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The gift of a child is meant to bring joy and gratitude to all members of a family. It pleases God to see people welcome a pregnancy and to look forward hopefully to the birth. It gives Him joy when people do not grumble about 'inconvenience', as many might call it, or about hard work, but see the life of a child as a gift from God.
It is not enough to teach school children to recognise their talents, to celebrate them, and to use them. They need to be encouraged to ask God for direction. He sometimes asks people to hide or subdue their talents and ambitions, for the sake of a greater good, for a while. Children need to learn that humility, and gratitude to God, are of greater importance than the pleasure found in receiving praise from other people for their gifts.
We must not be made despondent by our minor distractions in prayer, or our tiny failings. As sure as miners find what they want in a mine, we can mine spiritual treasure from our little faults, by using each as a reason for prayer. If we are distracted, we can make an act of humility. If we have neglected some good, we can make an act of gratitude for all God's gifts. If we find it hard to forgive, we can praise God for having forgiven us our sins.
Christ wants each of us to believe that His love for us is real and everlasting. He was willing to live on earth, and even to be mocked and put to death on the Cross, in order to save each of us from the consequences of sin. Every individual can say: "He went to the Cross, for my sake". We can believe, and respond with gratitude - or, with hard hearts, turn away.
It is the fervent wish of Christ our God, Who is the source of life, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, that every woman shown her unborn child will look at that image with gratitude and love. How terrible it is for Christ, whenever a woman sits in judgement on her child, planning to destroy him by abortion because he is 'inconvenient' or imperfect!
Christ is deeply touched whenever we show devotion to Him in the Blessed Sacrament - and especially when we search out the tabernacle whenever we enter a Catholic church away from home, and cannot see our way to it. Christ would like to show us more delight and gratitude, but would completely overwhelm us.
Whenever we make new efforts to be more attentive to Christ's wishes, and more vigilant about our sins and failings, we come to prayer in a new closeness to Christ; even if we neither see nor feel this, it's as if the 'wall' that seems to separate Heaven from earth has been torn open, and Christ gazes down with joy and gratitude, because He is loved.
Some Catholics believe that Purgatory is no more than a peaceful ante-room before Heaven. There are deep caverns of Purgatory, however, where those who led sinful lives but were saved at the last moment by the Last Sacraments are permitted by our merciful God to do the penance they failed to do on earth. They enter Heaven, later on, in humility and gratitude.
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.
People give joy to Christ by their gratitude for the gift of life. If the whole world were to show such delight at the birth of children, how much happier a place it would be! And how terrible for Christ, to see His gift of life despised and discarded.
Sin is like a spiritual leprosy that can be marvellously banished through our sincere repentance. Christ forgives every repentant sinner; and He is deeply touched when people then turn to Him in gratitude and love.
Even in infancy, Jesus Christ set an example of trust, as He entrusted Himself to the care of human beings, when He had 'left behind His glory' as the Son of God. He came amongst us on earth, even though He knew He would be mocked and rejected by many. We give Him joy when we turn to Him with gratitude and gladness.
Christ knows that a person whose love for Him is sincere, who recognises the wonderful graces given to him, and realises his privileged state as a sharer in Divine life, is truly grateful; and such gratitude expresses itself in praise and thanks, offered to God with outward as well as inward expressions of reverence. A person who acts in this way opens his heart to receive an even greater number of graces.
Christ delights in the welcome He receives in Holy Communion from those who offer Him love, reverence and gratitude, and who turn to Him, Who is Really Present, to adore Him and confide in Him. How different is that sort of approach, from that of thoughtless Catholics whose minds are preoccupied with thoughts about nearby friends, or after-Mass activities.
Christ is thrilled whenever we turn to Him with thanks and praise, showing our delight in His care for us. He sees millions of people, sad to say, who sit in pubs and hostelries, bored and unhappy, not knowing the purpose of life; and, without the help that our prayers or witness can bring, millions might die whilst never having offered a word of praise to God for His love, nor a word of gratitude for His gifts.
Very many Catholics seem not to believe that Jesus Christ is a living Person, or that He is Really Present in our churches. They show out their lack of respect or lack of faith by the careless little bob they give, by the tabernacle, instead of a careful genuflection made in gratitude and humility.
How to know Jesus Christ
Finding Christ, Finding Life: a talk by Elizabeth Wang, given at the French Church, Leicester Square, London, 2006. INTRODUCTION. You probably know that I’m an artist. The project I’m busy with, now...
Holiness, by Elizabeth Wang
This text is the complete version of the pamphlet entitled 'SPEAK ABOUT HOLINESS'. It is based on a talk given by Elizabeth Wang. Preface. This little book contains the full version of the text I wrot...
What is Mary Like? by Elizabeth Wang
This text is the complete version of the pamphlet WHAT IS MARY LIKE? “Now having met together; they asked him, ‘Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘...
The Purpose of the Priesthood, by Elizabeth Wang
‘The Purpose of the Priesthood contains encouragement and advice for Catholic priests. It reminds them about the central meaning of the Priesthood, and about the need to teach the Catholic Faith in it...
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