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There are people who repeat the truth about mortal sin, insisting that it is only mortal if it was committed with full knowledge and content. But this is not to say that people are blameless for their ignorance about certain sins, for example. In unclear cases, it's as if people have been saved from spiritual death but are still in need of help if they are to lead holy lives, close to Christ. It's as if they hold onto tree-roots, above the Abyss.
When people think about the subject of death, many speak about accidents. Yet God in His Providence decides the length of each person's life on earth. As a farmer sows the seed, and harvests the crop when it is ready, so God brings His friends home to Heaven when their work is done.
The people in the picture are on the way to Heaven because they have recognised the truth about Christ and have followed Him. He is unique, among the Founders of all religions, in that He was conceived of a virgin, claimed to be one with the Father, and proved His Origin and Divine Sonship by rising from the dead after enduring a cruel death.
The Mass is unique because the One Who gave it to us, Christ, is unique, amongst founders of world religions. He was conceived of a virgin, claimed to be one with God the Father, proved His Origin by the healings of the sick, raising the dead to life, calming a storm - and by His rising-up from the grave, after being unjustly and cruelly put to death.
All who travel by the Royal Road of the Cross, faithful in love and sacrifice, can reach Heaven, both in their prayers, and when they die. They will meet the Saviour Who placed His Cross as a bridge across the Abyss between earth and Heaven, and whose saving work is celebrated in our feast: 'The Triumph of the Cross".
Many non-Catholic Christians will be embarrassed, after death, as they realise what a dreadful error they have made in their refusal to honour Our Lady or to seek her help, as they drew a curtain over the most important Christian devotions of the first centuries. They will see just how much Christ loves His Mother.
The state of soul of a faithful person is peaceful at its heart - like that of a man who drifts along a calm river until he is lifted up by Christ at the moment of death. But one who had chosen to avoid Christ and His Will follows a stormy route, interiorly - as if on a raging river; and unless he repents, he is hurled, when he dies, into the Abyss.
An altar is not a mere table. A priest is not just a leader. A priest who lives in dark times - whether interior darkness or external difficulties - should keep in mind the Heavenly realities. The priest who, on earth, has faithfully lived and offered Sacrifice as 'another Christ' will be served by Christ at the Banquet in Heaven; and his past earthly hardships will seem insignificant.
From the life of Christ on earth, and from His death and Resurrection, has come a surging river of grace, which is the Church with her Sacraments. If we swim in that river, we can be carried to Heaven; but if we separate ourselves from her by our dissent and disbelief it's as if we climb out of that river - to sit on the banks, and then complain.
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.
It is through the humanity of Christ that we come to the Father, in the Holy Spirit, in prayer, and then - if we have remained faithful until death - in our journey into Heaven, to be with God for all eternity. We have no power of our own by which to reach God, though by faith we allow Him to draw us to Himself.
Faith is a gift from God, but it comes when people who have heard the story of God's action proclaimed, accept the grace to believe it. That story or proclamation is about God's plan of Salvation. It includes His gradual Revelation of Himself to Abraham, Moses, and others, and His Revelation in His Son, Jesus Christ, who is God-made-man, and who lived on earth, and died, and rose from the dead, to conquer sin and death, to save sinners.
No child, however tiny, and however sick, can be unnoticed by God, Who looks with love upon these infants as they suffer all sorts of illnesses and are even in danger of death, from very ordinary causes. God is holding them in His arms, whether they are allowed to live, or are brought through death into His loving care.
There are unnecessary and dreadful tragedies to be seen today. God sees a terrible change taking place in our hospitals, as some doctors and nurses develop a pro-death outlook, and share their views as they persuade people that old people are useless and should be helped to die, and that 'selective terminations' are the answer to multiple pregnancies, that a diagnosis of a tiny infant in the womb with Down's Syndrome should be followed by killing of the unborn child, and that food and water can be denied to someone old or frail.
The Church is like a bus which takes grateful people through a desert. People on the bus have practical help, a little community, communal prayer, and hope of a safe arrival, whereas people who refuse to climb on, or who decide to leap off, will be making a perilous journey on foot, with no guide. What counts is being on board, even if we are uncomfortable or uncertain of our destination. The alternative is death. The 'bus' takes us towards Heaven.
God is pleased to see people welcome children, to see the love for life in the hearts of many people on earth; He is also pleased to see that some of the faithful even have a 'love for death', in the sense that they have banished their fears, by His grace, and even long to go through death, as through a doorway, in order to meet the Lord, when He calls them 'home'.
No mother should fear for the future of her departed baby. God the Father loves every person He has created, including the very tiny and innocent infants who die unbaptised because they died through abortion, or miscarriage, or after birth but before Baptism could be administered - or when it was denied them by unbelieving parents. He cannot allow the innocent to suffer after death, for He is just; and so in some way they live eternally in His loving care: as if having fallen at death into a comfortable nursery cot.
No unbaptised baby will suffer after death. All the innocent babies who die by abortion, or in miscarriages, or in infancy, fall into the care of God. Though not praising God in glory with the Saints, they are held in God's love, in peace. It's as if they have fallen into a comfortable cot, held out in the loving hands of Jesus.
A Catholic who can not be bothered to practice the faith has a soul so dead, perhaps, as to be almost lifeless - like the frozen landscape pictured here. Where can he go when he dies, except into the Abyss, if he has refused to acknowledge, honour or serve God and enjoy His friendship - if he has refused the help of the Holy Spirit, Who carries towards Heaven, after death, all who die 'in Christ': as friends of God?
God looks on us with gladness whenever we pray for victims of oppression, whether for people in danger of injustice or death for political or religious reasons. God sees those forgotten millions whose bodies are dumped in mass graves, just as He sees the tragic sight of abortion, by which millions of tiny babies have been killed in the wombs of their own mothers, usually at her request.
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