If we truly love God, then we should love what God loves most in all of His creation! And that is: the salvation of immortal souls. In all of creation, both man and woman are at the very pinnacle or zenith of creation in the natural world. All the rest of creation—stones, plants, and animals will one day cease to exist. Not so with the human person.
MOMENT OF CONCEPTION. At the very moment of conception, God intervened in a most powerful way. He infused an immortal soul in that little person! By immortal soul we mean a spiritual entity that contains within it memory, understanding, imagination, and will—the power to choose. Furthermore, this soul, created by God, will live forever, beyond the limits of time and space. This thought is mind-boggling and staggers the imagination.
TWO ROADS. Psalm 1 speak of the two different roads; one leads to peace, fruitfulness, and goodness; the other, like chaff, is blown away by the wind. Expressed in other words, the human person at the end of his life will either be saved and united with God forever in heaven or lost and condemned to the eternal sufferings of hell. There is no other possibility!
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. Our life on earth is very short, indeed very short! If we compare our mere human existence to all of eternity, it is barely a grain of sand on the immense ocean of forever. Saint Augustine explained the concept of eternity in these dense but powerful words: Our life in comparison with eternity is a mere blink of the eye. The Psalmist expresses eternity as such: The life of man on earth is like the flower of the field that raises its head in the morning and withers and dies as the sun goes down. Have you ever watched smoke from a pipe, cigar, or even chimney; it issues forth and dissipates in almost no time. Saint Peter, the first Vicar of Christ, had a few words to say on this timely topic: Before God one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.
THE INFINITE VALUE OF THE HUMAN SOUL. The Angelic Doctor, Saint Thomas Aquinas, stated that one human soul, created in the image and likeness of God, is worth more than the whole created universe. To prove the importance of the assertion of Aquinas call to mind the sober but all important truth that Jesus shed every drop of His most precious Blood to save all of humanity. Saint Ignatius of Loyola, in the Spiritual Exercises, emphasizes the fact that if you were the only person in the whole created world, Jesus would have suffered all of the excruciating pains of His bitter passion just for the salvation of your immortal soul. How important you are in the eyes of God!
APOSTOLIC ZEAL IN THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS. It becomes crystal clear in the lives of the saints, the ardent fire that burned in their hearts to do all they could to collaborate with Jesus in the salvation of immortal souls. Indeed, if we really do love Jesus then we should love what He loves most—the salvation of immortal souls. A few examples to illustrate this point!
SAINT PADRE PIO. Why was it that Saint Padre Pio willingly received and accepted from Jesus the five wounds in his body that we call the stigmata, not for a day, or a week, or a month, but for fifty long years in which there were days where he suffered intensely. On Fridays this great modern saint would actually shed blood from these wounds, and all of the days of Lent. Once some naïve person asked Padre Pio if the wounds hurt. He quipped: “These are not Christmas decorations!” Of course they caused pain and very intense pain. Why on earth would this man suffer so much and for so long? The answer is clear and to the point: because He loved Jesus and loved to work with Jesus for the conversion and salvation of souls, as well as for the purpose of repairing for sins!
THE CURE OF ARS (Saint John Marie Vianney). How could it be that this man spent more than forty years as a priest, most of the time nailed in the confessional? He would spend 12 hours, 15 hours, even up to 18 hours a day in the confessional reconciling sinners to God. He slept on the floor about three hours a night and ate a couple of potatoes a day. Also we should mention the fact that the Cure of Ars had frequent bouts and battles with the devil. Why on earth would any man submit himself to so many privations, sacrifices, and sufferings? Why??? The response once again is simple: he loved God and desired most ardently to collaborate with God in the salvation of immortal souls.
SAINT JACINTA MARTO. This was one of the little shepherd girls who had the privilege of seeing the Guardian Angel of Portugal three times. Then, with her brother and cousin communicated with Our Lady six times—from May 13 up to October 13, 1917. This little girl, who never learned to read and write, arrived at a point in her life where she became a little victim soul—meaning she was ready and willing to offer all of her sufferings to Jesus though the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the conversion of sinners and the salvation of souls. The various forms of her sacrifices were astounding. Here are a few!
1. FOOD. She gave up eating her favorite food—the sweet grapes from the hillsides of Portugal.
2. FUN AND ENTERTAINMENT. She loved to dance (an innocent dance). This too she sacrificed.
3. LUNCH. She would actually give her lunch to the poorer children as she went to pasture to tend her sheep.
3. THIRST. On a hot day in the summer, Jacinta with Lucia and Francisco sacrificed drinking fresh, cold water so as to suffer for Christ.
4. BODILY PENANCE. Jacinta wore around her little waist a rough rope that chafed her skin causing her great discomfort.
5. HEADACHES. On one occasion her head was pounding violently causing her great pain and she started to complain. Francisco, her brother, reminded her to offer that also as a sacrifice. This she did willingly.
6. SUFFERING AND DEATH. Jacinta suffered in a Hospital far from her parents—in a certain sense abandoned. Our Lady appeared to her and asked her if she would be willing to suffer a bit more for the salvation of souls; Jacinta willingly said YES! She died there alone at age 9.
All of these heroic sacrifices Jacinta willingly carried out after Our Lady showed her, as well as Lucia and Francisco, a graphic vision of hell, where the poor sinners go who have so few to pray for them. This vision motivated Jacinta to give her life to Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as what Saint Pope John Paul II called a little victim soul for the salvation of souls.
NOW IT IS OUR TURN. Now it is up to you and to me to enter into our hearts in conversation with God, and with the presence of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary discern with sincerity and truth: what can we do to work with Jesus and Mary for the salvation of immortal souls??? Our Lady of Fatima stated with great sadness: Many souls are lost for all eternity because people do not offer prayers and sacrifices for them. If we love God, then we should love what God really loves most! What is that? It is clearly this: THE SALVATION OF IMMORTAL SOULS. One soul is worth more the the whole created universe. The Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary are waiting for your answer right now!