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As God looks upon the world, He sees how few of us believe in His goodness, how few of us expect answers to prayer, how few of us have prayed with faith in the merits of His Son Jesus, Who died for us. Our faith has not developed because we have not really given our whole lives to God, in regular prayer and works of charity.
St. Catherine of Sienna, who lived in a street I once saw, believed in the Father's goodness. She obeyed Him. She prayed with faith, and was answered like the Apostles in earlier times; she put her trust in God even when He led her through suffering in the course of her particular vocation; yet her reward was Heaven.
Some people discuss the Catholic Faith as if it were a light matter: a question of joining a happy group just for company and reassurance. They do not realise that the Faith is about truth and goodness. There is a battle raging in the world - though many people are still blind to it - it is a war between good and evil.
Children today like to hear a dramatic story; yet we should help them to see that there is no more dramatic story than that of God becoming a little baby. When He grew up, people who knew Him could witness to His goodness and truthfulness. Then when He was killed by His enemies, and came to life again, He provided the evidence that He was trustworthy. He had really come down from Heaven to save us.
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?
Christ is God-made-man, Who endured 'hell on earth', and sacrificed His life, in order to teach people about sin and goodness, and to conquer sin and death. He showed by his coming to earth, that the Father is not a tyrant, glad to send people to Hell, but a loving Father, Who, with His Son, has done everything possible to rescue, warn and convert sinners, to spare them their inevitable disaster.
A person with a tender heart must weep, when considering the sufferings of Jesus; yet a true follower knows that the Cross is the centre-piece of His message. He showed us that even in the extremes of suffering He still trusted in the Father's love and goodness, and believed that good can come out of evil. The same can be true for us, if we believe in Jesus, and do as He asks, by repenting and being Baptised. Through Him, we can overcome sin, and even have Eternal Life.
If we wish we could give to a beloved relation all the wisdom and goodness that we have received from God in a life-time, the best means is by encouraging them to receive Christ with devotion in Holy Communion. In Christ is His Divinity, wisdom, power, beauty, and goodness: more than enough to fill our hearts, if we open our hearts fully to receive Him.
To learn very quickly what God has done for us all, we need only turn to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. There, we find the true story of God's goodness, of the fall of man, of God's wonderful plan of salvation, and of the arrival of Jesus Christ our Saviour - and much more.
All that is good comes from the love of Christ for us: with the Father and the Holy Spirit. All good things of nature and of grace come from the Lord and give Him glory - and all beauty, worthwhile accomplishments, like music, art, drama, dance, sport, engineering, architecture, literature - if they are worthy of God Who is goodness, purity and truth.
Wherever Catholics live out their faith with goodness and conviction, they have an effect upon their culture, as Catholics have since the earliest times. The Bishops hand on the truth from Jesus Christ, people are forgiven and transformed, freed from superstition, men and women are equal in marriage, the sick are cherished and not rejected, prisoners receive justice, little girls are educated, children are valued, even the unborn, the arts flourish - art, architecture, music and scholarship - and the Saints set an unparalleled example of goodness, in all sorts of ways.
We do not always realise how powerfully we affect others, for good, when we witness unashamedly about the kindness and goodness of Christ. We can powerfully encourage and help individuals; and we should be aware that it's as if we warm Christ's heart by our love, and our desire to see Him loved.
Whenever new priests have been ordained, and have devoted themselves to Christ, their Saviour in Heaven is praying to His Father with outstretched hands, praising the Father for His goodness in giving priests to the Church Christ founded. Christ is full of joy - yet longing for more men to hear His call to the Sacred Ministry and to respond.
People who take other people hostage and keep them captive do the opposite of what Jesus did - Who came to set people free from sin and slavery. There is a need for prisons, in ordinary life, for people justly tried and found guilty. But those who keep innocent people captive do, in physical terms, what the evil one does in spiritual ways. Indeed, they have aligned themselves with the evil one who always opposes God and goodness.
After coming to earth, as man, Christ founded a Church, to continue His teaching: to hand on the truth about sin and goodness, to give power in the sacraments to be freed from sin and made holy. Catholics who refuse to believe in Church teachings on grave matters, and so do not avoid those sins, are like people who smash some of the rungs on the ladder by which they imagined they would reach Heaven; but by their own fault they make that ascent impossible, unless they repair it.
When we pray with faith, in the name of Jesus, trusting in His merits and in the Father's goodness, our prayer of faith has a power greater than that of the greatest rocket. Our prayer pierces Heaven, and is granted, for Jesus' sake.
We pray 'in Christ' because His prayers are always heard. We are wise if we have faith in the power of prayer in Jesus' name. If we trust in Him, and in the merits of His Sacred Passion - and in the goodness of God our Father - we pray with confidence, certain that our prayers and intercession will reach Heaven. It is as if Jesus Christ is like Jacob's ladder: our 'Ladder' by which we can climb towards Heaven in prayer, even if we ourselves cannot yet enter.
St. Michael the Archangel swoops down in a great fire of charity to help or rescue those endangered friends and followers of Christ who have called upon him for protection against the evil one's assaults, or for help in overcoming temptations. He prays for us, and offers reminders of God's goodness, and of the hope of Heaven.
The journey to Heaven is, for most people, a slow and arduous climb. Christ wants each of us to believe in His love, to persevere in faith, hope, love and humility, and to avoid pride and vainglory. People who want to be Saints think more about God's goodness that about their own gifts, talents, plans and ambitions.
In speaking about God the Father, some people say that God is cruel, to allow people to fall into Hell. The truth is, in His goodness, He invites everyone to respond to His love, to grow in union with Him, though Jesus Christ His Son, and to do good and prepare for the gift of Heaven. But how can anyone expect to be saved, who will not do what is essential, in preparation for such a privilege and gift? How can anyone benefit from Christ's work, who refuses to do as Christ asks: to pray, to obey His commands, and to love Him as well as our neighbour?
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