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It is the Lord Who has inspired the Church to celebrate special anniversaries in her own life and in the lives of the Saints. He invites us to celebrate not just those feast-days, but also our own: for example, the anniversary of a baptism, a conversion, or reception.
We please Christ if we are 'faithful in little things', for example, by reaching out to help someone in need, instead of ignoring that person to fulfill our own plans.
Those repentant Catholics who serve Christ in the home, at work and in the priesthood, for example, live deep in the heart of Christ. They are growing in holiness, ready to live one day as Saints, with the Father in Heaven.
Just as a dying sinner can (by God's grace) be saved from Hell by the visit of a charitable person, such as a nurse, for example, who pauses to pray with him, so sinners can be held back from committing mortal sin if we pause to 'offer up' our sufferings in intercession.
Some people have travelled far, to spread the Gospel; yet we do not have to do magnificent things in order to please Christ. A simple act of love, for example - keeping someone company at a meal, or on a journey, can be as great, in Christ's sight, as the work of spreading the Gospel throughout the land, and can bring about as much good, in souls.
Our Lady and St. Elizabeth practiced it; but the virtue of obedience is not much valued today. Christ offered His own example of obedience and love, to guide us; but He sees many Catholics refusing to obey the teachings of the Church; and He sees many Clergy and religious looking upon the practice of obedience as something demeaning, not liberating.
God and His holy Angels look on with joy, wherever Christ and His mother Mary are present, where Christ is adored and Mary honoured, and where people follow their example - as in the Domaine, at Lourdes.
Whoever needs help need only go to the hearts of Jesus and Mary, who work together to help and save us. This happened in Lourdes, for example, when Mary appeared to Bernadette, then Jesus was made Present in the grotto in the Blessed Sacrament.
Lourdes is not just an example of care of the sick. In looking at the Domaine in Lourdes, we have a picture of the Church which is in the world but not of it. We have a place for the sacraments, and for Reconciliation, a place for Adoration of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, a place for devotion to Mary, a place where contemplatives pray for Church members - and much mutual help between pilgrims during our pilgrimage, including care of strangers.
If we have Christ as our Saviour we have Him with us at all times, for example, on all our journeys and in every danger or time of apprehension; and He can always be met in the Blessed Sacrament, in a special way.
The Deposit of Faith is handed on in the Catholic Church from age to age. Some other Christians teach some of the truths which the Church proclaims - but the Church has no need to go to other Christians to learn what she should teach. Her teachings stem from Christ and the Apostles. Yet individual Catholics can learn from the virtuous example of charity, patience, etc. given by other individual Christians.
It is a special honour, to be the mother of a priest: an honour which Christ intends from the beginning of a woman's life, as He leads her onto the right path, so that her example of faith can help her son.
As the Lord gazes upon our world, it is His wish that the faithful can find, in their churches, visual reminders of what has really happened in history: for example, the infancy of Jesus Christ, and His Crucifixion. Why should Catholics look at bare walls, in Church, when they could have reminders of the foundation of the Faith?
A disobedient man will one day learn the truth. Thousands of souls who persist in mortal sin fall into Hell, at death; yet even people guilty of lesser sins must suffer after death, if they are not fully purified and ready for Heaven. For example: Bishops, priests and theologians who have failed to teach the Faith in its fullness or who have led others astray by their support of heretical ideas.
Catholics deserve to hear the whole gospel, about Heaven and Hell, sin and sanctity. Those who hear no warnings are likely to persist in their sins; whereas only the foolish would commit adultery, for example, if they knew that were they to die suddenly before they have repented they would fall straight into Hell.
It is usual to speak more about the love of God than the loss of God, to people of goodwill. But when sinful people are in danger of going astray, attracted by pornography, for example, the time has come to give stern warnings about the torments suffered in Hell by those who persist in mortal sin.
The Church has for centuries inspired, employed, or admired painters, who keep before the eyes of the faithful, in graphic form, those truths of the Faith on which we should act, if we are to be saved by the grace of Christ. We can be helped by images of Heaven or Hell, even if angels or demons, for example, are portrayed in semi-human form, or in ways stemming from a particular culture.
It is true that Jesus healed everyone. But we cannot accuse sick people who fail to improve, after prayer, of having little faith. The Lord permits some people to bear sufferings so that - just like Him, on the Cross - they might do penance for the sins of other people. Others are allowed, by the Lord, a time in which to reflect on their lives and to amend their sinful ways. Others, by patience in sickness, set a good example.
A good leader should always ask himself what effect his words are having upon the ordinary man who listens to him. Is the leader holding out hope of peace and justice; does he encourage the man towards co-operation in goodness, and set him a good example, or is he leading him astray?
A firm and mistaken private judgement about a moral issue is like a boulder in the heart of someone who claims to have examined Catholic claims and found them inadequate. A private opinion that abortion is a right, for example, prevents sincere and fruitful exploration about the Catholic Church.
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