Showing 1841 - 1860 of 1911
If we feel frustrated in our efforts to share the Faith, or lonely, it's important to remember those Christians far away whose sufferings are far greater, and who suffer persecution all their lives, until death. Some are even unable to receive the Sacraments. We can offer up our little sufferings, with Christ, to comfort them in their great trials.
If we love Christ and trust in Him, we can hurl ourselves - by His grace - into His loving heart, in prayer, as if into an Abyss of light, in total surrender but real unknowing, and real acceptance of Christ's plans for us, whatever these might be. He is utterly trustworthy, even if He leads us along unexpected paths.
It is no small matter, to feel ourselves dragged down by an evil force. When we are doing good work for Christ and the Church, whether it is quiet or public, the evil one tries to drag us down, to tempt us to despondency or despair, to wreck our plans, to deceive us in prayer, and to draw us away from our Saviour. We need to be fervent in fighting all dispiriting thoughts and temptations, and must rely on the grace of Christ, in prayer.
The Holy Spirit, Who brought together thousands of priests to offer a Mass with Pope Benedict on one occasion, is the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Who chose each of those men. Each responded. Christ chose each one even before each emerged from his mother's womb. Christ wants each one to persevere, and never to become despondent, or give up, because of his own sins and weaknesses.
The almighty and Eternal God calls men to share the priesthood of the Son of God. If all priests were able to see and hear the Holy Spirit they would hear Him say, of the call from Christ: 'He chose you, and you responded. Even when you were in your mother's womb, He knew He would call you to be a priest; and then you accepted. Never give up because of your own sins and weaknesses.' Truely, the Catholic Priesthood is a calling, not a career.
We cannot see God, but we see signs of His action wherever we see acts of true charity. Love involves sacrifice, however. It should not be confused with sentimentality - or with merely human affection which can be blown away like a scrap of paper in a breeze, if hardships occur. Real love comes from God. His love, in our hearts, can help us to bear the sufferings that life can bring.
If we want to be saved, we must abandon our sins, like good people of past ages. Wise people follow the teaching of the Church. It is Christ Who wants us to believe what she tells us about faith and morals. There are people who call themselves 'practicing Catholics', however, whose ways of life include acts regarded with horror, for centuries: unchastity, contraceptive us, divorce with attempted re-marriage, and a failure to hand on the Faith to their families. Everyone needs the Divine grace given through prayer and the Sacraments, to be able to put the Catholic Faith into practice.
It is as if they are choosing to dive into darkness, whenever Catholics decide to ignore the teaching of the Church and follow a way of life always regarded by Christians with horror - involving unchastity, contraceptive use, divorce and attempted re-marriage, combined with a failure to hand on the Faith in its entirety to the children they do have. To ignore the Church's teaching is to ignore Christ, Who guides her by His Spirit - although Christ sees that some people are not entirely blameworthy, perhaps because of fear or ignorance.
It is only reasonable to believe the evidence of our eyes and ears. If we saw blood flowing in a gutter, we would search the road for an injured body, and would find it. If we see plain evidence that hundreds of thousands of Catholics have abandoned their vocations, or left the Church, we are sensible if we look back, to find the cause. It lies in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, in the exaggeration, rebellion, dissent, and selfishness that cause traditional teaching and liturgy to be despised.
We are not wrong to say things have gone wrong, in Church life. Sensible people draw sensible conclusions from evidence - for example, if we saw blood flowing past us, in a gutter, we would conclude that a body must be nearby, perhaps mortally wounded. So when there are clear signs of a disaster in the Church, with priests and religious having left, in thousands, and with children often uncatechised and irreverent, it is plain that the so-called 'Renewal' of the Church after the Second Vatican Council was in many ways a time of chaos, dissent and exaggeration of the reforms proposed, with disastrous results.
There is something sad about the problem of scruples. Isn't it strange that a person can see it as odd, to go to a Doctor for a proven remedy, but then to believe that she, the patient, will be the only person whom it will not help, but cannot see that it is equally odd to confess to a priest, sincerely, believing in the power of the Sacrament, but then believing that she, the penitent, is the only person who remains unforgiven, and probably estranged from God! This is to have a serious spiritual ailment, and lack of trust in Divine Love.
It is important to find time for silence and prayer, even in a busy life. If life is so hectic that it seems impossible, we should make a solitary place of our very own hearts. My heart can be, for me, a little 'poustinia', as Russians have called a prayer-hut; and I can meet Christ there, at peace with Him, no matter how many busy people rush around.
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.
It is important to remain joyful, and hopeful, trusting in Christ. We might sometimes find our minds dwelling on sad or horrible events of our life, of many years earlier, and we experience heartache, just as we do when we dwell on the sufferings of other people - especially starving children - in the present day. But sad memories should propel us not towards despondency but action, whether thanks to God for His many gifts to us, or help for the needy.
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.
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.
The state of the Universal Church resembles the scene at our local Catholic church. There is a huge pit, where the floor of the church used to be. But this is only an apparent disaster. Just as local parishioners will find that an undercroft has been built, and a new floor constructed, so that church life can become even more joyful and welcoming, so the world-wide Church is going to experience joys and renewal after times of apparent chaos and disaster. This is Christ's promise.
Since God the Father's plan was that Christ came to us through Mary, bringing His saving graces, He is always the Father's gift - and always through Mary. The gift is never taken back. Hence her title of 'Co-Redemptrix'; though Christ is the only Saviour, who died on the Cross for our sins.
Christ was introduced to the world, even as a child, because He is King: the Divine child Who would sacrifice His life for sinners, and then conquer sin and death by rising from the grave. The Early Church spent many years preaching about Him, and defining His two natures, and His Mission. Only much later were definitions made about His mother's Immaculate Conception, and her Assumption. Yet the time is ripe for confirmation, in a formal declaration, of two other titles: Co-Redemptrix, and Mediatrix of all Graces.
The Blessed Virgin sacrificed her life, to give the world its Saviour. The Church has issued formal declarations in modern times of what she has long believed about Our Blessed Lady: about her purity (The Immaculate Conception) and her triumph (Her Assumption, body and soul, into Heaven); yet Christ wants to see honour paid to her courage and love, through a formal definition of her titles, proclaiming her, 'Co-Redemptrix', and, 'Mediatrix of all Graces'.
Showing 1841 - 1860 of 1911