Lagrange reminds us, the number of the elect is known only to God (one Saint apparently learnt through revelation that a particular percentage of people will be saved) + Even certain Saints who believed that the majority are lost, still believed that many are saved (which could hardly be said for the Saint alluded to in this article).

Some Optimistic Considerations

Now, let us consider which souls are certainly saved:

+ Baptized infants (this number alone is very great).

+ The Saints.

+ Blesseds e.g. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

+ Those who were reconciled to God at the moment of death (e.g. by means of the intercession of the Saints or a family member. We read frequently of such examples in the lives of the Saints.)

+ Those who die having sincerely confessed all their sins.

These considerations are sufficient to assure us that certain writings of the Saints are not dogma. To the aforementioned number we could add: those who faithfull fulfill the Nine First Fridays devotion, those who persevere in devotion to Mary, those who have a sincere devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows (it was revelealed to a Saint that no soul who had practised this devotion faithfully had yet been lost) etc.

Holy fear is very useful in detaching us from sin, and as Fr. Faber says, a holy fear of God and Hell is a solid foundation in the spiritual life. Nevertheless, God does not want us to give in to despondency. His love for us is so great that if we only entrust ourselves to God’s merciful love and Providence, we will see that (and numerous Saints have confirmed this) God will preserve us from serious sin, which is the only thing that can separate us from God. Even then, God is so generous as to offer us the grace of perfect contrition, which reconciles us to Him instantly!

St. Frances de Sales is an excellent guide in the spiritual life. The following words of his, though address to nuns, are truly applicable to all:  “Jesus Christ, full of gentleness sweetly invites you saying: ‘Come, very beloved soul . . . Look at the Most Holy Virgin who invites you like a mother and says to you: ‘Courage, my daughter . . . Look at the Saints who exhort you and that multitude of holy souls who with great sweetness invite you desiring to see one day your heart united with those who eternally praise God, and they assure you that the road to Heaven is not as difficult as the world paints it. Have courage, they tell you, because if you consider well the road of love by which we have ascended, you will see that we have arrived at these delights by other delights incomparably more sweet than those of the world” (Introduction to the Devout Life, Part 1, Chapter 17).

“The mercy of God is infinite. I have seen that at the time of the Deluge, many, very many were saved from eternal punishment. Fright and anguish converted them to God.”

– Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich (p. 91 of ‘The Life of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations Complete’)

*The Deluge (in which eight were saved from the flood) is often referred to by certain Saints and pious authors as a type for (or allusion to) the number of souls saved.

“I saw too that, by prayer and the offering of sufferings for others, many souls that have done no good upon earth may be converted and saved at the hour of death.”

– Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich (p. 53 of ‘The Life of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations Complete’)

More could be said on this topic, but what has been said suffices to plant a seed of holy optimism in God’s love and mercy, which desires our salvation with such ardour that Our Lord revealed the following to Bl. Dina Belanger:

“My Heart so loves souls that to obtain the affection of a single one, though it were the most miserable, the least worthy, I would have suffered infinitely more than I did during my whole mortal life, had it been possible.”

Our Lord does not want us to be lost. As St. Joseph Cafasso said: “Hope in Him and Heaven is yours!”

“… our Lord revealed to St. Gertrude that he would be ready to die as many times as there were souls damned, if they were yet capable of redemption: “I would die as many deaths as there are souls in hell.”

(Taken from p. 29 of ‘The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ’ by St. Alphonsus)