Yesterday, another blog site had quoted Chesterton. I picked up on "hell is paved with good intentions" and proceeded to ask the question about what makes for "heaven". Was it action? Another comment was made that Dante had understood the division of heaven and hell was action versus merit and grace. Purgatory was paved with intention.
As Dante was Roman Catholic, one can understand his thoughts and how he divided his understanding of moral action. But, is this true? How one answer that question, depends on how one understands their values, priorities and commitments.
The first question that stands out in my mind is, how does one determine what is an action that paves hell versus one that paves heaven in merit? Our country defines right action by our laws and does not define or determine "merit", as this term is useful in religious communities. Grace and merit is not based on obligation, but choice. Grace gives, without return, whereas, moral obligation is "duty-bound".
Religious communities determine "what is best" according to their source of authority, goals and purposes. One must determine for themselves what and where their understanding of "right" is. Everyone must determine whether they can support the goals, purposes and vision of certain organizations before their commitment. Thoughtless action leads to nothing other than mindlessness. And thoughtless mindlessness is what I would call "hell". Humans are not to be "machines" that turn out a product for those who impose thier vision upon another. Humans are to be motivated by inner desire, passion, and vision that motvates. This is the grace and merit of giving back the gifts of life.
Unfortunately, the political realm does not allow in some areas of the world the freedom to pursue one's own interests. These lives are lived under oppressive rule that prohibit and limit human choice. The ability to choose one's way of life is one of the primary rights that should underwrite human rights. This is a non-negotiable.
While our free society allows choice, for the most part, we must not neglect thinking through our choice of action, otherwise, we may be making foolish choices and foolish choices pave the road to hell.
Arvo Pärt at St. Vladimir’s Seminary
3 hours ago