Do you ever wonder if you are living a life that is good enough for you to go to Heaven? What if you're not exactly saintly, but you haven't killed anybody either. On the day of Judgment, will the good outweigh the bad, or vice versa? Will your visits to the sick win over your gossipy nature? How is God going to judge us?
These are good questions and, thankfully, Pope Benedict XVI (who, btw, is very readable) gives us a hint at this in his latest encyclical Spe Salvi.
From Paragraph 46, in a reference to St. Paul's image of the Christian life being built upon Jesus Christ, the Pope says: "If we have stood firm on this foundation [Jesus Christ] and built our life upon it, we know that it cannot be taken away from us even in death. . . . If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward."
From Paragraph 47: "the way we live our lives is not immaterial, but our defilement does not stain us for ever if we have at least continued to reach out towards Christ, towards truth and towards love."
What great news this is for those of us who hover somewhere between saintliness and sinfulness!
In Paragraphs 45-46, Pope Benedict also gives a description of a life that is filled with hatred and lies versus a beautiful life that is "completely permeated by God," noting that "neither case is normal in human life."
So, there you have it, we can find hope in a life well lived, even if it is not perfect!
Be sure to check out this letter; it is good food for thought.