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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 truth about salvation is that no unrepentant sinner can reach Heaven. Those who have freely chosen to refuse God's friendship and to continue in their sins are lost. Entry into Heaven is an amazing privilege: a gift given to the pure, not a right. Those who insist on enjoying forbidden pleasures, and never repent, shall fall into the pit, when they die.
It gives joy to the heart of God, to see people helping one another, and especially to see people with special needs being helped by kind friends, relations or parishioners. These needy people are those whom others would have thrown away, at birth, since so little respect is shown for the gift of life, and for individuals.
Christ wants us all to know how deeply He rejoices in our devotion to 'Our Lady of Sorrows'. It was the Father Who made Mary worthy to be mother of Jesus, gave her the courage to persevere even through her Son's Passion - and so to enjoy His Resurrection.
God asks us: 'In how many Catholic homes is the Faith really practiced?' All who work to share the Faith should be certain that God is pleased with their efforts. Change and decline alternate with stable periods of joy, in human history. We can picture, in one age, pagan worship at Stonehenge, but then the life and work of Christ - followed by the stoning of St. Stephen, and, much later, a triumphant sculpture of Christ placed on high in Rio di Janeiro. And today? Weak faith, again, in very many places.
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.
By every sincere, humble act of contrition, it's as if we make it possible to enjoy a higher degree of glory in Heaven, when the Lord eventually brings us home. What a thought! What a help for us, in our search for sanctity.
St. Therese of Liseux was overjoyed that her relics had inspired people to have greater devotion to God; yet the gaze of the faithful should eventually turn from relics to the Church's greatest treasure: Jesus Christ Himself, sacramentally Present in the Blessed Sacrament, in the tabernacle, as here, in Westminster Cathedral.
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.
Helped by our prayers, offered in the name of Christ, the Holy Souls make their way towards Heaven. All those who are about to be welcomed into Heaven are by now carefree, purified, and no longer remorseful or saddened by their sins. They see Heaven as an undeserved free gift, so their hearts and minds are full of thanks and praise - just like the Saints whose company they are about to enjoy.
Priests who find joy in the knowledge of God's love for them are like men who raise their faces to the sunshine to enjoy its warmth. Someone unhappy is as if holding an umbrella over his head, and shutting out the sun's rays. The umbrella represents any sin not yet confessed, or any injustice not yet put right, of which he was the cause. He needs to be at peace with God.
It is tragic that when the Real Presence has been banished from a Christian group, the joy of members must often depend on whether or not a person sees a particular pastor as a congenial and helpful leader, and not on a joyful dependence on Jesus Christ, sacramentally Present on the altar and in the tabernacle.
People can picture the gifts and graces given by God as being bargains from a wonderful stall-holder. Yet all the gifts He gives are free; and if we could see the invisible One high above us we would see how much He delights in giving gifts, to make us joyful and holy.
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.
Christ is touched to the heart by our desire to celebrate His Birthday, at Christmas, and by our desire to share our joy in His love and goodness with other people, through cards and letters. It also strengthens bonds on the family, and society.
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.
It was as if from the 'womb' of the Godhead, from the heart of the Mystery of the Godhead, was born love, embodied, when Jesus Christ took flesh from the Blessed Virgin Mary. He came to earth to be our Saviour: to invite His beloved creatures to accept His free gift of salvation and joy.
By humility we can advance in holiness. No matter what way of life we believe the Lord calls us to, we sometimes act like the man in Christ's Gospel story. We might assure Christ that we will obey Him, yet then walk away, or we might refuse to serve - then regret our decision, and come back, contrite, like the man who returned, as Christ said, to do his father's will. Whoever returns like this gives joy to Christ, and follows the right path.
The soul of a fervent person in a state of grace is not like the cold, half-dead soul of someone whose love for God has grown cold. It is like a Cathedral, in that it is a beautiful soul, a worthy place in which to welcome Christ in every Communion: a place in which the Holy Spirit can move freely, inspiring that person to offer sincere prayers, and to do good works.
A joyful soul, in a state of grace, is like a brightly-lit, warm cottage in the middle of a frozen landscape. It is attractive to those who long for joy and warmth in their own lives, but not to cynics with little or no faith, who are suspicious about the source of such joy, and call such souls 'naive' or 'foolish'.
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