I remember when I was young, my limited spiritual life revolved around worrying about whether or not I would go to heaven after I died. Even though I wasn’t too sure what heaven was like, I was scared to death of going to hell and wanted to avoid it at all costs. Fortunately, I came to learn (meaning this is what I was taught) that there were ways that I could manage this. If I could obey all of the rules – okay, most of the rules – and do a lot of extra devotional things like going to Confession, Mass and receiving Holy Communion on nine First Fridays of the month in a row, I would go straight to heaven. As a student in Catholic school, that was worked into the curriculum! This was gonna’ be easy.
And then I got older and slowly came to the realization that all the above was rather “quid pro quo” and almost seemed as though I could go before God and say, “Hey, I followed the rule, let me into heaven!”