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God is all holiness, purity, goodness and radiance. When we die, shall we be sufficiently like Him to be able to reach out to Him with joy, or to do so after some preparation? If our immediate reaction will be complete rejection of God there will be no place to go except down, away from Him into the Abyss.
Priests should set an example of holiness and purity, neither giving up nor watering down the Faith, nor developing a worldly spirit in order to be popular. They will do little good if they are disloyal to the Saviour, Who asks them to imitate Him, and keep people safe from Hell.
God can work wonders through our perseverance. When a priest, or any sincere follower of Christ, finds it hard to believe in the saving power of the Cross, and sees life as a grim progress with little hope, he should reflect on this truth: whoever imitates Christ and accepts the Cross, in patience, finds that, little by little, it becomes a living thing, fruitful, putting out new branches and leaves, precisely because that person is reproducing Christ's life, and being fruitful in saving souls.
Our Blessed Mother looks with gratitude and joy upon all the faithful priests who are living as her Son lived, doing His work - many of them celibate like Christ, and so most surely repeat His pattern of self-giving, in order to save souls and to give glory to the Father.
God understands the sacrifice of celibate men who serve Him. When priests have lived well, they have been Christ amongst others, and have drawn down grace in torrents upon a darkened world. These men, when they die, are greeted by Christ and Our Lady at the edge of Heaven; then they make their way to the Father, in the heights, Who sees in them the image of His Son.
We are foolish if we endanger our state of grace, and our eternal destiny. To have been given the gift of life in Christ is a great privilege. It is to share the very life of God through the indwelling Trinity, and so to fulfill the Father's plan that each of us begins to resemble Christ and to be transformed by the action of the Holy Spirit. It's as if we are held in His embrace, being prepared for life in Heaven.
Christ wants priests to be identifiable as priests by their clerical wear, all around the world, so that people everywhere have a means of knowing that Christ is caring for them in a special way by placing these 'other Christs' amongst them. This need not mean that priests should be confrontational - and there are exceptional circumstances where visibility is imprudent.
The Book of Revelation describes God's grace as flowing like a river of life-giving water, flowing from His throne and from the Lamb. Do all the thoughts and actions that pour out of our hearts and lives engender charity, make people holy, and do so in every circumstance? Are we God-like, in the fruitfulness of our lives?
The view from Heaven: Christ, looking down at the world, sees his priests as 'other Christs', each a visible 'embodied' Christ in a particular place on earth, each chosen and made ready to sanctify the Faithful and to teach those who do not yet know Him, each one visible, truth-speaking, kind, prayerful, and trusting in the Father's plans and the Spirit's power.
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