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Christ wept over Jerusalem because He saw, even in that holy city, the very sins which have festered in human hearts in every age of history: not just greed, lust and envy, but also malicious misinterpretation of innocent remarks and events, vengeful desires, and other sins, all of which injure individuals and damage families, communities and nations.
St. John Vianney was not a great scholar, but he loved God with all his heart, and so did all he could to write interesting and powerful homilies in order to lead people to repentance, new life, and sincere love for Christ, and for their neighbour.
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!
Grandparents and parents should receive regular care. Though people might rely on a whim, or a mood, when they choose a book from a bookshelf, that is wholly the wrong attitude to have when choosing what to do each day. It is one of our basic duties to care for our families, and to help others if we can. We should not wait until we feel in a good mood.
We need to pray for ourselves, and for others. We must remember that a simple choice lies before each of us, whether to follow the Way that leads to life: Christ's Way - or to follow the other fork in the road, into a dark path that leads downwards, amongst trees, where people try to hide their sins from God. Only one Way leads towards Heaven.
People who take the wrong way in life are often choosing an easy way, though God asks us to rely on Christ His Son, to grow in virtue, and to persevere in charity as far as Heaven. The easy way is to help patients to kill themselves, and to ask doctors to kill the elderly. But this is bad for patients, for doctors, for families, and for society, as well as being highly immoral and against God's holy law.
Some people fall away if their comforts and consolations are removed. Those whose faith is real will not allow anything, or any circumstances, to damage it, whether opposition, temptation, or ejection from their churches, homes, land or families; they will keep the light of Christ burning in their souls and lives, and show out His love and light in all they say and do, until they reach Heaven.
By our Baptism we leap over a wall, it seems, that separates the holy from the unholy, no longer being stained by original sin. But the city beyond the wall represents earthly life, through which we should travel without being enslaved by sin. Heaven lies ahead, for the faithful, hence the importance of good preaching, as the clergy urge people not to grow weary, and never to betray Christ. Only the holy can enter Heaven.
Christ wants us to think carefully about 'environmentalism'. We are right to be concerned for people all over the world - to ensure clean water supplies, and reduced pollution, for example. It is a mistake, if we become concerned with the care of the planet almost to the point of excluding from our minds any interest in the state of our souls. The heart of the Gospel message concerns liberation from sin, and preparation for Eternal Life.
Already, God sees the end of each of us. From Eternity, God can see, all at once, the whole of human history. He sees which human beings have persevered in the 'race' to holiness and triumph, and which have come to grief through their own sin and foolishness, and have also set a bad example. This is true of the lowliest amongst us, and of clergy as well. Each of us must be alert, because, by some carelessness, or a moment's selfishness, we can drastically alter our direction, take a foolish course, and even lead others astray.
Just as sailors at sea know how to 'batten down the hatches' and survive in a storm, because of some basic duties and basic wisdom, so must we hold fast to some Catholic 'basics' that will help us to remain faithful in all the storms of life. We need to know and love Christ, to turn to Him in prayer and in the Sacraments, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and Confession. If we study the Scriptures, and ask for the prayers of the Saints and Angels, and show love to our families and to the poor, we do well.
Christ wants us to realise that wherever there is suffering and injustice, His love is needed: His love, and respect for all who are generally treated as inferior or even worthless: girls and women, the uneducated or sick or disabled, or people of another race or background. A really just society is one that follows the teachings of Christ. We can ask, as a 'measure' of justice anywhere on earth, 'How are women treated in their families?'
When we turn to our friends, the Saints, to request their prayers for ourselves and our intentions, it's as if the Saints lead by the hand the one who prays, to bring her closer to God. It has been the delight of Christians, since the earliest days of the Church, to know that those who have gone before them, to Heaven, are alive in Christ, and praying for them.
If we want to be saved, we must abandon our sins, like good people of past ages. Wise people follow the teaching of the Church. It is Christ Who wants us to believe what she tells us about faith and morals. There are people who call themselves 'practicing Catholics', however, whose ways of life include acts regarded with horror, for centuries: unchastity, contraceptive us, divorce with attempted re-marriage, and a failure to hand on the Faith to their families. Everyone needs the Divine grace given through prayer and the Sacraments, to be able to put the Catholic Faith into practice.
It is only reasonable to believe the evidence of our eyes and ears. If we saw blood flowing in a gutter, we would search the road for an injured body, and would find it. If we see plain evidence that hundreds of thousands of Catholics have abandoned their vocations, or left the Church, we are sensible if we look back, to find the cause. It lies in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, in the exaggeration, rebellion, dissent, and selfishness that cause traditional teaching and liturgy to be despised.
I used to gaze over the cot, from my hospital bed, lost in wonder that God should allow human beings to 'create' children, and to have families.
How to know Jesus Christ
Finding Christ, Finding Life: a talk by Elizabeth Wang, given at the French Church, Leicester Square, London, 2006. INTRODUCTION. You probably know that I’m an artist. The project I’m busy with, now...
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...
The Purpose of the Priesthood, by Elizabeth Wang
‘The Purpose of the Priesthood contains encouragement and advice for Catholic priests. It reminds them about the central meaning of the Priesthood, and about the need to teach the Catholic Faith in it...
How to Pray: Perseverance, by Elizabeth Wang
This text is published as Chapter 3 of How to Pray (Part One: Foundations), pages 19-30, entitled 'How to Persevere'. An introduction to the life of prayer with much practical advice about how to deep...
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