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A queue of women approaches doctors today, many not to request health-care but to request the destruction of their tiny babies before birth. Some women with living babies embrace maternity, as God intends; the others destroy their infants, by allowing others to do so, so that nothing interferes with their hopes for their own life, e.g. of pursuing careers, or fame, or even sport - though some are remorseful.
One sin leads so easily to another; for example, when a woman idolises the man she loves, co-habits with him, pursues a career to be a glittering partner to him, rather that have a family, and then finds she is pregnant, she slides more easily into the grave sin of abortion than a woman who has already been prayerful and disciplined for God's sake, in a loving marriage begun in Church: a woman not ashamed to carry our ordinary domestic tasks, and who sees every baby as a gift from God to her and to her husband.
It can be hard for some priests as they grow old and frail, and step down from positions of influence, no longer able to preach and command a hearing. Some feel as though, in retirement, they are falling, helpless, towards oblivion; but they should believe that, underneath them, to hold them, are the 'everlasting arms' of God.
How important it is that we reflect on the purpose of our lives, before we die. How terrible, to go to the grave, and then meet God, and find out the truth - that in one way or another some of us have deliberately ignored the truth about the Church, or have wasted our time and energy on selfish ambitions, instead of loving God.
Artists, film-makers and actors, and others, are all people who easily become obsessed with their work; yet when each one dies, the question they will want to answer will not be about their art, or any of their work, in itself, such as 'Have I fulfilled my ambitions?' - but, rather, 'Have I loved God and my neighbour, and fulfilled God's plan for my life?'
If a carpenter makes a good table, but finds that the table wishes to be a truck, he would be amazed. Just as silly would be a hedgehog who wishes to be a gazelle, or a person destined for sainthood, and Heaven, who wishes to spend his life fulfilling selfish ambitions, careless about his eternal destiny and even involved in grave sin.
Busy people are tempted to say: "I didn't have time to pray". But everyone who wants to honour God as He deserves can make the sacrifices that are necessary to find that prayer-time, whether by getting up earlier, or praying whenever the baby is asleep, or calling into a church on the way home from work, for example.
The Church is like a walled garden, in which both the clergy and the laity have opportunities to resist temptations in the clamour of the world, and to become peaceful, holy people - able to become free of greed, selfish ambitions and other dangers. All of us need to stay close to Christ in prayer.
Really to love God is to prefer His Will to our ambitions. The Lord is glad to see a non-Catholic Christian come into full Communion with the Catholic Church. Yet from that 'spot' on the road there is a lengthy journey to be made, towards Heaven, and much to learn. Growth in faith, hope and love should be achieved, by God's grace, through prayer, spiritual reading, self-mastery, and acts of kindness, in humility, patience and trust.
We cannot carry our baggage into Heaven. We can only carry a charitable heart, and a pure mind full of pure thoughts, and pure intentions in everything, out of love for God. If we have sins, or ambitions, or grudges, or wounds unforgiven, or feuds, or hearts full of anger or self-pity, it will be, at death, as though we are trying to 'check in'; but we are being asked to surrender all we own, before our 'flight' to Heaven, with the Holy Spirit.
If we want God to make a beautiful pattern out of our lives, using our various gifts, interspersed with weaknesses, failings, unhappy memories and foolish ambitions, it's as if we must allow Him to shake up our lives, by the various crosses we carry and the trials we endure. Then, from all those odd pieces, God can form a beautiful, unique pattern, as seen in a wonderful kaleidoscope such as children enjoy.
If we are concerned about our salvation - or especially if we are not yet concerned - there is a question we should ask ourselves, as we are tempted to give first place in life to our own ambitions and our own opinions. We should ask ourselves: 'Am I pleasing God by the way I live my life today?' If I am not doing so, am I willing to change?
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 has shown us the Way to Heaven; but many people rush around from one job to another, anxious and tired, forgetting to pause and ask God's help, and some yearning for marvellous spiritual experiences or assurances about the future. The best sort of yearning is directed towards loving and pleasing God. Life becomes simple, if we pray, trust, work, and persevere in all trials.
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...
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...
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: Perseverance, by Elizabeth Wang
This text is published as Chapter 3 of How to Pray (Part One: Foundations), pages 19-30, entitled 'How to Persevere'. An introduction to the life of prayer with much practical advice about how to deep...
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...
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