How Do I Get To Heaven

Q. How do we get to Heaven?

A. We get to Heaven by:
1) Repenting of our sins and

2)By the saving grace of Jesus’ death and resurrection

3)Through baptism and

4)receiving His body and blood in sacred communion and

5)dying without mortal sin on our soul and

6)in friendship with God.
This is the normal way for us to attain Heaven after our death. However, God can bring people to Heaven in ways and for reasons only He knows. So, please don’t think that everyone who doesn’t meet all 6 of the items above is going to Hell. These are the revealed things that we believe will help us get to Heaven.
Here is a different post on my site that goes into more detail.

How does a Catholic get to Heaven?


20 Responses to How Do I Get To Heaven

  1. Michael says:

    I’d put the matter differently, without claiming infallibility. (The numbers refer to the same in the Post.)

    The (2) saving grace of Jesus’ death and resurrection is necessary in general, both to ENABLE us to meet more specific conditions, i.e. to (3) receive baptism, to (1) repent our sins, and to (5) die without mortal sin on our soul, as well as to MEET these conditions IN POINT OF FACT, so that we might be in (6) friendship with God.

    But with the exception of unbaptized babies for whom the (3) baptism is enough for the (6) friendship with God, the (2) saving grace of Jesus’ death and resurrection is WITHOUT EFFECT UNLESS WE COOPERATE :
    (A) by (3) receiving baptism (if unbaptized and adult) having (1) repented our sins committed before the baptism, or if we haven’t repented them before, we do so after the baptizm and include in the repentance the sacrilegious reception of the baptism itself.
    (B) By (1) sincere repentance of sins committed after the baptism, inclusive of determination to go to confession (Sacrament of Reconciliation) as soon as possible.
    (C) By (1) repentance in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
    (D) By Receiving the Anointing of the Sick, if unconscious (let us think about those dear to us in that condition), or even if conscious but for various reasons unable to confess the sins.

    The (4) receiving His body and blood in sacred communion is not necessary for the (6) friendship with God in cases when one hasn’t received the first Communion. Even after that, strictly speaking, one can (1) repent and (5) die without mortal sin and be in (6) friendship with God, without (4) receiving His body and blood in sacred communion, although in practice the (4) receiving His body and blood in sacred communion is necessary for the grace of (1) repentance, sustenance in virtuous life, and consequently (6) friendship with God.

    To (4) receive His body and blood in sacred communion in the state of mortal sin is a sacrilege, unless there are serious reasons to do so, say: priest who has no opportunity to go to confession but has to say the scheduled Mass. Still, he has to be sincerely repentant and determined to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation as soon as possible.

    We can (1) repent our sins, and be forgiven, without Sacrament of Reconciliatiom, provided we are primarily sorry for having offended God (perfect or imperfect contrition), we have no opportunity to go to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and are determined to do so on the earliest opportunity; but nevertheless, the exceptional situations apart (see above), we may not (4) receive His body and blood in sacred communion.

    It goes beyond saying that a sincere repentance is impossible unless it includes a determination to stop sinning. In every style of life one can easily discern what he/she must do in practice, however costly in relationship with others and in financial terms this may turn out to be, if he/she is rally repentant. This is particularly evident in cases when it is not just one-off sin, but the sin involves the way of life.

  2. I know there’s some degree of unknown involved with baptism and the fate of those who die without it – but I have a serious concern regarding my brother who has two young sons. He has left the church and he and his wife practice no religion but have fallen into that category of “spiritual but not religious”. I have offered to arrange a baptism for the children but this was refused.

    I’ve also read that it is a sin to secretly baptize a child against the will of the parents – so why is this?? I fight the temptation when I am with these innocent little boys to baptize them and at least give them a fighting chance? Whould doing this constitute a mortal sin?? Should I simply continue to watch and pray??

  3. Robert says:

    Sanctus Belle,

    Even if you could get him agree to let you arrange a baptism, the pastor would not agree. The *parents* need to agree to raise the child in the faith.

    Baptism is definitely good, but so are all things. This is a lesson which St. Augustine often hammers on– all things are good, and sin is using good things in the wrong way. Hence, while baptism is good, baptizing a child against the parents’ will is evil, for it is using an evil means to obtain a good end.

    Don’t forget that in our society one of our biggest problems is that we think evil means justify good ends– think of debate on embryonic stem cell research and abortion. Proponents of these evils always want to obtain some good (the cure of a genuinely horrible disease, or the removal of stress and economic hardship from a mother), but by evil means. There’s little you can do more to stick it in their eyes than to say: “I resolutely and unequivocally reject your consequentialism. I don’t care how good the outcome is, it is *never* permissible to do evil so that good may come of it. It is better that the universe be annihilated than that I commit but one venial sin.”

    And so I worry here that residual consequentialism may be clouding your judgment. Parents have the duty and the right to raise their children. This is a genuinely difficult dilemma– for baptism is an excellent and good thing– and they don’t want their children to get it. And what’s difficult is that our society has conditioned us so strongly to support our good ends by any means necessary, even though evil means are never permissible.

    So I think the answer is that you need to continue to pray. And not just to pray, but to sacrifice on behalf on them. Let your years of prayer be the levers which move their hearts to conversion. How many mundane sacrifices can you make, and for how long? Imitate St. Monica in bringing these people to a spiritual rebirth. And better yet, make yourself as holy as possible so that you can in turn make them as holy as possible through your prayers.

    I think if we really believe in the power of God, then we also should believe that God does give these people a “fighting chance” when we pray for them. God will provide the grace.

    And of course, this doesn’t exclude continuing to introduce them to genuine Catholic spirituality– or introducing their child, as he ages, to Catholic spirituality. I don’t say “Catholic doctrine” for they might frown on that, but books like, “the Practice of the Presence of God” and St. Therese’s autobiography, the Story of a Soul, are quite excellent introductions to the life of prayer which even non-religious but allegedly spiritual people ought to read.

    Indeed, I wonder if they really know a thing about Catholic spirituality. And you could be the first person to introduce them to it substantially. Of course, they’ll be closed off to anything as seemingly rigid and orthodox as the rosary (which is our best kept secret), but introduce them to the great Carmelite mystics, to Sts. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila (see Fr. Thomas Dubay’s “Fire Within” which explains them… it’s an excellent book), or again, read and then show them a book about lectio divina, like Thelma Hall’s, “too deep for words.” And St. Therese’s Story of a Soul is certainly a wonderful biography.

    Once they learn about the great gifts of prayer which God gives to His beloved, and the type of totality of self-sacrifice and virtue which is necessary for growing close to God (something which new age crap won’t say), then maybe they’ll be more drawn to it. And if they’re into new age nonsense, they’d be better off with the ancient philosophers (the Stoics and Epicureans) who were better anyway… but that’s neither here nor there.

    God bless,

  4. Robert says:

    Of course, I really doubt that most new agey people who claim to be “spiritual” have genuinely considered what it means to be “spiritual but not religious.” Either they want to enter into a relationship with God or not. And if they don’t, then they’re not even spiritual. If they do, then it demands nothing less of them than the whole of their being. I think it’s usually an excuse for being lazy, because they don’t want to involve themselves in the hard work of becoming virtuous, and yet still want to feel good and have the spiritual highs sometimes associated with religion.

    Sadly, there is no easy path. Only the narrow road.

    “33. I didn’t know you, my Lord, because I still desired to know and relish things.”

    “41. Do not tire yourself, for you will not enter into the savor and sweetness of spirit of you do not apply yourself to the mortification of all this that you desire.”– St. John of the Cross, Sayings of Light and Love.

    “One who is in darkness does not comprehend the light, so neither will a person attached to creatures be able to comprehend God. Until a soul is purged of its attachments it will be unable to posses God, neither here below through the pure transformation of love nor in heaven through the beatific vision.”– St. John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mount Carmel (Bk. 1, Ch. 3)

    And again,

    “People, indeed, are ignorant who think it is possible to reach this high state of union with God without first emptying their appetite of all the natural and supernatural things that can be a hindrance to the… (Ibid, Bk. 1 Ch. 4)

    I could multiply examples, but people who think they can be “spiritual” but not dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to purifying themselves from vice and attachment are simply, as St. John says, ignorant. And no ancient philosopher, from Plotinus to Marcus Aurelius, would say otherwise.

    Like I said, I often suspect that naming oneself ‘spiritual’ is an excuse not to wholeheartedly pursue what can only be pursued wholeheartedly. “Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is Lord alone, and you shall love Him with your whole heart, mind, soul and strength.”


  5. Michael says:

    SANCTUS BELLE, may I add to what ROBERT says, that if the boys are at the age of reason, a baptism against their will might be invalid.

    A receipient of a sacrament must have intention to receive it – for the sacrament to be validly received. This principle is not based on the validity of the sacramental sign as such (minister who is capable of confering the sacrament, matter, form, minister’s intention of “doing what the Church does”), but on the individual’s right to freedom.

  6. Nan says:

    Robert, most people I know who are “spiritual but not religious” reject organized religion after bad experiences so find the new age. Frequently they follow alternative religions that worship nature, such as druidism, wicca and other nature religions which worship nature spirits, ancestors or whole pantheons of gods and goddesses. They don’t practice religion as you know it, but are sincere in their beliefs and typically are good, normal people.

    Once in awhile there’s someone who’s out there and practices one of these types of religions but that’s hardly the norm.

  7. Robert says:


    Unfortunately my post merged into an argument against the ‘spiritual but not religious’ theme, and I think I seemed to come off more negative against these people that I actually am. I didn’t mean to be rude to them, but perhaps I was.

    The reason that came up is because I’ve often wondered how one responds to a person who claims to be spiritual but not religious, and I think that’s the beginning of my thought on it… but it definitely needs clarification. Perhaps if I comment on what you’ve said it will help to clarify.

    “Robert, most people I know who are “spiritual but not religious” reject organized religion after bad experiences so find the new age.”

    I think this is definitely is true, and we ought to take this into account with anyone estranged from the faith. We need to be sensitive to the genuine pain and suffering which people have experience in, or in relation to ‘religious’ people and institutions of religion.

    “Frequently they follow alternative religions that worship nature, such as druidism, wicca and other nature religions which worship nature spirits, ancestors or whole pantheons of gods and goddesses. They don’t practice religion as you know it, but are sincere in their beliefs and typically are good, normal people.”

    Indeed, they don’t practice religion as I know it, and I wouldn’t say that they strictly don’t practice religion. I think the problem is that religion of this sort more resembles the ancient pagan superstitions than modern religion, especially if the prayer and sacrifice of such a religion is very “magic” like, in other words, if it is viewed as a tool by which to gain divine favor.

    While I do agree that these– and indeed, many areligious and normal “Catholics”– are good people, I think we practicing Catholics need to make a careful distinction. The natural virtue of being generally nice people is certainly a good thing, but I think it gets played up quite a bit too much. There is a world of a difference between the heroic virtue which God gives to the faithful Christian, and the type of general niceness which most people have prior to entering into a serious relationship with God through religion (and I include myself here). Quite frankly, this general niceness, at least in my case, was so deeply stained through and through with disorder and vice that I don’t count it for much. I don’t mean to say that I’m perfect now, but merely that God’s grace has revealed to me how disordered I was. So while I don’t think these spiritual but not religious people are evil and awful people, I think we need to also recognize that the genuine virtue which is really necessary for a relationship with God is definitely lacking in most.

    Where my criticism really lies, though, is in the difference between the hard work and commitment which genuine religion requires– the difficult ascetical requirements– and the type of self-seeking gratification which I think these systems generally allow for or encourage. I admit that I’m mostly ignorant, and I’d love to be corrected as to the specifics, but it seems to me that they lack genuine personal self-sacrifice and tend towards the end of self-aggravation rather than self-denial. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I honestly don’t see how the pursuit of virtue in a strong sense can be a part of these systems.

    I too have known and know people who have gone to wicca and other new age and pagan practices, and quite frankly, the strong religious sense, the drive for virtue in order to encounter God is simply absent– or at least not in evidence at all. Blame it on youth? Perhaps. People my age are generally dumb. But if their practice is shallow now, how will they deepen in as they grow older? Certainly not from the great riches of the wiccan tradition (there aren’t any).

    I think our culture very much encourages the practice of religion for what one gets out of it. So perhaps one feels cool to practice a cultic magic ritual, likes the inclusion with other people, or wants to influence spirits to get things they want. But I really don’t think it’s much deeper than this in most people. And this is opposed to the Catholic tradition, which while it does offer great personal spiritual riches (the heights of union with God in prayer), it only offers them through utter and total self-denial. Of course, most Catholics know nothing of what the religion really teaches about union with God, so I can hardly fault them for thinking it’s just all ridiculous. After all, I used to think it was just ridiculous too.

    I’m rambling, I think, Nan. Has that helped at all? I wouldn’t preach fire and brimstone at them, that’s for sure, nor would I condemn them. But I think we need to recover the true sense in which man is a religious animal if we want to show how necessary Catholicism is for life, and I’m not sure these are fundamentally compatible with man’s religious being. But I’m still just forming my thoughts on the matter…

    God bless,

  8. happy says:

    Sanctus Belle:
    (1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desire that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them” (Mk 10:14;cf. 1 Tim 2:4) allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism. )from Catholic Forum.

    How old are the boys? I would think that they would have an age of accountability that they might make their own choice.
    I am not Catholic and was raised where you must go through confirmation and then be baptised at an age that you understood and took in the full meaning of it. My Ex husband did not want our children to go through that, so because I was rather stupid and didn’t want to fight with him I didn’t arrange it. My 3 children went through confirmation classes without the baptism. They talked about it and I wanted to but ….time marched on. We all love the Lord. We were active in church, mission work, volunteering, teaching sunday school… on and on.
    It was after I was married to my Catholic husband that the girls were baptised. They were 10, 14 and 19 at the time.
    You just have to wonder about if something were to happen to them if our merciful Father would take into consideration that the parents (like me) were just on the wrong track or misinformed.
    As far as your brother being “spiritual” I have an uncle like that. Yes, he is a good man. Wonderful. For many years our family has prayed for him, his wife and 2 sons to come to the Lord. He was raised in a devout protestant church. He is almost 70 and we are still praying! Things are moving in their lives though and we recently have seen a glimmer of hope. It sounds like your brother had a background, so hopefully the Lord will call him back to his roots.

    Pray for them! God can make the seemingly impossible, possible!
    I will lift them in prayer at this time too!

  9. Michael says:


    You are using a misleading terminology when referring to marriage. If an “ex-husband” is still alive he is still husband, because valid marriage cannot be divorced; and if he has passed away he is the late husband, not an ex-husband. If a bond, which looked like marriage wasn’t valid (annulled by the Church), he wasn’t husband at all.

    A second husband is really a husband if the first one has passed away, i.e. if the first one is now the late husband. But if he is still alive, the “second husband” is not husband at all. If the first bond wasn’t valid (annulled) it wasn’t marriage at all, i.e. the “first husband” wasn’t husband at all, and the second bond, in this case, is true marriage, and the “second husband” is in fact the first husband.

    Some exceptions to this are possible if the marriage hasn’t been consumed, and in the case of marriage between Christian and a non-Christian, but these are special cases.

    Catholic doctrine on Matrimony and canonical practice differs from that of the civil law and the non-Catholic Christian communities, which permit a divorce, and I was using the terms above in the Catholic sense.

    A marriage, if consumed, between two baptised persons, whether Catholics or not, cannot be dissolved, whatever the civil law stipulates, and whatever the practice in the Christian communities other than Catholic. If a civil law or a non-Catholic Church (say Orthodox) or Community (say Baptist) grants a divorce, the two are still married a far as the Catholic Church is concerned.

  10. happy says:

    oh, no! I am beginning to think I will never make it into the Church!….:(

  11. bfhu says:

    Let her pastor sort all of this out when she enters RCIA. Everyone knew what she meant as she explained her situation. While all that you say is true it come across as critical. She is not a canon lawyer and exactitude in everything on a blog gets very tedious and often unnecessary.

    Each marriage situation is so very individual that it is just so much better to be handled on an individual basis in a pastoral, positive, encouraging, and loving way.

  12. happy says:

    Thanks, it is very confusing. I know gobs of divorced and remarried Catholics. My husbands first wife (or whatever) is still even employed by the Church. I would think that all this would just encourage my husband to leave the Church.

    We have so far recieved support from our parishes. One priest is even on the board that reviews the annulments so he is aware of the entire situation.

    Blessings to you.

  13. bfhu says:



    There is the possibility that your first marriage was not sacramental in the first place and therefore would not be binding. If the Church finds that it was not sacramental then you would receive a Declaration of Nullity and your present marriage could be validated as sacramental.

    I don’t know where you live but in So. Calif. it takes about 18 months to receive a judgment. Be NOT afraid as Pope John Paul II said. I would recommend that you make an appt. with your pastor and just begin the process. The Catholic Church is not pushy or coercive. You can start RCIA while the Dec. of Nullity is being pursued. It may take 18 months or less but if at any time you change your mind you can withdraw from the process and no one will hound you or bug you. They may check on you from time to time until they are sure you won’t feel they abandoned you. It is all very loving and welcoming…and AMAZING.

  14. bfhu says:

    I see your husband was married before as well. That would not preclude his former wife from working for the Church. Let us all pray for you, your husband, and your journey…

    Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto You, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother! To you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.

  15. happy says:

    Thanks so much! Please continue to pray for us. I could just continue to attend Mass like I am, but as I told you before, I really feel something is missing!
    I want to be able to move forward.
    Even the anullment process(we went through together) was very healing at the time!
    Thanks for your advice and kind answers. You certainly know where I am coming from.

  16. Michael says:


    Thanks for your comment. I deliberately used an abstract approach, and went into details to cover all possibilities I could think of, because I really had no clue, nor do I know now even after the last few comments, the lady’s specific situation; nor did I want to intrude into it by venturing a specific guess, or putting “nosy” questions. If you knew, it doesn’t follow that everyone did; and I certainly didn’t.

    All that drew my attention were two fragments from two sentences: “My Ex husband” and “I was married to my Catholic husband” – which did not make sense to me.

    My concern was a clarification of concepts and the language used – nothing else. If somebody finds it tedious or unnecessary he/she can skip it, if he/she wants to learn I would be pleased to help if I can; if those who run the Blog want to delete my comments they do not have to ask me.

    A public blog is not the forum for a solution of private issues, and if somebody makes his private matters public he must be ready to a feedback that might not be to his liking. Otherwise, a silence can be misinterpreted as an approval of whatever that individual says about his life or views, which, if erroneous, can be detrimental to the person concerned as well misleading to others – all around the globe. In both cases: uncharitable, and it is uncharitable too to let it go uncorrected if one can correct it. We are supposed to proclaim truth (and correct error) “in season and out of season.”

    An ambiguous terminology – I note that you are using it too – obscures the truth which we have to announce. From my experience, it is exactly the ambiguous talk, or a tolerance of it, by those who should know better, that leads to a distorted notion and/or playing down of the Church doctrine on marriage, with all the consequences.

    By the way, Declaration of Nullity is impossible if a marriage is valid, whether sacramental or non-sacramental.

  17. Ok, just now getting back to read your fine response to my question regarding baptism. Thank you very much. I stated in my first message I was tempted to baptize them, I knew however that doing so against the parent’s will was a sin so I would not have done it, I just needed some clarification as to why this act would be a sin. The boys are not yet of the age of reason, currently are 2 and 3 1/2. They will be at our home for Thanksgiving but don’t worry – I won’t secret them off to baptize them! I will continue to pray for them!

  18. happy says:

    I will pray for them and their parents, too! It is sad, not just the salvation issue, but a lifetime of God’s Glory in their lives!
    Blessings and Happy Holidays!

  19. A Former Catholic says:

    I find you passiveness very aggressive and insulting.

    You do objective and grave harm to all marriages when you refer to objective adulterers as somehow, husband and wife.

    I fought to hold our marriage together then had to fight in the Catholic to defend against a system of PROFESSIONAL MARRIAGE ASSASSINS!

    Our marriage was defended twice in Rome and was held valid, only to see the Catholic Church in the US refer to my wife and her adulterous partner as THE PARENTS OF OUR CHILDREN AS WELL AS HUSBAND AND WIFE.

    You or the group of you in your IMapostalate are subverters of truth and I CURSE YOUR EFFORTS TO DENIGRATE MARRIAGE AND I CONDEMN YOUR ARROGANCE.

    I live what I am talking about. Don’t you dare to call one like me judgmental, you ass.

    Call the priest who told my wife to divorce me because she DESERVED NULLITY and then sponsored a petition riddled with perjury, whose assertions were contravened in the Rotal decisions, proving the perjury, an ass instead!

    Shut your mouth you self righteous fool(s). When you speak, ignorance vomits out from your own passive aggressive personality disorder, which is rampant among Catholics of your ilk.

  20. Nan says:

    I’ll light a candle for you at the cathedral and pray for your salvation.

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