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Many Catholics believe it is enough to be kind to other people. The greatest love is shown when people are not only offered kindness but also when they are offered the truth which sets us free: the truth about God's love for us, about sin and virtue, repentance and forgiveness, about the Real Presence of Jesus in His Church, helping us to prepare for Heaven.
A little child can scream for attention, and dispute every instruction from his mother, so ending up alone and miserable - or he can co-operate, and experience her companionship, her wise words, and her consolations; and so it is in the Church. A Catholic can disbelieve parts of the Faith, grumble about discipline, speak with hostility about the Pope, and become a slave to his own opinions, or he can choose to co-operate with God and the Church, and in that trust and obedience find not slavery but freedom, and joy, and peace of soul, and hope.
There is no easy way out of trouble. If a priest is very sinful, or dispirited and hopeless, and wants to escape from his misery, the only sensible way is by turning to Christ, beginning again to trust in Him, to repent, to pray, and to receive His gifts, for the service of God and neighbour, just as the only sensible way for a man in prison to act is to act well, until the door opens to freedom rather that try to dig a tunnel with bare hands through a brick wall.
Christ asks us to share the truth with hesitant Catholics, that the surest way to a holy life, and a confident but holy journey to Heaven, is to make a good Confession; then, freed from all sin, and trusting in Christ, in prayer, and guided by the teachings of His Church, the Way ahead becomes clear.
It is only too easy for weak human beings to put themselves under Satan's influence, first, by some little sins which then lead to serious sins. He becomes their chief guide, and leader, instead of Christ. The only way of escape is through complete repentance of all sin, and then adherence to God and His laws. People in trouble deserve to hear this.
Christ's saving work on earth was something that only He could do. As God-made-man, He enabled sinful human beings to know and love Him, and, through Him, the Father. We can neither free ourselves from our sins nor know, without Christ and His Revelation, exactly how to please the Father. Through His Spirit, given in Baptism, we receive power; and through His Church, in every age, Truth, to guide us.
The Catholic Church is like a rescue ship which appears out of the darkness, to rescue those willing to be rescued from their disastrous state of alienation from God, trapped in their sins: a state caused by the sin of the first human beings: the Original sin. The good news we can share is that sins can be forgiven and sinners put on the road to Heaven.
Everyone receives a just judgement, at death. The Blessed Trinity, our God, is infinitely compassionate and merciful, but does not over-ride our freedom, by which we choose to follow the path to life, opened by Christ, or choose to walk away, to sin, and to end in the Abyss, in a disaster of our own making.
To be trapped in sinful ways, alienated from God, and helpless to bring about lasting change, is like being trapped on a rocky island, surrounded by a deep Abyss. Only if someone is parachuted in to save people there can they be helped to safety. And that is what Christ did, by coming to our world as God-made-man
There are no human rights, if the right to life is denied. It is an admirable thing, to substitute friendship for racism, housing for destitution, justice for lynch-law, education for child labour, and freedom, for slavery; yet what use are such human rights to someone whose very right to life, in its very eartly stages, had been denied, in the merciless act of direct abortion?
We please Christ whenever we act to help and encourage priests in their vocation. We also please Him when we encourage those priests who love to celebrate the Mass in the Extraordinary Form. It is Christ Who has always loved the Mass He instituted, and also developed through His Spirit; and it is Christ Who has inspired Pope Benedict to allow priests the freedom to offer Mass in the Traditional manner.
The Lord sees all the injustice on the earth, including the refusal to allow women to step outside their homes, the unjust imprisonment of those who campaign for free speech, and the cruel persecution of Christians, and the destruction of their churches. The world would be a better place if everyone kept the Ten Commandments.
It can seem as though our life's arrangements and relationships are destroyed in a moment, like a bombed out city from which we flee. But sometimes our crises have been permitted by God so that we can flee all that was worldly and sinful. Then we are freed to 'build' a new life of holiness and peace.
People urge us to live in fear of global warming or disease, and expect us to make huge sacrifices for their causes. Yet if Christians urge people to change the sinful behaviour that plainly damages their lives, their families, and society, they are accused of not respecting the freedom and diversity of their fellow creatures!
Everything that happens on earth has been planned, permitted or chosen by God. Yet God's gift to everyone in His plan of salvation, and to everyone on earth, is freedom. Whoever serves Him does so having freely chosen to do so. God coerces no-one, not even the Mother of His own Son, Jesus Christ. If we look past the figures of Christ and Our Lady, to whom we pray so often, and approach the Invisible Father, we can remember: a wise person is one who chooses Life.
If we could pierce the Heavens, we would still not 'understand' all about God. If we search the Sacred Scriptures, we can find out why Christ came to earth, but we cannot find out everything about the Mind of God in Eternity. He is far above us. We can draw reasonable conclusions about His plan, however. We need not say, 'Christ would have come to earth had man not sinned'. The freedom, through which man sinned, was always part of God's plan; so the sin was always foreseen.
There are millions of people in the world who have been deprived of knowledge, or opportunities for advancement, or freedom of various sorts, or the Gospel, living in poverty, or under atheistic governments, for example. Yet the internet is bringing a huge amount of knowledge to these millions, in an extraordinary manner. Though there are evil influences on the web, the Gospel is being told through it - and it is powerfully told, for example, through the pictures and teachings of 'Radiant Light'.
She did not realise that in deliberately rejecting God and His laws she had embraced evil. She thought she was free, but she had already put herself in the power of him who now half-devoured her.
Holiness, by Elizabeth Wang
This text is the complete version of the pamphlet entitled 'SPEAK ABOUT HOLINESS'. It is based on a talk given by Elizabeth Wang. Preface. This little book contains the full version of the text I wrot...
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...
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