How can we save the most souls?
13th November 2012 · 0 Comments
By Fr. Jerome LeDoux
There is a hunt going on — a competition, an epic struggle to the death to secure the largest harvest from the richest mother lode on earth. Invisible, intangible, inaudible and not detectable by smell, this mother lode is identified as immortal souls. This hunt is being contested by the devil, the author of death, and God, the Author of eternal life.
“Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men!” Jesus told his apostles in Matthew 4:19. But those fishers of men were only the elite chosen by Jesus to accomplish the most important of all jobs anywhere, anytime, under any conditions: saving immortal souls from eternal damnation by guiding them through all dangers to eternal life.
Down the centuries, it is but a distinct minority who are called by God to become fishers of men in the tradition of the apostles. These vocations embrace a life dedicated to spreading the Good News as an evangelist, vowed life in a religious institute, or a life lived as a pastor of people to save souls through the Good News, prayer and good works.
Most folks, of course, do not fall under any of these categories, since by far most people embrace the vocation of married life. Yet, the first thing to be noted is that every person is called to holiness and salvation, whatever her/his vocation in life. The married are no less challenged to be as holy as the nuns, priests, deacons or religious of any kind.
Jesus commands us all to be perfect in Matthew 5:48, “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Jesus makes no exceptions in his command to us all.
In his fiery letter, James tells us to look out for the physical well-being and the eternal salvation of each sister and brother anywhere on earth. In 5:14, let the sick person “summon the presbyters of the church,” he says, “and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick.”
Again, James says in 5:19-20, “If anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that anyone who brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”
Are you consciously busy every day with your personal task of seeking souls to save and helping them along their road to eternal life? If that sounds trite to you, think again. The subject of saving souls is not, cannot ever be trite or of little moment. One soul is worth infinitely more than the sum total of all the precious goods of the world.
Yea, in fact, made in the image and likeness of God and endowed with God’s own grace, holiness and beauty, one immortal soul is worth more than all the platinum, gold, silver, other precious metals, minerals, fossil fuels, ores, priceless stones, intergalactic resources, water riches, all the fauna and flora, the sum total worth of the entire universe.
How many people in the world are intent on saving their own souls, let alone the souls of others? Is the relentless hunt for souls and the epic death struggle by God and the devil to claim as many souls as possible even a reality for most people? Or is this idea dismissed as something merely mythical, imaginary or even ridiculous?
Do not make the fatal mistake of dismissing the existence of Satan and his evil purpose of snatching souls away from the eternal life God promises us. Pay attention to the apostle’s stern warning in 1 Peter 5:8-9 against the frightful reality of the devil.
“Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith.”
All Saints and All Souls Day are the feast days depicting two most wonderful groups of the overwhelming phenomenon of the Communion Of Saints whose levels are the Church Militant on earth, the Church Suffering in purgatory, the Church Triumphant in heaven. These celebrations compel us to remember this year-round reality in our lives.
We would like to believe, we hope and pray that by far most of the estimated 108 billion people who have lived on earth since the beginning of humankind have been saved by God’s grace for eternal life in our Father’s heavenly kingdom.
Along with our first obligation to do all in our power to save our own souls by the grace of God, are we living our vocation in life in such a mode of faith, prayer and loving sensitivity and good works that we will bring multitudes of souls with us into heaven?
This article originally published in the November 12, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.