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It is the Holy Spirit Who inspires us to pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory; and He wants us to know that they are not only helped by our prayers, towards heaven, but also consoled, in the knowledge that they are not forgotten by the Church.
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.
The great MIND of God, that made human DNA and the genome, cannot be understood by human beings; nor can the Godhead by pierced by thought alone. He should be adored; yet He has revealed Himself in and through His Son, God-made-man; and Christian mystics, through Christ, can see deep into the 'heart' of God.
The Church teaches the truth, in every age of our history, yet each of the mystics experiences it - for example, St Paul, St Teresa of Avila, St Thomas Aquinas. It is the Christian mystic who prays with trust, reverence and humility, who knows God better than anyone, through union with Christ in prayer. The mystics have produced the most lyrical and intellectually-coherent accounts of what they have learned of God - which knowledge echoes and confirms the truths taught by the Church, and illumines them.
Christ showed me that the person who knows God best is the Christian mystic. She who has been drawn up to the heights of mystical union, in prayer, after her trial and purification, comes to know the Father and Christ, and the Holy Spirit; and she is able to inspire and encourage others to follow Christ's way of love and humility.
When I prayed, on the coach to London, Christ said: "Picture me on the coach with you". This would be a representation of the truth, since He is everywhere as our God, and He is with me, in my soul, since my Baptism; and He wanted this knowledge to make me joyful, now and always.
It is outrageous that the laws of our country have been framed so that parental responsibility has been badly dented. Though schools need the permission of parents before a school nurse can hand out minor medication, medical officials can arrange for a girl to have an abortion - a serious operation - without her parent's knowledge.
A woman who turns to God and repents of her abortion can find forgiveness and peace, in the knowledge that her child is safe in God's loving care
Just as a water-sprite, gazing at the surface of the river from below, has little idea of the magnificence of earthly life with its millions of life-forms and other marvels, or of the vastness and beauty of the planets and the stars in deep space, so we humans on earth have little comprehension of the marvellous, infinitely beautiful and admirable life of Heaven.
Just as a living creature underground can have no idea of the richness of human life, and the joys of family life, so an atheist is sadly without any knowledge of the glories of heavenly life, glories shared even now, to some degree, by the faithful members of Christ's one, Holy Catholic Church.
Christ can only raise to spiritual heights people who approach Him in humility, aware of their sinfulness and need. Then He can raise them up to understand earthly things, and raise them higher in contemplation to understand Heavenly things
If we try to escape the Cross, we merely flee into darkness. No Christian can expect to escape some sort of crucifixion, whether interior desolation and trials, and the dark nights, or persecution, or the knowledge of one's own sinfulness. The only way to sanctity and Heaven is upwards, with Christ, one with Him in crucifixion followed by Resurrection even in this life, to find fulfilment and joy in His service.
Christ's friends live as if within a bight cloud, of God's love. When we live in union with God in everyday life, nourished by the Sacraments, forgiven and in a state of grace, we do not need to see the path ahead, before we can love and serve God well. We don't need to picture the future. Even if we are uncertain of His plans for us, or unsure of our vocation, we should be confident that here, from moment to moment, we can delight Him by doing His Will, in our ordinary circumstances.
In Mediaeval times, people were taught the truth about the Mass, the central act of our religion, and the greatest means of praising God - through His Son, and His Son's Holy Sacrifice, re-presented in the presence of the Saints, the Holy Souls and the Angels. What is important are prayer, adoration, and the knowledge that we join in the worship of Heaven. (It is because most children are taught only that the Mass is a community meal, that there are so many images given, through Radiant Light, of every aspect of the Holy Sacrifice. The Lord wants every effort made to teach the truth about these Holy Mysteries.)
It is astonishing, how careless we are, in the face of danger. What the Lord allows us to picture as the fires of Hell are only images; but they represent a terrible reality, which is that there is no greater torment than alienation from God, forever. Christ often warned us about Hell. He has done so, through His Church, for 2000 years; and so He wants us to see that if we deliberately walk towards those flames, by refusing to repent and to live in His love, we are foolish as well as disobedient. For people who die in their sins, Hell never ends.
Those Catholics who never frequent the sacraments, or never pray, or live trapped in mortal sin, are in great spiritual danger, with no sure hope of being carried across the Abyss to Heaven when they die. It's as if a man is walking surrounded by clouds thrown up through his own sinful ways, clouds which hide from him the sight of the Abyss in front of him, and the Heaven which lies at the other side. Unless he repents, and sees where he is heading, he will fall into the pit.
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.
No matter how devout a person has been, no matter how grateful to God for His love, that person, when at last approaching Heaven after death, will find himself amazed by the beauty and majesty of the Godhead, and be prompted to exclaim - "I never knew how glorious You are... I never realised how beautiful and how good!"
Just as people who follow a bridle path upwards, across the hills, in fine weather, can enjoy a beautiful view, so, people who 'ascend' in prayer, by the Lord's power, as they spend more time with Him, can see and understand spiritual things more clearly; but it is not always pleasant. Perhaps they see faults they had not previously noticed; but this is part of the process of growing in holiness.
It would be easy to say, of a view over a city, by night: "Oh, how beautiful - but how marvellous it must look in the daytime!" And so it is, with the Godhead. We have been given a glimpse, so to speak, from within the darkness of earthly life, through Jesus, and the sacraments and prayer; but all who enter Heaven are enthralled by the beauty of the glory of the Blessed Trinity, as are the people they have helped to bring there by their intercessions.
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