Inevitably, at one point in your life or another, you get talking to friends about hope, goals and what each one is shooting for in terms of eternal life.
True Devotion to Our Lady is the key to obtaining perfection.
I've been deeply dismayed at the number of Catholics who tell me that they are not trying to be a saint, how hard it is to work on being a saint, so the next best thing is to shoot for purgatory.
This is hard to understand.
Don't people realize that if you shoot for purgatory and miss, the only other option down the ladder is hell?
On the other hand, if you shoot for perfection and miss, you will land in purgatory. And purgatory is bad business. It's a very uncomfortable place.
Horror of Venial Sin
The saints often meditated on the horrendous nature of sin, even venial sin. These meditations helped them to avoid it.
Here are a few quotes from various saints to help us put in perspective the gravity of one venial sin.
For example, Saint Catharine of Genoa said:
"I would, if necessary, cast myself into an ocean of flames to avoid the slightest transgression, and I would rather remain there forever than come out of it by committing venial sin."
Saint Catherine of Sienna said:
"If the soul, which is immortal, could die, the sight of one venial sin defiling its beauty would suffice to cause its death."
And Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez often said:
"May I O Lord suffer all the pains of Hell rather than commit one venial sin."
Let's shoot for perfection
The logical and safest plan to follow for eternal salvation is to shoot for heaven. Not just to "slip in", as some people say, but to shoot for the highest and fullest degree of perfection that God has intended for each one of us to reach.
In the Gospel, Our Lord says:
You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matt. 5:48).
There are no exceptions.
Devotion to the Blessed Mother: the key to Perfection
Some people get discouraged to shoot for perfection because they know little or nothing about true devotion to the Blessed Virgin, as taught by Saint Louis de Montfort.
They may think they need to do it all the hard work by sanctification by themselves. In that case, yes, perfection is impossible. But with Our lady's help, perfection is not only possible, but probable.
The great Marian apostle Saint Louis de Montfort says:
“All our perfection, consists in being conformed, united and consecrated to Jesus Christ; and therefore, the most perfect of all devotions is, without any doubt, that which most perfectly conforms, unites and consecrates us to Jesus Christ. Now, Mary being the most conformed of all creatures to Jesus Christ, it follows that, of all devotions, that which most consecrates and conforms the soul to Our Lord is devotion to His holy Mother, and that the more a soul is consecrated to Mary, the more it is consecrated to Jesus” (True Devotion to Mary).
The solution, then, is to cling to Our Lady through thick and thin. In the words of Saint Louis de Montfort:
“We fasten our souls, to Your hope, as to an abiding anchor. It is to Her that the saints who have saved themselves have been the most attached and have done their best to attach others, in order to persevere in virtue. Happy, then, a thousand times happy, are the Christians who are now fastened faithfully and entirely to Her, as to a firm anchor!” (True Devotion to Mary).