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On Their Way to a Wonderful Country: The Church is like a group of thoughtful refugees who expect danger, flight and hardship. They carry what they need.
The angels surround the sanctuary at Mass.
Some people who live in serious sin deliberately seek pleasure by hurting others, act like wild beasts or, rather, deranged animals. They should be treated with caution as well as care.
It is true that we should be kind to everyone; yet we need to be prudent and watchful in dealing with people who seem to be half 'out of their minds' due to their uncontrolled appetites.
We are right to be kind to everyone; yet if we are wise, we will make prudent decisions in dealing with anyone who cares nothing for us and 'plays' with our emotions as with a fish on a line.
Christ showed me a stretch of land before me, like a forest-floor covered in snow. This represented, He explained, the new day which stretched ahead. I can make careful footprints on it, by what I choose to do. I should use my time well, and 'walk' carefully.
It is not wrong to be prudent, in making decisions about whom to trust. People who show themselves to be habitually untrustworthy are acting in accordance with their current, unpleasant nature, just as a mosquito bites because it is his nature to do so. We must speak with charity, and pray for such people, but need not trust them without some sign of repentance and change.
We should not expect people to reward us for our charity. God will. Christ asks us to show love to everyone, like Him: unconditional love. This does not mean that we cannot make prudent divisions about who has first place in our lives, who is trustworthy, who needs correction or even reproof; but we must be kind, and look for the best in them; however, we cannot expect that our love will always be reciprocated. Some people will ignore or reject us, no matter how kind we try to be.
Christ asks His friends to be brave in speaking the truth about God and goodness; but He also asks us to be prudent. We need not feel guilty about avoiding trouble and controversy when this is possible without cowardice. He Himself ran away or hid, to avoid death, when He had stirred up anger by His words, but when it was too early to fulfil His great plan.
Saint Paul warned us that the faithful are 'certain to be attacked'. This harm can be emotional, spiritual or intellectual instead of physical; but we can be wise and prudent as well as patient and uncharitable. It is not wrong to avoid the trouble caused by those who are simply malicious, or unpredictable and unwilling to respond to kindness or to listen to reason.
Christ wants priests to be identifiable as priests by their clerical wear, all around the world, so that people everywhere have a means of knowing that Christ is caring for them in a special way by placing these 'other Christs' amongst them. This need not mean that priests should be confrontational - and there are exceptional circumstances where visibility is imprudent.
If we have abandoned our sins, by God's grace, and if we love God, and arrange our day so that we offer frequent, sincere prayers, we can be sure that God looks upon our soul with delight. It's as if He sees a well-tended, well-watered garden, with weeds under control. We are free to choose one type of prayer or another, just as a gardener can choose to grow more vegetables than flowers. The Holy Spirit guides us.
We should try to do everything calmly, trusting in God. If we rush and fuss, as we go about our ordinary activities, we are likely to trip up and make mistakes; and so it is in the spiritual life. If we try to rush ahead, unwilling to do God's Will carefully, and with patience, we are liable to make mistakes, to trip up and make silly decisions.
Just as there are tumble-down houses with overgrown gardens and broken fences, so there are elderly persons who are forgetful or disorganised, or manipulative. We might find some of them difficult to deal with; but it's important to be kind, as some of these people cannot help their condition. Practical help might be needed, and prudence in making decisions; but we must look at everyone as if through the eyes of Christ.
Just as powerful men of earlier times built a strong wall, to keep out strong enemies who hoped to conquer them, so those who follow Christ must beware of allowing spiritual enemies to 'invade' our minds and hearts with their false reasoning or mistaken beliefs - though we can always be willing to stroll on top of the wall together, so to speak, to engage in pleasant, charitable conversation.
Famous people need to act with special prudence and caution. One of the spiritual dangers that many people encounter is the danger of being swept through much of earthly life on a river of fame. Pop stars, royalty, comedians, politicians, influential lives, and sports stars and others, will risk the loss of grace, and even eternal life, if they forget the purpose of life, which is union with God, in His service, and not self-worship.
We are not expected to be imprudent or foolish; yet Christ delights in seeing people treat one another with respect, with displays of sincere kindness towards everyone, whether employers or employees, older people or young, in imitation of Christ, Who loves everyone.
How to Pray: Basics, by Elizabeth Wang
This text is published as Chapter 2 of How to Pray (Part One: Foundations), pages 9-18, entitled 'How to Pray'. An introduction to the life of prayer with much practical advice about how to deepen you...
How to Pray: Stages of the Spiritual Life
This text is published as Chapters 7 and 8 of How to Pray (Part One: Foundations). An introduction to the life of prayer with much practical advice about how to deepen your prayer life. 7 ABOUT THE JO...
Autobiography of Elizabeth Wang, Part 1
This text forms part of Elizabeth Wang's Falling in Love: A Spiritual Autobiography (1999). It tells the story of her life and of her spiritual journey as she came to know Christ and His Church. You ...
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