by Ram Rito
Q. Honestly! Don’t you find Q&A 83 more than just a little bit discouraging!? I find it extremely unfair, unloving, hung up over little things instead of looking at the whole picture.
A. True. You’re right… But you know what the ENCOURAGING part of Q&A 83 is?
A. Precisely what is NOT written.
Q. What do you mean?
A. Look. Imagine I’m in a matatu headed to town, and then the driver loses control and we swerve onto the path of an oncoming, speeding trailer. Death is certain. And the moment that thought hits you, the moment you realise you are going to die in a head-on collision, you naturally react and say something.
Now imagine I could say something so serious as to be a mortal sin like cursing God or else something else that shows my undying love for God. Which would you say – even on a balance of probabilities – I’m I likely to utter just before the collision?
Q. Well I suppose the utterance you’ve been used to saying all your life.
So if I’ve struggled to live a good, virtuous and holy life all along and 2 minutes before I die a temptation is set before me to mortally sin against God, then my decision at that point will be heavily influenced by the good life I have lived up until then. I will most probably not curse God or otherwise fall into that mortal temptation. God’s life in me (grace) will survive and I will make it to heaven with my lamp full of oil.
And the reverse is true. If I’ve been living a life of sin and vice all along with the mentality that I shall – just before I die – make amends with the merciful and loving God, then come that moment just before the fatal crash, the thought that will cross my head and my lips will pretty surely be the thoughts and words that have crossed my head and my lips all through my life. I will most probably utter expletives, curses and blasphemies. My lamp will continue to be empty of oil. I will have missed heaven.
Q. So even though I can sin mortally 2 minutes before I die after a virtuous and holy life, it is precisely that virtuous and holy life that will guide me safely through those last 2 minutes of my life.
A. Precisely! Brilliant!
Q. And that’s why you’re saying it’s not as unfair as it looks at first glance.
Q. Makes sense…
A. It did to me when a friend of mine explained it like this many years back…