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God is a powerful God, Who loves us. The God Who is powerful enough to raise Jesus Christ from the grave, radiant and joyful, is powerful enough to answer the prayers we offer in Jesus' name for people to be converted and made hopeful. The Lord is pleased when we trust in Him, and pray for great gifts as well as help with small matters in daily life.
Everyone has a desire to pray, unless it is stifled by false teaching. Almighty God sees and hears everything that is said or done by people on earth. He loves everyone; yet those who have freely chosen to repent and to believe in His Son and to share His life through Baptism can be confident that God hears them because they already live 'in Christ', as if enclosed in a great flame of Divine charity which has reached out across the Abyss which separates earth from Heaven. Children of God should be confident in prayer.
A selfish person, always determined to have his own way, whatever the cost to people in particular, or to society, is like a raging bull, ready to charge. He knows nothing of patience or charity. If he calms down now and then, it takes only a pinprick to make him bellow again. Only by Divine grace, and conversion, can that sort of nature be changed and made Christ-like.
Just as desperate drifters all over the world might travel the highways of rich countries but have little hope, so, people who are spiritually lost might be in danger of despair. Yet to turn to God is to change things, by His grace. With encouragement from sincere God-loving people, those in turmoil can see a prospect of change.
Whoever has spent some time separated from Christ, as if in an underground cave, through his own sin or self-pity, can be certain that when he decides to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and to turn back to Christ, Christ will be glad to welcome him into His friendship again, and to give Him a helping hand.
By humility we can advance in holiness. No matter what way of life we believe the Lord calls us to, we sometimes act like the man in Christ's Gospel story. We might assure Christ that we will obey Him, yet then walk away, or we might refuse to serve - then regret our decision, and come back, contrite, like the man who returned, as Christ said, to do his father's will. Whoever returns like this gives joy to Christ, and follows the right path.
Even when we are sincere about our conversion, and we come into full Communion, determined to follow Christ and to grow in holiness, on the path to Heaven, we might still be laden with fears, bad habits, resentments or misapprehensions, from which Christ can gradually deliver us, if we surrender to Him more and more bravely, for love of Him. Near the journey's end, we might be carrying only a small 'handbag'!
If we ask, God will rescue us wherther we are priests or laity. To live in alienation from God is like living, spiritually, in an Arctic world, cold and barren, swept away by icy winds, and not supportive of life. To choose to leave that world, by turning to God in trust and penitence is to find the road, that leads to Heaven: a road which is icy at first, but which leads to a warmer 'climate', and towards perfect union with God.
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.
Some converts who entered the Church in the 1960s and 1970s found the Truths of the Faith, and the sacraments, and Christ Himself, Really Present. Yet they found themselves in an icy landscape; the ice and snow represent what Christ then saw: the icy hearts of those who were itching for inappropriate changes, and who, by strange acts and exaggerations, caused a thousand disasters, including, in part, a de-sacralisation of the words and gestures of the Mass.
When someone has proclaimed that he has no need of God, or doesn't believe in Him, and so endangers his own salvation, that person is in need of our intercessions. Through our prayers, and the graces won by Christ for us, a sinful person can be brought to repentance, unexpectedly - and a complete conversion will bring him to his knees, even feeling unworthy, at first, to face the God of Love.
The priest is the man at the heart of the process of conversion. He brings good news about God's love, and the forgiveness given to repentant sinners. He brings Jesus to us: in His Word, in the Real Presence of Christ at Mass and in the tabernacle. He organises Catechesis; and he preaches, offers the Holy Sacrifice, prepares us for death, guides and helps the bereaved - and the faithful priest will be marvelously rewarded, even in this life. His greatest friend is Jesus Christ.
We should recognise what God can do in our lives, at our consent. When a grateful person believes in Christ, surrenders to His wishes, and with prayer, penance and acts of charity allows Christ to transform her, whatever the cost, Christ works an amazing transformation. To change a person with sinful ways into someone who lives for the glory of the Blessed Trinity is like changing a go-kart into a Rolls Royce.
If we decide, by God's grace, to leave our hiding-places, where we were nearly paralysed by fear at the thought of doing God's risky work, that requires sacrifices, we must perhaps emerge backwards from our hiding-places, in a posture of humility. Then, free from remorse, fear, and all that bound us, we can stand upright, breathe deeply, and find joy in living in the light as confident children of God.
As I sat up in bed that night, reading, I read "the Mass was abolished" in England. I discovered that it was the Catholic Church, not the Anglican communion, that continued to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass just as it had been offered throughout Christian history. I had to be Catholic.
What is Mary Like? by Elizabeth Wang
This text is the complete version of the pamphlet WHAT IS MARY LIKE? “Now having met together; they asked him, ‘Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘...
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: The Mass, by Elizabeth Wang
This text is published as Chapter 4 and 5 of How to Pray (Part One: Foundations), pages 31-38, entitled 'How to Pray the Mass'. An introduction to the life of prayer with much practical advice about h...
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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