We have all heard of the fork in the road, one leading to God, heaven, true happiness and spirituality; the other, to certain doom, destruction, and despair. The paths here that I will discuss are assuming the person has already chosen the correct road at the fork. This new set of paths are again two, but this time, they appear very different from the first set. This time, one path is paved with few potholes and no medium. The second path is steep, filled with obstacles, and very dangerous without the right shoes and equipment, where only the professional may undertake.
The First Path:
This path may appear to be easy, relative to the only other option. Here, the Christian may live a holy life, avoiding sin, and doing all things to glorify God. The potholes and bumps do trip up the Christian at times, forcing the Christian to maneuver and catch himself, but with a solid will, he may continue on, but not without being bloodied or bruised.
The Second Path:
This path is for trained professionals only, i.e. the religious and monastic. Here, priests, nuns, and monks and other religious vocations, wear the shoes of penance, the cloak of fasting, and the headband of prayer. They climb and risk sudden death should they fall, such as when Martin Luther fell in order to take a wife. This second path, when one falls, leads to sudden death rather than landing on the easier path, because the easier path has no barrier to prevent the velocity of one’s fall from flinging over the edge!
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Paths:
The easier path is less demanding and more forgiving for the tumbles one can expect, but if he trips up too much, a cracked skull and death may be in his near future. Flinging from the cliff is not possible on this easier path, but sweat in one’s eyes may be the prelude to one’s slip, and roll to sudden damnation.
The more difficult path, if conquered, will gain greater reward. One doesn’t look back on a hundred meters of paved road with the same satisfaction as one who looks back at a hundred meters of rock climbed. God so loves those who take this path because they follow the path originally set out for man. The easy road was paved by Christ so that all souls may be saved through faith and love, or works, for every step is a work.
Spectators laugh and mock those who take the second path because they cannot understand why in the world one would do such a ridiculous thing when there is an easier path. Those who always seek an option other than these two paths are the unhappy, because no matter how far and long they look, they can never find another option other than to set up camp and mock both members who travel either path. From their camp they throw rocks and slurs at the faithful Christian and the faithful priest. When a priest is discovered to be homosexual, the rock-throwers throw boulders at him, and it is the whole Church that suffers, even though a homosexual person in any other organization would be paraded as a heroine of the times.
The Christian, through prayer, knows which of these paths to choose. Both paths have their dangers, but the reward for journeying both, is equal. The saints in heaven will line the pearly gates, cheering on those last few steps, and Peter will dig the keys from his pocket to unlock the beatific glory beyond.