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Christ understands all our griefs and sorrows. When Christ prayed to His Father in Gethsemane, He was thinking not only of the horrors which lay ahead, but also about the wonderful joys of earthly life that He would soon be leaving behind. He was joyful about going home to Heaven, but His heart ached at the thought of leaving earthly friendships and earthly beauty.
People wonder if Christ and the Saints can be joyful, if they know that some souls are in Hell. The answer is that anyone in Hell has got what he wanted. If he freely chose to reject Christ, until death, he now has no contact with Christ: just as he chose; nor has he the joy, peace and beauty which are found in Christ, alas. So the Saints pity the lost souls, but realise that the damned choose their destination.
Christ our God, Who created the whole Universe, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, is over-joyed by those who appreciate His Creation, which the Blessed Trinity made in order to delight us. We are right to see, in nature, evidence of the existence of God, and of God's Wisdom, and artistry and beauty.
There was a disaster, long ago, which affected the whole of nature. From the time of the Original Sin of our first parents, the natural world has been full of danger, with the savagery of beasts and birds, despite their beauty, and the menace of poisonous creatures, as well as tidal waves and electric storms.
Almighty God wants us to honour Christ's Mother Mary. Our Blessed Lady's soul was adorned with such sublime virtues, at her Immaculate Conception, that only her son, later on, surpassed her in His soul's beauty. She deserves to be honoured by our adorning her statues, with decorations worthy of a Queen, and crowning them, and in other ways.
People who develop a fascination with what is evil, or with representations of what is evil, can endanger their souls. When they avidly seek out portrayals of monsters, or of sadism, or love to watch horror movies, or delve into Satanism or magic in any of their forms, or associated activities like fortune-telling, it can be as if they are facing a great pit in which there is neither light nor beauty - like a black hole in space: in reality, Hell.
The soul of a person who lives to please and obey Christ is like a fertile valley. Although enemies might rain down missiles from above, behind the mountain tops, they cannot conquer, if that devoted soul relies on God's grace, given in prayer and the sacraments. This keeps the valley peaceful and beautiful, whether the enemies are the worldly-wise, or the demons who bring torments and temptations.
It is tragic that many people do not believe in God our Creator, Who gives signs of His wisdom and beauty in the natural world; it is tragic that they never speak to God in prayer, or ask for help of any sort. We must ask, about any atheist who dies, "Who will carry him across" - across the Abyss, to Heaven, if the deceased has refused the help of the Holy Spirit.
God created, in the beginning, a beautiful world, as a beautiful setting for the people He would make. He wanted the families of the earth to flourish, to reproduce, and to find joy in earthly life, in His presence; but human beings rebelled; and Satan is still at work, today, working to draw people away from God.
In giving us hundreds of beautiful, joyful, spiritual images, Christ wants us to know that He leads us by love, not by threats of punishment; yet for a full catechesis (as shown in the recent few dozen paintings of the Radiant Light series) there must also be serious mention of death, Hell and Satan, to show the Eternal consequences of unrepented grave sin and the loss of God, in ways people can understand.
No matter how devout a person has been, no matter how grateful to God for His love, that person, when at last approaching Heaven after death, will find himself amazed by the beauty and majesty of the Godhead, and be prompted to exclaim - "I never knew how glorious You are... I never realised how beautiful and how good!"
When someone baptised has become mired in grave sin, it's as if his soul is like a beautiful building now scarcely visible because of the jungle-like growth of sin that now almost covers him. Only by a repentance and trust in God can his spiritual beauty be restored, to give joy to Heaven.
If we were able to look over a huge hedge that surrounds Heaven, we would see gleaming squares and bright fountains where people can stroll in perfect companionship, if they are not busy praising God. Heaven is beautiful, and goes on forever; but everyone who enters must have a beautiful, holy soul. Wise people try, by God's grace, to get ready in good time.
It would be easy to say, of a view over a city, by night: "Oh, how beautiful - but how marvellous it must look in the daytime!" And so it is, with the Godhead. We have been given a glimpse, so to speak, from within the darkness of earthly life, through Jesus, and the sacraments and prayer; but all who enter Heaven are enthralled by the beauty of the glory of the Blessed Trinity, as are the people they have helped to bring there by their intercessions.
It is the Will of God that we have beautiful imagery in church to inspire us; but He also wants us to have beautiful altar frontals, furnishings, chalices, chasubles, and decorative motifs. Everything should give glory to God, Whose house of prayer we have entered, and should remind us that we are on the threshold of Heaven, with the Angels.
If we have faith in Christ, and a fervent spiritual life, we can become like the healthy mustard-plant that Christ described, in which 'the birds of the air can rest'; but if we have very little faith in Him, and are full of self-pity about our difficulties, resentful of the crosses we carry, and prickly towards our neighbour, we are like a thorn bush amidst all the beauty and life that is seen around us.
If we trust in Christ and endure all trials, for love of Him, we shall be like the Prince in the sleeping beauty story, who eventually came to a beautiful castle. Christ will greet us on the steps of Heaven, and invite us to enter, to enjoy a great banquet.
The beauty and glory of Heaven is indescribable; yet we know that the blazing charity of the Saints, as they praise and thank the Blessed Trinity, is like a circle of flame around the awesome Godhead.
We should be able to defend the Faith. It is not superstition. We believe in things Divinely revealed, but our faith is not unreasonable. God's beauty, power and laws are discernable in nature - including our nature and conscience. There is historical evidence for Christ's life; and His friends were transformed and made brave by His Resurrection. We have two thousand years of evidence - despite sins and mistakes - that Catholicism elevates society, marriage, government, education, treatment of the sick, and children, and brings peace, and hope of Heaven.
Long ago, the new rite of the Mass was very hurriedly introduced. Through long-standing, tragic ignorance of the Traditional Mass, many people have lost the sense of ascending, together, to Calvary, to offer the Holy Sacrifice. The Traditional rite seemed to be put aside, and the Novus Ordo was in place. But now (in 2010) Christ is encouraging, through the Papacy, a growth in understanding, at last, of the beauty and antiquity of the Traditional Mass, and of its reverent phrasing, and its silences.
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