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A person who refuses to believe in the existence of God or in the possibility of life in Heaven, leads a life as tragic as that of a little worm, underground, who has no idea of the richness of human life, with the literature of Shakespeare or the courage and aspiration shown by Christopher Columbus.
We are right to pray for people in need: our neighbours, and the Holy Souls in Purgatory who have avoided Hell - and people all over the world, who live in the darkness of superstition, unbelief and atheism, and who are at risk of ending in Hell, unless they repent and change.
Although God holds everyone in existence, a person in earthly life who refuses to believe in God, or refuses to give up his sins, is by his own free will cut off from the influence and joy of God's love. It is as if he or she sits in darkness in a large box, whilst the graces of God pour around, outside it. People in a state of grace are bathed in that grace.
In Christ's sight, a person is in a pitiable state who does not believe in the existence of God, or Heaven - or Jesus Christ, or Judgement. This means that such a person is ignorant of, or opposed to, the main purpose of life, which is union with God, in His service, both in this life and in the next.
It is a shock to some kind souls, to realise, after death, that, for Heaven, it is not enough to have been kind to one's neighbour. Love of neighbour is essential for Heaven, but cannot make unnecessary the need of love for God, too, in people who are also chaste, humble and obedient.
Even when family members are plainly affectionate and helpful to one another, they are capable of doing terrible things if they live in ignorance of God's laws, without the life of grace, in disbelief of God's existence, and with their minds unable to understand God's wishes or to carry them out. They need the grace of God, and conversion. People are not saved by good humour or optimism, if they lead utterly Godless lives.
It is tragic that so many people have not been baptised. A family which is affectionate but which ignores or disbelieves in God, and has no respect for the Commandments, cannot be saved by qualities of optimism or human warmth - but only by the grace of Christ accepted. They need the prayers of the faithful, that they will open their eyes to the truth which they have never encountered, or have half-heard, and dismissed.
There are many people facing decline and death, and who do not say a word to their Creator, Who made them, and the whole universe, and Who holds us all in existence. Even the pagans call out to their creator; but many modern, supposedly well-educated people keep a sad silence, in their agonies, and so do not receive the comfort God can give - and the hope of Heaven.
When politicians ignore Christianity, ignore God's laws and pass foolish or wicked laws, there is inevitably a decline in society; the real charity which befriends, helps, heals and saves is replaced by an atheistic utilitarianism, in which the self is idolised, and the weak sacrificed on the altar of personal choice.
We human beings are put on earth for a little while; and then, when our work is finished, we go 'home' to God - unless we have denied Him, by atheism or disbelief in the truth we hear, or have defied Him, by our immorality, or our refusal to join His Church, or our refusal to repent before we die.
An atheist who resolutely, freely refuses to believe in God, to love Him, or to believe in and follow His wishes, shuts his eyes to God, so that, at death, he remains blinded. He does not see the Creator Who has tried to save him, but passes along his freely-chosen route, with others like himself, who all go down to Hell.
There are atheists who freely, resolutely refuse to believe in God, or to love or obey Him, and when they die, it's as if some are puzzled not to see the God Whom others have spoken about; yet they shrug as if it matters little, before realising the direction of their self-chosen route. They have put themselves on the path away from God, into Hell.
It is tragic that many people do not believe in God our Creator, Who gives signs of His wisdom and beauty in the natural world; it is tragic that they never speak to God in prayer, or ask for help of any sort. We must ask, about any atheist who dies, "Who will carry him across" - across the Abyss, to Heaven, if the deceased has refused the help of the Holy Spirit.
An atheist might search for a sense of purpose, or create one for himself, giving himself to what attracts him; but he has no 'solid ground' beneath his feet as he makes day-to-day decisions, without belief in a Creator and the main purpose of leading a virtuous life, as a child of God. With fluctuating morals, or a malformed conscience, or mere pragmatism as a guide, an atheist has not the joy and hope of being on the Way to Heaven.
Christ asks us to accept the tragic truth about atheism: that a person who does not believe in God does not pray, never thanks God for anything, never asks for forgiveness from God, never prays for other people, never asks to be delivered from evil in this life, and never prays to be saved and brought to Heaven. Every atheist is in desperate need of the prayers of the faithful, no matter how good a life he seems to lead.
When a Government proposes that small children must learn about sex and reproduction, with no reference to God or morality, or chastity or marriage, they destroy the innocence of the young, impose an atheistic outlook, usurp the role of parents, who should teach children when they are older, and help, in effect, to destroy the school as surely (though in a different way) as if a gang of thugs were tearing down a wall.
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?'
It is tragic, that a human being can arrive at great old age - as if on a pinnacle, after a lengthy life on earth - without having given any thought to God. What a shock such a person has, if she dies in such a state, having been devoted to her own pleasure, and sees that she has spent an entire life without praising or thanking God, or doing His Will.
Christ asks all the members of His Church to love one another with a holy love. If we cannot do that, He asks, how can we possibly act with authentic, holy love towards people outside the Church, many of whom oppose our teachings, our plans, and our participation in the life of our community or country?
It is because we have free will that God allows people to ignore Him. Those who choose to ignore the light of truth about God, which shines out from the Catholic Church, are as if walking away into darkness, on a self-chosen route towards Eternal Life without God, unless they repent before they die; and that loss-of-God, known as Hell, is what Christ wants us to avoid; but many do not listen to Him.
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