On Being Forced into Heaven


Every Friday at OnePeterFive there is an article by Fr. Z. The article goes through the Mass prayers/readings for the upcoming traditional Mass. I'm finding these articles to be very important for me personally. They have become an anchor for my prayer week.

Just a snippet. This past week Fr. Z. brought up a quote by St. Bernard of Clairvaux. I loved it. Here it is:

"St. Bernard of Clairvaux (+1153) remarks that God draws us to Heaven, as if against our will, by means of trials (Sermones de diversis 99). He describes four different sorts of people who get into Heaven: “alii violenter rapiunt, alii mercantur, alii furuntur, alii ad illud compelluntur…  some seize it by violence, some buy it, some steal it, and others are forced to it.”

What does the Doctor Mellifluus mean by these negative analogies? Some, Bernard says, are like violent soldiers who sacrifice everything, live austerely with many mortifications to lay siege to Heaven and thereby win entrance. Others buy Heaven through giving alms and gaining intercessors for themselves who ask God to bestow graces on them to live well and piously. Others steal Heaven, like thieves in the night, whom no one notices, humble and invisible concealing their good works from notice by others. On the other hand, Bernard says that the most numerous are those who must be “forced.” Think of the parable of the Lord we heard last week. The king compelled people to come into the wedding feast. Heaven, however, wasn’t automatic even for those whom the king dragged in. They, too, had to be clothed in the proper garment (charity, habitual grace) for the nuptial banquet.

Bernard’s thought is that when people experience calamities, being so compelled they come to God. Evil times ought to make the Christian more inclined towards the life God wants us to live, not less."

Blessed calamities. Check out the entire article HERE.

Painting theme: Dickens' Hard Times. Found at "And Through Humility, And Sorrow, And Forgiveness, He Had Gone To His Redeemer's Rest" -- Charles S. Reinhart's Illustrations for Charles Dickens's Hard Times (victorianweb.org)


  1. This is actually a comment on your article at 1P5, “'They Just Abandoned It All!' – The Church and a Paradise Lost." I couldn't figure out how to post a comment at 1P5, so I'm posting it here. It's quite simple: "What a GEM of an article!"

    1. Both 1P5 and Crisis shut down their comments' sections earlier this year. The editors said that patrolling the comments was taking way too much time.

      But I thank you for your comment here, Robert. God bless.


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