Showing 1821 - 1840 of 1911
By our own freely-made choices, we alter our destiny. Those who persist in selfishness and sin, despite the help given by God to reflect upon their lives, and to turn to Him in contrition and trust, will find themselves led, at death, into total alienation and spiritual hopelessness, as if through a dark doorway, unlike those who have persevered in faith and love, and who are raised up in the glorious life of Heaven, to share the joy of the Saints, forever.
Whenever we offer up, in prayer, in union with Christ our Saviour, whatever sufferings we currently try to endure with patience, we are helping souls in danger of spiritual disaster. It's as if we are calling out - by the power of Christ - to someone who is about to descend a flight of steps that lead down to Hell. It's as if we are calling out - 'Don't go down there; it's a dead end!' By the grace of Christ, and our prayer, we can help people to turn back to Christ.
Catholics who choose to disbelieve major truths of faith and morals are in danger of going astray, further and further away from Christ. For example, anyone who approves of abortion, which is the equivalent of throwing away a baby into a deep pit, or who herself thinks she will choose an abortion, is in danger of falling in herself, or, rather, of falling into the pit that, for her, would represent Hell.
Even if they are kind to their friends, very many young Catholics cannot be bothered to pray, to give up their sins, to attend Holy Mass, or to show reverence, like the Saints. Many loll in an armchair to pray, without much respect or reverence, and then feel virtuous because they have spoken to God.
There is a horrible surprise in store for a person who has deserted Christ and the Church, and who arrives at the moment of death, then finds himself helpless between the Evil One who had been leading him astray, and the pit into which he might soon fall, to remain there forever. But Christ appears, with a merciful face, to ask: 'Is that really your wish: to go to Hell? If you reach up your arms to me, I will save you.' He must choose well, and reach up in humility, if he wishes to reach Heaven one day.
We must encourage one another really to believe in Jesus Christ. If I am one of those fearful Catholics who constantly feels trapped between the memory of my sins, which we feel will bring us to Hell, and the assaults or temptations of the evil one - like a roaring beast, trying to devour us - I should look away from myself, upwards, to Jesus. If we call on Him, He is powerful enough to help us. But, to call, we first need faith in Him.
We should follow Christ through the 'narrow gate' that leads to Heaven, and avoid the darkness of sin and discouragement
How watchful are we about our everyday habits? Much of what people feast upon today is actually damaging to their souls. It can 'poison' their spiritual lives. By gossip, or pornography or other evils it's as if people feast, like the rats that eat the pellets in the corner of a barn. They feel full, but will poison their souls just as the rats poison their bodies.
Christ looks on with gladness when we keep His Commandments, out of love for Him; but it is a cause for sadness, in His sight, that many Catholics praise people who are fervent in obeying the second Great Commandment about love for neighbour, but are scornful about people who are fervent about the First Great Commandment, and who are concerned for the honour of God, the dignity of Catholic worship, and the faithful handing-on of revealed Truth. Those are even called fundamentalists!
Our prayers and penances can be offered in union with Christ, to help people in torment. As God looks upon the earth, He sees the wicked acts of brutality inflicted by human beings upon one another; but few are more cruel than the forcible removal of a child from its mother's body, as it is torn from the womb, and dragged away to die, by people who have power over others. It even happens that an abortion is followed by the sterilisation, against her will, of the unfortunate woman, denying her the hope of conceiving another child. Truly, these people are desperately in need of intercessions.
We might even risk our salvation if, on Sundays or holy days, we choose to miss Mass, in order to amuse ourselves, or for trivial reasons. Unless we are caring for the sick, for example, or are ourselves sick or without transport, it is to refuse to obey the First Commandment and the Church's command. It is to act as if we have no need of the graces that Christ offers, and no need of His prayer that we achieve Salvation.
As Christians, we are under attack by the evil one. By fervent efforts to please Christ in our every thought, word and action, we can make a 'garment' for ourselves, by the grace of Christ, as if building a castle wall that keeps out Satan who prowls around, trying to persuade people to sin.
Just as it is impossible for any of us, by our own power, to leap over a far-off planet, so it is impossible for us, by our own efforts, to achieve union with God. We need His grace, simply to be able to want to approach! Then further graces, in order to respond to His loving invitation. But with His help, we can pray, learn to live in charity, and become holy.
There are many leisure occupations that are not sinful, though some people are puzzled by modern art: abstract and conceptual art. Other people spend some spare time finding their way round a maze, in a country garden. Whether we are attracted to novelties or thought-provoking events, a question that needs to be asked is, 'What is life for?' After our ordinary duties, do we make fruitful use of our free time? Does everything we do, think and say give glory to God?
If we cannot sweep aside injustice we can bring comfort by our prayers. God has given everyone free will, which means that He does not step in, every time someone makes an evil choice; which is why there is all sorts of wickedness, including abortion of helpless babies - and even forced abortions against the will of the mother. By our prayers and penances we can help those suffering people to endure, and not to give in to despair.
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.
We know that Christ was made incarnate of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and it is Christ Who is now made bodily Present, in a sacramental manner, in the Most Holy Eucharist; yet He is never separated from the Father and the Holy Spirit. When we are close to Christ we are also close to the Father and the Holy Spirit: to the one God, the Blessed Trinity.
We know that Christ took flesh from the Blessed Virgin, and is both God and man. We also know that He is bodily Present with us, in a sacramental manner, in the Holy Eucharist. Yet He is never separated from the Father and the Holy Spirit: in the unity of the Blessed Trinity.
Christ hears all sorts of prayers. Some people show their love for Christ by praying usually with very flowery language: very formal, or poetical or elegant. It springs from the traditions of their family or country. Others, brought up by plain-speaking parents, pray simple, honest, reverent prayers with no clever words but much love. We must not worry, about our simple prayers, since Christ said in the Gospel, 'Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No.' He likes our simplicity, just as He likes the beautiful words that other people offer, too.
In the document of the Second Vatican Council, on Ecumenism, there is no part which supports the words of some people of the present day who claim that other Christians have no need to 'return' to the Catholic Church. It is always true that Christ asks, through His Church, that every Christian enter into the full Communion of the Catholic Church.
Showing 1821 - 1840 of 1911