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The Lord invites the Bishops to remember that England was Catholic for a thousand years. They ought not to be afraid of a few vocal atheists in our day.
God can see that some atheists are muddled and badly-taught; yet there are some who have made themselves 'blind' to His existence, have refused to listen to the truth about His existence, have ignored the promptings of God, and have failed to respect His laws or to offer a single word of thanks for the gifts of God which include life itself. Someone like this has chosen to be separated from God - and he remains separate, in Hell, for all eternity, if he does not repent before he dies.
Christ has given His Church the authority to teach us. Christian principles have underpinned the government of our country for over a thousand years; and she should not be pushed off course by a handful of atheists in power. We please Christ when we speak the truth about making laws based on moral and ethical foundations.
The Lord asks us to persevere in prayer for atheists. When we do so, it's as if He lets down a rope from Heaven, into the hole in the ground where they choose to live. They have blinded themselves to His existence by ignoring the glory of the natural world, the weight of human testimony, and the call of conscience.
There are atheists who freely, resolutely refuse to believe in God, or to love or obey Him, and when they die, it's as if some are puzzled not to see the God Whom others have spoken about; yet they shrug as if it matters little, before realising the direction of their self-chosen route. They have put themselves on the path away from God, into Hell.
Whether people are atheists or God-fearers, they suffer. There is so much suffering in earthly life that we are tempted to complain; but if we were to load all our pains and problems onto a large lorry, to send them away, we would soon have another collection. What counts is to live a good life here on earth, even with suffering. We can please Christ when we resemble Him in patience and obedience, in union with Him, and interceding for others. We give glory to God, grow in virtue, and prepare for Heaven.
Some people say that Christians lead sad lives, think too much about death and judgement, and are too cautious about their behaviour. A dismissive non-believer might be pictured as someone over-confident of his skill as a motorcyclist. He will be in greater danger, if an obstacle appears in his path, than a careful driver of a small car who keeps to the speed limit.
We should pray for people without faith. People who don't love God or keep the Commandments are as if floating along on the great river of life, mostly unconcerned about the future, but likely to be carried as if over a great waterfall to disaster, when they die, unless they seek help from Heaven. They cannot save themselves by mere will-power, or good works alone.
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