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As a drug-user suffers when his supply of drugs is withdrawn, and his whole body cries out for its former source of pleasure and well-being, so a soul in Hell suffers - because of his own free choices - when, in Hell, he is suddenly without all those things that make it pleasurable and joyful to be a human being. He is without light, love, joy, peace, beauty, comfort or tenderness - all through his own fault, by his sinful choices.
In deliberate steps (Christ explained), He had led me slowly towards a recognition of the reverence and beauty associated with the Traditional way of offering the Holy Sacrifice, and the customary way, for women, of veiling their hair in His Presence, during the Sacred Liturgy.
A sinful soul, damaged by a seriously sinful way of life, is like a bombed-out shop in a war-zone. Rubbish is strewn all over the street, from the blast: and no trading can take place until the premises have been cleaned, mended, painted, furnished and re-stocked. As kind people can make a place habitable, so the prayers of our Blessed Lady are powerfully effective in restoring souls to their earlier beauty.
The sacred Domaine in Lourdes can serve as an image of the soul of each individual. It should be kept holy. Nothing unholy should be allowed to disturb or sully its peace, purity and beauty.
We must remove from ourselves and our lives whatever prevents us from entering the small 'doorway' to a life of humility, joy, spiritual beauty; that is, remove our sins and foolish attachments.
No-one can enter Heaven by beating on the great doors, and demanding to be let in. Those who love God are willing to trust, to adore, and to wait in humility and repentance; then He lifts the patient soul over the gates, in prayer, to see the beauty of God's glory, and to prepare him for permanent union.
The Lord assured me that I was right to picture Christ as He is: God made man, that is, God made visible; but I am right to leave the Father's face invisible - since He is transcendent, and ineffable: indescribable in His holiness and beauty.
Christ wants people to reflect on my Last Judgement painting, and to ponder how they will feel when they come at last into the presence of God the Father, whose glory I have seen in prayer, and who is awesome in His holiness and beauty. Christ wants everyone to repent of their sins, while there is still time.
There are streets full of houses where people who look within them see little art and hear little music: two of the great gifts received by human beings from God. God forbade imagery long ago, only to deter ancient people from idolatry. Since He gave us Christ - His own 'living image', Christians have rightly used art as a means of inspiring and educating fellow human beings.
When God created the world He prepared for us an amazing variety of created beauty, but no entirely blank areas. The icy poles of the earth shimmer with reflected light. The deserts are made beautiful by shadows and sunsets; and the plants and creatures astonish us in their great variety and infinity of extraordinary details. And human beings are glorious, in their variety.
If we wish we could give to a beloved relation all the wisdom and goodness that we have received from God in a life-time, the best means is by encouraging them to receive Christ with devotion in Holy Communion. In Christ is His Divinity, wisdom, power, beauty, and goodness: more than enough to fill our hearts, if we open our hearts fully to receive Him.
If we want to be adorned by gifts which will make us beautiful and pleasant to look upon, there are no 'jewels' more beautiful than those given by God. To posses love for God, and a kind heart, is to be beautiful in the sight of Heaven.
What the Lord sees, amidst the muddle of a sewing kit, or the tools of a well-loved trade, are an enthusiasm for life, a delight in the skills He gives us, and a desire to enhance our lives on earth as sociable, being willing to work, to make efforts to improve matters or to create beautiful garments or objects.
It is important to treat the dead with respect. Yet, no matter what type of death people die, no matter in what way they will be mourned, what counts, when they die, is whether they did so in friendship with God - which means they are on their way to God - or alienated from Him, forever to be without His love and beauty and peace. We all ought to prepare to leave this life.
God invites us to love Him, to follow the hard road of obedience until we die, and share His love, with the Saints, eternally. People who refuse to love God and who deliberately take the broad road, refusing to repent of their sins, find that at death, by their own choice, they remain on the same path, on which there is no light from Heaven, nor any Heavenly peace, joy, beauty or companionship. To be without God is to exist in Hell.
All that is good comes from the love of Christ for us: with the Father and the Holy Spirit. All good things of nature and of grace come from the Lord and give Him glory - and all beauty, worthwhile accomplishments, like music, art, drama, dance, sport, engineering, architecture, literature - if they are worthy of God Who is goodness, purity and truth.
Christ delighted in beautiful artistic works of ours, just as He delighted in the sight of the beautiful stars which He had scattered across the skies. He had created the whole universe, with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Just as a water-sprite, gazing at the surface of the river from below, has little idea of the magnificence of earthly life with its millions of life-forms and other marvels, or of the vastness and beauty of the planets and the stars in deep space, so we humans on earth have little comprehension of the marvellous, infinitely beautiful and admirable life of Heaven.
It is true that, in earthly life, some people have had glimpses of the beauty and purity of the holy angels; but in Heaven, the Saints will see the Angels in all their glory, as they race through Heaven at tremendous speed, to do the Father's Will.
God invites us to kneel in adoration. The Pope is right to encourage us to offer reverent praise to God the Father, Who is Creator of the whole Universe, greater than the Universe, and awesome in His attributes, and in the beauty of His loving nature. We owe the same praise to Christ His Son, Who is Present in every Catholic Church, and yet often receives praise that is banal, vain, irreverent, frivolous or mundane.
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