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Europe is endangered by the immoral laws enacted there. Those who campaign for, or enact, or support immoral laws are as if digging a pit for the citizens of their countries. How can countries thrive, or set a good example, if they kill millions of their own number by abortion, and by legalising suicide, and by the killing of the sick and elderly by doctors, who are trained to heal?
St. John Vianney was not afraid to preach the truth in the pulpit, sometimes weeping as he spoke, as he described the miserable state of souls who cared nothing for God and might never arrive in Heaven.
Marriage can bring tremendous joys, but there are dangers to avoid: sins to be avoided in order to lead holy married lives, to create a holy family, and to help one another, by God's grace, to be worthy of Heaven. The downward path which leads to darkness represents the way taken when people disobey God by contraceptive use, or deviant sex, or adultery, or other forms of grave betrayal or uncharity.
It is always worthwhile to pray for people who are apparently being swept away on a tide of sinful practices. By our intercessions, in Christ, we make it more likely that they will recognise the truth, that they are in danger of spiritual ruin.
Just as the land which is not watered by spring rains becomes dry, causing subsidence and dangerous lesions in the road, so a spiritual life not fed by the sacraments becomes weak. Those most likely to fall into the pit are those preoccupied by earthly troubles, those careless in their everyday life, and those unable to go to church who sink into depression or despair.
We need to be on our guard, always. Just as wolves wait at the edge of the wood, prowling around, ready to leap upon any weak creature nearby, so, the demons seize every opportunity to cause confusion in good people, mislead good minds - and also use them to lead others astray, intellectually as well as morally. In Christ, we can find safety.
Whenever we make choices that lead us away from God it's as if we leave the safety of our home-town to wander off into a vast desert where there is neither shelter nor refreshment. Only by coming 'home' to the Church and the sacraments can we find peace, nourishment, the companionship of Christ, and the hope of Heaven.
Some Catholics speak rightly about God's love for us, but suggest that He is not strict about sin, and overlooks disobedience. Real love is both tender and strict, whether in our loving God, or in a loving parent who, for example, is strict in order to keep a child safe from a dangerous well or a live electric rail beneath a station platform.
Just as a man on a boat, in danger, battered by great waves, can send up a flare, to gain help, so, we can send up a 'flare' to God, in and through our prayer - and we shall receive help, and we shall also receive the peace that comes from knowing we are loved.
Those nurses and doctors who dispose of some unborn babies and adult patients, having judged them to be inconvenient or useless, are as if casting them into a pit. Yet they themselves will fall into the pit of doom, unless they repent before they die. The pit represents, for evil-doers, the perpetual alienation from God that they might freely choose.
There are people who lead outwardly respectable lives but who are half-way to Hell, God sees, because of their disbelief, and their deliberate refusal to lead good lives in obedience to His laws of morality. Unless they repent before they die, they will fall into the bottomless pit, which represents eternal alienation from God chosen by the wicked.
Some Catholics choose not to believe in parts of the Church's moral teaching. They are as unwise, and as dangerous to others, as those medical students who might accept all that their professor teaches about physiology and medicine but who refuse to believe what he says about the importance of washing hands and preventing infection.
The Church reminds us, in Sacred Scripture and the Sacred Tradition, that God has given us Angels to guard us. If we are in spiritual, moral or physical danger, and call on their aid, they will help us, though we are not usually privileged to witness their presence. We are weak, and God loves to help us in all sorts of ways.
A couple who enter marriage while planning to disobey the moral laws, for example, by the use of contraceptives, or having agreed to divorce if they don't feel happy, are in great spiritual danger. It's as if they enter a meadow to begin the dancing after their wedding, yet do so near an old well, unfenced, nearby. It is very likely that someone will fall in and be lost.
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.
If we know someone who endangers his own salvation, and we pray to the Father, in the name of Christ, with faith, it is as though Christ on the Cross has freed an arm, in order to point to that great sinner, saying: "He is one of Mine: one of those I came to save"; and so, for Jesus' sake, the Father hears and grants us Jesus' prayer, obtained through our intercession. We should be joyful that, in Christ, we have so much power.
Just as skiers might find themselves on a dangerous slope, so, we can find ourselves in spiritual danger through, for example, current wrong ideas about morality, or through worship with pagans, or through unholy behaviour in the home such as neglect of prayer, or self-indulgence or pornographic television viewing.
Just as we need to trust our judgement when we are in physical danger, so we must, too, in spiritual matters. Just as we are right to feel alarmed if someone entering a nearly-empty train carriage chooses to sit right next to us, so we are not wrong to feel alarmed at indications of spiritual danger; and we should call on the name of Jesus, and prayer of Our Lady to help us, and also use holy water to put Satan to flight.
It is a cause for concern, when someone is following the Way of Christ, and had seemed willing to continue, but keeps pausing, wasting time, as he puts off doing the good things that he needs to do, to be worthy to enter Heaven joyfully rather than have to suffer in Purgatory. The temptations which threaten to overcome us could lead to our falling into the Abyss, nearby, and rising Eternal Loss.
Already, God sees the end of each of us. From Eternity, God can see, all at once, the whole of human history. He sees which human beings have persevered in the 'race' to holiness and triumph, and which have come to grief through their own sin and foolishness, and have also set a bad example. This is true of the lowliest amongst us, and of clergy as well. Each of us must be alert, because, by some carelessness, or a moment's selfishness, we can drastically alter our direction, take a foolish course, and even lead others astray.
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