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A person who is in mortal sin who not only disobeys God's Commandments but deliberately leaves the Church is like a man on a narrow ladder, in a mine-shaft, above a fiery pit, who deliberately cuts the safety-rope that God had put around him to save him from falling into the flames.
When people desert Christ and the Church it's as if they leave a wide open space around their city that must be filled. Therefore, dark forces move in, like a big shadow creeping forward.
A Catholic who puts himself, by a deliberate act or choice, out of Communion with the Church, in mortal sin, is as if standing on a ladder, near the top of a huge pit, in danger of falling; if he dies before he repents and is reconciled he will certainly fall into Hell. He needs God's grace to take the wiser course: to repent, and so climb the ladder and stay on firm ground, out of danger.
Christ is pleased to see Catholics arranging programmes in which lapsed Catholics are encouraged to come 'home' into the Church - but He delights in only those campaigns which offer reminders of the Catholic Faith in its fullness, with no omissions or distortions, and which genuinely help people to be reconciled to God.
A person who chooses to leave a life of simple goodness, regular prayer, and faithful reception of the sacraments is as if jumping off a moving train which is on its way to Heaven. There is no other way to Heaven - and it is impossible to climb aboard the train again, without receiving help. That is why sinners are foolish as well as sinful.
Some Catholics are so impressed with the fervour of certain Christian groups that they think about leaving the Catholic Church, forgetful of what they already have, from God. It is the Holy Eucharist that makes the Church - not a charismatic founder, or a special healer, or huge numbers of new members. Jesus is Really Present in His one true Church. To go elsewhere is to desert Him.
We have a duty to pray for our brothers and sisters who have lapsed, and no longer enter church for Mass. Some have committed grave sins and don't want to give them up; others feel ashamed of their sins but have forgotten that they can repent and be forgiven. Others no longer believe in the teachings of the Church. They all deserve our prayers.
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.
By our intercessions we grow in holiness and help the Church; however, we must not become despondent if we seem to see no results from our prayers for those in spiritual need: people who do not love God or who have chosen one of a thousand ways in which to dismiss God from their lives, or to ignore His Son, Jesus Christ, or to leave the one true Church. Everyone has free will. And those who refuse to repent before they die will fall into a pit, as if through the floor of a rotten building which they chose to inhabit and refused to repair.
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