How we treat others saves or condemns us. Consider a jarring line from the intense private revelation known as The Secrets of Purgatory, which, as mentioned previously, states (indeed, jarringly):
"All harshness must suffer violence in purgatory."
To be harsh is to be overly judgmental; it is to feel holier than thou; it's self-righteousness; the pretension of religiosity.
There's a difference between practicing "religion" and "religiosity," and we do well to heed it:
Religiosity is to idolize ritual instead of allowing it to lead to spirituality (which requires humility and kindness, while the proud are harsh; he who condemns everyone condemns himself).
Referring to purgatory, the revelation (which was released in 1958 in the U.S. with an imprimatur from Cardinal Samuel Stritch of Chicago; translated from German), warns that "In this holy place [of purgatory] where I see the souls so clearly, I have also learned what genuine and feigned piety are.
"Every lesson which I need for living on earth, I have received there, else I should indeed be an ignorant child.
"I saw many souls, even those of religious, which were very pious on earth -- but, according to their own conception of piety. My eyes are now opened that I might protect myself from illusion."
"There are souls in purgatory, even religious, who have very much to suffer because of their sham and feigned piety. I must, therefore, often feel their excruciating pain in order to make atonement for them; for their piety was narrow-minded and they possessed a hard, unjust heart toward others. They have condemned others for their 'smallness' when they thought themselves somewhat more 'broad-minded.'
Religiosity is not to be confused with being "religious." For religious is good when it leads to the spiritual -- which it does, most of the time.
Too often, however, it does not.
Religiosity means a person who is consumed by, and obsessed with, rituals, catchphrases, and bylaws -- practicing religion as an end unto itself (when the "end" should be Jesus).
"Individual, egoistic piety will be as devout as the soul wants, but not as God wills," says the revelation. "This piety is complicated, intricate, and seemingly of great importance. There are souls who make great fuss about themselves. They live in this thought: 'I offer sacrifices; I strive for sanctity; I work to become holy.' On the other hand, piety that is humble thinks: 'Oh Jesus, You must do it. Have patience with me, for I cannot.'
"Such souls as these live and grow in Jesus; the other souls, on their egoistic feelings and sentiments. These latter think they can become holy by themselves, while humble souls, in their good will, rely upon Jesus and pray again and again for Grace and mercy."
"True piety pardons another's failings and looks upon other men to benefit from their good example; for even a sinful man has something good about him which we can learn. Genuine piety, therefore, is authentic only when it is accompanied by holy understanding."
Therefore: reach to God with your heart. Be direct with Him. Have a personal relationship with Jesus. He is not far off. He is not someone you communicate with only through rote prayers, through intermediaries: Those count for something; not everything. Christ wants us to go to Him as we would to any close relative, to any friend -- and more so.
Simply ask: "Jesus, please come into the my life in a more personal, direct way."
That's all. "Jesus, please come into the my life in a more personal, direct way." Few prayers are more potent. Perhaps none.
"Oh Jesus, have patience with me, You must do it, for I cannot."