Monday, October 5, 2015

The Fathers and Saints on the Fewness of the Saved

Presented here is a compilation of quotes exhibiting the traditional belief that relatively very few will be saved. The references are given at the end.

St. Mark 20:16: "For many are called but few are chosen."

St. Luke 13:23-24: "Lord, are there few that are saved? But he said to them: Strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I tell you, shall seek to enter, and shall not be able." 

St. Matthew 7:13-14: "Enter ye in at the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate and how strait is the way that leads to life, and few there are that find it!" 

Louis Marie de Montfort: "Be one of the small number who find the way to life, and enter by the narrow gate into Heaven. Take care not to follow the majority and the common herd, so many of whom are lost. Do not be deceived; there are only two roads: one that leads to life and is narrow; the other that leads to death and is wide. There is no middle way."

St. Francis Xavier: "How many souls turn away from the road to glory, and go to hell!" 

There are many who arrive at the faith, but few who are led into the heavenly kingdom. Behold how many are gathered here for today's Feast-Day: we fill the church from wall to wall. Yet who knows how few they are who shall be numbered in that chosen company of the Elect? Pope St. Gregory the Great

The greater number of men still say to God: Lord we will not serve Thee; we would rather be slaves of the devil, and condemned to Hell, than be Thy servants. Alas! The greatest number, my Jesus - we may say nearly all - not only do not love Thee, but offend Thee and despise Thee. How many countries there are in which there are scarcely any Catholics, and all the rest either infidels or heretics! And all of them are certainly on the way to being lost. St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori

A multitude of souls fall into the depths of Hell, and it is of the faith that all who die in mortal sin are condemned for ever and ever. According to statistics, approximately 80,000 persons die every day. How many of these will die in mortal sin, and how many will be condemned! For, as their lives have been, so also will be their end. Anthony Mary Claret

As a man lives, so shall he die. St. Augustine

Ah! A great many persons live constantly in the state of damnation! St. Vincent de Paul

I had the greatest sorrow for the many souls that condemned themselves to Hell, especially those Lutherans. [...] I saw souls falling into hell like snowflakes. St. Teresa of Avila

The Lord called the world a "field" and all the faithful who draw near to him "wheat." All through the field, and around the threshing-floor, there is both wheat and chaff. But the greater part is chaff; the lesser part is wheat, for which is prepared a barn not a fire. [...] The good also are many, but in comparison with the wicked the good are few. Many are the grains of wheat, but compared with the chaff, the grains are few. St. Augustine

The more the wicked abound, so much the more must we suffer with them in patience; for on the threshing floor few are the grains carried into the barns, but high are the piles of chaff burned with fire. Pope St. Gregory the Great

What do you think? How many of the inhabitants of this city may perhaps be saved? What I am about to tell you is very terrible, yet I will not conceal it from you. Out of this thickly populated city with its thousands of inhabitants not one hundred people will be saved. I even doubt whether there will be as many as that! St. John Chrysostom

Countless hosts have fallen into Hell. Venerable Mary of Agreda

The perverse are hard to be corrected, and the number of fools is infinite.Ecclesiastes 1:15

The greater part of men choose to be damned rather than to love Almighty God. St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori

The number of the damned is incalculable. St. Veronica Giuliani

What is the number of those who love Thee, O God? How few they are! The Elect are much fewer than the damned! Alas! The greater portion of mankind lives in sin unto the devil, and not unto Jesus Christ. O Saviour of the world, I thank Thee for having called and permitted us to live in the true faith which the Holy Roman Catholic Church teaches. [...] But alas, O my Jesus! How small is the number of those who live in this holy faith! Oh, God! The greater number of men lie buried in the darkness of infidelity and heresy. Thou hast humbled Thyself to death, to the death of the cross, for the salvation of men, and these ungrateful men are unwilling even to know Thee. Ah, I pray Thee, O omnipotent God, O sovereign and infinite Good, make all men know and love Thee! St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori

I see around me a multitude of those who, blindly persevering in error, despise the true God; but I am a Christian nevertheless, and I follow the instruction of the Apostles. If this deserves chastisement, reward it; for I am determined to suffer every torture rather then become the slave of the devil. Others may do as they please since they are [...] reckless of the future life which is to be obtained only by sufferings. Scripture tells us that "narrow is the way that leads to life" [...] because it is one of affliction and of persecutions suffered for the sake of justice; but it is wide enough for those who walk upon it, because their faith and the hope of an eternal reward make it so for them. [...] On the contrary, the road of vice is in reality narrow, and it leads to an eternal precipice. St. Leo of Patara

I was watching souls going down into the abyss as thick and fast as snowflakes falling in the winter mist. Venerable Benedict Joseph Labre

The majority of men shall not see God, excepting those who live justly, purified by righteousness and by every other virtue. St. Justin the Martyr

The majority of souls appear before the Judgement empty-handed. They did nothing good for eternity. Venerable Mary of Agreda

All infidels and heretics are surely on the way to being lost. What an obligation we owe God! for causing us to be born not only after the coming of Jesus Christ, but also in countries where the true faith reigns! I thank Thee, O Lord, for this. Woe to me if, after so many transgressions, it had been my fate to live in the midst of infidels or heretics! St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori

Brethren, the just man shall scarcely be saved. What, then, will become of the sinner? St. Arsenius

If the just man shall scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly man and the sinner appear? I St. Peter 1:18

I fear that Last Day, that day of tribulation and anguish, of calamity and misery, of mist and darkness, that Day on which, if the just have reason to fear, how much more should I: an impious, wretched, and ungrateful sinner! Blessed Sebastian Valfre

The Ark, which in the midst of the Flood was a symbol of the Church, was wide below and narrow above; and, at the summit, measured only a single cubit. [...] It was wide where the animals were, narrow where men lived: for the Holy Church is indeed wide in the number of those who are carnal-minded, narrow in the number of those who are spiritual. Pope St. Gregory the Great

In the Great Deluge in the days of Noah, nearly all mankind perished, eight persons alone being saved in the Ark. In our days a deluge, not of water but of sins, continually inundates the earth, and out of this deluge very few escape. Scarcely anyone is saved. St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori

Out of one hundred thousand sinners who continue in sin until death, scarcely one will be saved. St. Jerome

Get out of the filth of the horrible torrent of this world, the torrent of thorns that is whirling you into the abyss of eternal perdition. [...] This torrent is the world, which resembles an impetuous torrent, full of garbage and evil odours, making a lot of noise but flowing swiftly passed, dragging the majority of men into the pit of perdition. Venerable John Eudes

Nor should we think that it is enough for salvation that we are no worse off than the mass of the careless and indifferent, or that in our faith we are, like so many others, uninstructed. St. Bede the Venerable

We owe God a deep regret of gratitude for the purely gratuitous gift of the true faith with which he has favoured us. How many are the infidels, heretics and schismatics who do not enjoy comparable happiness? The earth is full of them and they are all lost! St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori

One day, St. Macarius found a skull and asked it whose head it had been. "A pagan's!" it replied. "And where is your soul?" he asked. "In Hell!" came the reply. Macarius then asked the skull if its place was very deep in Hell. "As far down as the earth is lower than Heaven!" "And are there any other souls lodged even lower?" "Yes! The souls of the Jews!" "And even lower than the Jews?" "Yes! The souls of bad Christians who were redeemed with the blood of Christ and held there privilege so cheaply!" Blessed James of Voragine

St. Teresa, as the Roman Rota attests, never fell into any mortal sin; but still Our Lord showed her the place prepared for her in Hell; not because she deserved Hell, but because, had she not risen from the state of lukewarmness in which she lived, she would in the end have lost the grace of God and been damned. St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori

They who are to be saved as Saints, and wish to be saved as imperfect souls, shall not be saved. Pope St. Gregory the Great

They who are enlightened to walk in the way of perfection, and through lukewarmness wish to tread the ordinary path, shall be abandoned. Blessed Angela of Foligno

If you want to be certain of being in the number of the Elect, strive to be one of the few, not one of the many. And if you would be quite sure of your salvation, strive to be among the fewest of the few; that is to say, do not follow the great majority of mankind, but follow those who enter upon the narrow way, who renounce the world, who give themselves to prayer, and who never relax their efforts by day or night, so that they may attain everlasting blessedness. St. Anselm

Live with the few if you want to reign with the few. St. John Climacus

Many begin well, but there are few who persevere. St. Jerome

The saints are few, but we must live with the few if we would be saved with the few. O God, too few indeed they are; yet among those few I wish to be! St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori

Those who are saved are in the minority. St. Thomas Aquinas

If you wish to imitate the multitude, then you shall not be among the few who shall enter in by the narrow gate. St. Augustine

So that you will better appreciate the meaning of Our Lord's words, and perceive more clearly how few the Elect are, note that Christ did not say that those who walked in the path to Heaven are few in number, but that there were few who found that narrow way. It is as though the Saviour intended to say: The path leading to Heaven is so narrow and so rough, so overgrown, so dark and difficult to discern, that there are many who never find it their whole life long. And those who do find it are constantly exposed to the danger of deviating from it, of mistaking their way, and unwittingly wandering away from it, because it is so irregular and overgrown. St. Jerome

We were so fortunate to be born in the bosom of the Roman Church, in Christian and Catholic kingdoms, a grace that has not been granted to the greater part of men, who are born among idolaters, Mohammedans, or heretics. [...] How thankful we ought to be, then, to Jesus Christ for the gift of faith! What would have become of us if we had been born in Asia, in Africa, in America, or in the midsts of heretics and schismatics? He who does not believe is lost. He who does not believe shall be condemned. And thus, probably, we also would have been lost. St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori

So vast a number of miserable souls perish, and so comparatively few are saved! St. Philip Neri

For thus it shall be in the midst of the earth, in the midst of the people, as though a few olives that remain should be shaken out of the olive tree, or grapes when the vintage is ended. Isaias 24:13

The number of the saved is as few as the number of grapes left after the vineyard-pickers have passed.  John Mary Vianney

And it shall be as when a man gathers in the harvest which remains. [...] And the fruit thereof that shall be left shall be as a single cluster of grapes; and as the shaking of the olive tree: two or three berries on the top of the bough, of four or five on the top of the tree, says the Lord, the God of Israel. Isaias 17:5-6

That those who walk in the way of salvation are the smaller number is due to the vice and depraved habits imbibed in youth and nourished in childhood. By these means Lucifer has hurled into Hell so great a number of souls, and continues thus to hurl them into Hell every day, casting so many nations from abyss to abyss of darkness and errors, such as are contained in the heresies and false sects of the infidels. Venerable Mary of Agreda

Yes, indeed, many will be damned; few will be saved. Venerable Benedict Joseph of Labre

The holy man is perished from off the earth, and there is no one upright amongst men: they all lie in wait for blood, every one. [...] He who is best among them is like a brier, and he who is righteous as the thorn. Micheas 7:2,4

But that which brings forth thorns and briers is reprobate, and very near unto a curse, whose end is to be burnt. Hebrews 6:8

I do not speak rashly, but as I feel and think. I do not think that many priests are saved, but that those who perish are far more numerous. St. John Chrysostom

A great number of Christians are lost. St. Leonard of Port Maurice

Bad confessions damned the majority of Christians. St. Teresa of Avila

Christ's flock is called "little" (Luke 12:32) in comparison with the greater number of the reprobates. St. Bede the Venerable

The greater number of Christians today are damned. The destiny of those dying on one day is that very few - not as many as ten - went strait to Heaven; many remained in Purgatory; and those cast into Hell were as numerous as snowflakes in mid-winter. Venerable Anna Maria Taigi

The common opinion is that the greater part of adults is lost. St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori

Among adults there are few saved because of sins of the flesh. [...] With the exception of those who die in childhood, most men will be damned. St. Regimius or Rheims

It is as though Jesus said: "O My Father, I am indeed going to clothe myself with human flesh, but the greater part of the world will set no value on my blood!" St. Isidore of Seville

How many among these uncivilized peoples do not yet know God, and are sunk in the darkest idolatry, superstition and ignorance! [...] Poor souls! These are they in whom Christ saw, in all the horror of His imminent Passion, the uselessness of His agony for so many souls! St. Francis Xavier Cabrini

Nothing afflicts the heart of Jesus so much as to see all His sufferings of no avail to so many. John Mary Vianney

O Jesus! [...] Remember the sadness that Thou didst experience when, contemplating in the light of Thy divinity the predestination of those who would be saved by the merits of Thy sacred passion, thou didst see at the same time the great multitude of reprobates who would be damned for their sins, and Thou didst complain bitterly of those hopeless, lost, and unfortunate sinners. St. Bridget of Sweden

The greater part of men will set no value on the blood of Christ, and will go on offending Him. St. Isidore of Seville

Take care not to resemble the multitude whose knowledge of God's will only condemns them to more severe punishment. Blessed John of Avila

If you wish to imitate the multitude, you shall then not be among the few who shall enter in by the narrow way. St. Augustine

The multitude was put forth. St. Matthew 9:25

How few the Elect are may be understood from the multitude being cast out. St. Hilary of Poitiers

Meditate on the horrors of Hell which will last for eternity because of one easily-committed mortal sin. Try hard to be among the few who are chosen. Think of the eternal flames of Hell, and how few there are that are saved. Venerable Benedict Joseph Labre

Ah, how many souls lose Heaven and are cast into Hell! St. Francis Xavier

All persons desire to be saved, but the greater part, because they will not adopt the means of being saved, fall into sin and are lost. [...] In fact, the Elect are much fewer than the damned, for the reprobate are much more numerous than the Elect. St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori

Shall we all be saved? Shall we go to Heaven? Alas, my children, we do not know at all! But I tremble when I see so many souls lost these days. See, they fall into Hell as leaves fall from the trees at the approach of winter. John Mary Vianney

Behold how many there are who are called, and how few who are chosen! And behold, if you have no care for yourself, your perdition is more certain than your amendment, especially since the way that leads to eternal life is so narrow. St. John of the Cross

It is certain that few are saved. St. Augustine

There are a select few who are saved. St. Thomas Aquinas

The number of the elect is so small - so small - that, were we to know how small it is, we would faint away with grief: one here and there, scattered up and down the world! Louis Marie de Montfort

And they [...] shall be so few that they shall easily be counted, and a child shall write them down. Isaias 10:19

Louis Marie: The Love of Eternal Wisdom, trans. A. Sommers, SMM, Bayshore, NY: Montfort Publications, 1960, p.133
Francis: "From the Housetops," Still River, MA: 1986, no.28, p.25, col. 1
Gregory: "On the Gospels," Homily 19. Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, trans. and ed., Fr. M. F. Toal, Chicago: Regnery Co., 1955, I:382
Alphonsus Maria: The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ, 292.
Anthony Mary: Madrid: Library of Christian Authors, 1947. (It is interesting that on the day that St. Bernard died, it was revealed 80,000 persons died and went to judgement with him; and that only Bernard and two other monks were saved of the entire number.)
Augustine: The Great Commentary of Cornelius Lapide, 4:340
Vincent: cf. Voice of the Saints, Francis W. Johnston, London: Burnes and Oats, 1965.
Teresa: Saints to Know and Love, MICM
Augustine, "Against Cresconius", bk.4, ch.53
Gregory: Homily 38
Quercy "Redemption and Grace", ch.3, Denzinger 318
John: "To the People of Antioch", Homily 40
Lucy: The Secret of Fatima: Fact and Legend, Joaquin Maria Alonso, CMF, Cambridge: Ravensgate Press, 1982, p.106
Jacinta: Our Lady of Fatima, Dr. William Thos. Walsh
Mary of Agreda: Mystical City of God, trans. Geo Blatter, Washington, NJ: Ave Maria Institute, 1971
Ecclesiastes: op. cit.
Alphonsus Maria: The Way of Salvation and Perfection, 311
Veronica Giuliani: cf. The Voice of the Saints, op. cit.
Alphonsus Maria: On the Council of Trent
Leo: Victories of the Martyrs, St. Aplhonsus, 205-6
Benedict Joseph: cf. Life of the Servant of God, Benedict Joseph Labre
Justin: First Apology, XXI
Mary of Agreda, op. cit.
Alphonsus Maria: cf. The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy, 291-2
Arsenius: Life of,
Peter: op. cit.
Sebastian: Letters From the Saints, NY: Hawthorne Books, 1964
Gregory: Homily 38:8
Alphonsus Maria: Sermons
Jerome: Preparation for Death, St. Alphonsus, 75
John Eudes: The Admirable Heart of Mary
Robert: Letters From the Saints, op. cit. 19
Bede: Sermon 16
Alphonsus Maria: Instructions on the Commandments and Sacraments, 66, no. 19
James: The Golden Legend
Alphonsus Maria: Dignities and Duties of the Priest, 90
Gregory: Dignities and Duties of the Priest, 97
Angela: "Vision", ch. 51
Anselm, cf. Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers
John: "Ladder to Paradise"
Jerome: cf. "Commentary on Matthew"
Alphonsus Maria: The Holy Eucharist, 494
Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologica I q.23, art.8, ad.3
Augustine: Sermon 224:1
Origen: cf. "Commentary on Matthew"
Robert: Letters From the Saints, op. cit. 19-20
Jerome: "Commentary on Matthew", 7
Peter Julian: The Real Presence
Alphonsus Maria: The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy, 153, 156
Philip Neri:
Isaias: op. cit.
John Mary: Gate of Heaven, MICM, 37
Isaias: op. cit.
Mary of Agreda: Mystical City of God
Benedict Joseph: cf. Life of,
Michaes: op. cit.
Hebrews: op. cit.
John, Gate of Heaven, MICM, 38.
Leonard: cf. The Hidden Treasure
Teresa: Instructions on the Commandments and Sacraments, St. Alphonsus, 287, no.37
Bede: Cornelius A Lapide's Great Commentary, 4: 298
Anna Maria: Life of,
Alphonsus Maria: Preparation for Death, 174
Regimus: Book 1 (with Cyprian.)
Frances: Immigrant Saint: The Life of Mother Cabrini, Pietro di Donato, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1960, 168
John Mary: Thoughts of the Cure d'Ars, Rockford, IL: TAN, 1984
Bridget: The Magnificent Promises, Atlanta, GA: Marian Publications, 1971, p.8
Isidore: cf. The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy, St. Alphonsus, 204
John of Avila: Letters From the Saints, op. cit. 188
Augustine: cf. Catena Aurea, St. Thomas Aquinas
Matthew: op. cit.
Hilary: Lapide's Commentary I:372
John Neumann: "From the Housetops", Still River: MA 1977, vol.5, no. 1, p.75, col.2
Benedict Joseph: Life of,
Francis: Letters and Shorter Works
Lucy: Fatima, The Great Sign, Francis Johnston, Rockford, IL: TAN, 1980, p.36
Alphonsus Maria: Preparation for Death, 407-8; The Great Means of Salvation and Perfection, 129
John Mary:
John of the Cross: Complete Works
Origen: "Commentary on Matthew"
Augustine: Sermon 111; also "Against Cresconius" bk3, ch.66 and bk.4, ch.53
Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologica I, Qu.23, art.7, ad 3
Louis Marie:
Isaias: op. cit. Pius X: Raccolta, Boston: Benzinger Bros., 1957, 659

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