Every once in awhile something will happen here at the house which makes me wonder if there might not be a ghost cohabitating with me. I have never seen one but strange things seem to happen sometimes, like dishes moving in the strainer, things falling off the counter or other unexplainable things.
Now I don’t necessarily believe in ghosts but I don’t disbelieve in them either. I look at it like this, they might be real but I don’t want to find out. It’s like UFO’s and Bigfoot, they might be real but I don’t want find out by getting up close and personal with one. I also think this is how I once felt about God with one difference. In the case of God, I believed in Him, but didn’t want to find out if he was real or not because, like with ghosts and Bigfoot, if I got the proof, first-hand, then bad things could happen. Not that God is evil, but bad things would happen if I met Him because of my sins. You see, when I was young, we weren’t really taught much about God, or maybe I just didn’t listen, I can’t really say. All I remember is bad things would happen if you sinned, especially if you created a mortal sin. At last count I have committed more than I like to recall.
The consequence of committing a mortal sin? Banishment to Hell. And who would be the judge? God. So why would I want to meet God when He is only going to send me to hell? Therefore, even though I believed God was real, I didn’t want to find out the truth. But again, like most Catholics my age, we grew up in a time when things were changing in the church and catechesis was left behind.
As a brief aside, I believe this is one of the reasons we have the problems we do today. I think it is hard to argue with the fact our moral compass has been turned around and we no longer have distinct lines drawn between what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is evil, instead it is all “grey area.” I blame my generation for this, at least partly. We didn’t want to learn, or didn’t learn, and because of this, we didn’t pass Christian values along. We let the lines become more and more blurred.
I knew enough to know God wasn’t going to like what I was doing and I didn’t pursue it any further. And that was fine with Satan, in fact this is exactly what he wants. Satan wants us to ignore God, to not learn about Him, to not learn about Jesus, because that leaves our souls to him.
I no longer feel the same way, when the time comes to meet God I will embrace it and hope for the best. I have asked for forgiveness for my sins, have performed the sacrament of reconciliation regularly over the past few years and know God has forgiven me. I also know I still might not go to Heaven, but I also accept that fact. It is God’s decision and I trust in Him to make the right one.
What changed my mind about all of this was when I took the time to actually learn about God and His teachings. I have learned since then that God is a merciful and loving God and we don’t need to be afraid of him. Instead we should welcome Him into our lives.
Has my life changed since I have done that? Yes, it has. It is still hard, finances are still tight but the difference now is at least I have hope. The hope that comes with knowing there is something else there, that there is a reason, that there is something to look forward to at the end of this life.
There are those out there who think I must be crazy, that I am foolish for believing as I do, but that’s okay, I know what I believe and that is all that matters, and I will do my best to live my life accordingly.