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Our Blessed Lady, who is not Divine, was chosen for a special role. In consenting to conceive within her womb the very Son of God, she allowed Him to show out more clearly than ever His Divine nature: His love, compassion, willingness to share our lives from beginning to end, and His mercy and tenderness. Christ showed out, on earth, as man, what the Triune God is like: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one all-holy Creator and Redeemer.
When we are too tired or too ill to name each precious friend and relation before God, to intercede for each in the name of God's Son, we can be certain that God understands our plight. He welcomes, all at once, all the people we have in mind, as if they are like a swarm of bees powerfully rising upwards to Heaven.
No matter how detailed an edict or constitution, it cannot foster true happiness or wisdom in a country or continent if there is no mention in it of God, or God's love. To fail to mention God is not to leave aside the question of belief, but to show that faith is irrelevant to those involved; and it demonstrates their ignorance of the importance of Christian history not only locally but also throughout the world.
We need not worry if we have so many duties to fulfil that we cannot name every individual whom we hold up before God in prayer. If we intercede for them all at once, we can be sure that as we hold them before God it's as if we are bringing them into the sunlight. God's warm love falls upon each one, with graces according to their needs, because of the merits of Christ, and our faithful intercession.
All who love Christ, and trust in His love as they pray before Him Who is Present in the tabernacle, receive many graces. He is our Divine Saviour, Sacramentally Present; and He cannot be out-done in generosity. If we show reverence and love towards Him, how can He fail to reward us?
It is unfortunate that many Catholic school-children are led to practice acts of charity which always attract attention, draw applause, make those acting feel virtuous. Where are the instructions to engage in works of charity, simply for the love of God: to do good, and develop humility?
It can be hard for some priests as they grow old and frail, and step down from positions of influence, no longer able to preach and command a hearing. Some feel as though, in retirement, they are falling, helpless, towards oblivion; but they should believe that, underneath them, to hold them, are the 'everlasting arms' of God.
It pleases Christ when we examine our conscience, daily, recognise our faults, confess them and to try to change, by His grace. Whoever confesses sins should do so with confidence in Christ's love, and in His power to help and save.
It can be hard to pray without distractions, especially when we are full of delighted memories of a holiday, a pilgrimage, or a special re-union. Yet Christ understands this, just as, for example, He would understand how difficult it would be for a painter to concentrate on a conversation with Him, if she were standing near the rocks once beautifully depicted by Monet!
If we do wrong, we must not imagine that Christ begins to hate or despise us. He is always gazing upon us with love and compassion; but each of us can say: "When I sin, I distance myself from Him. I have failed to act like a child of God; but by repentance, I can become close to Him again.
The Mass is at the heart of the life of a priest. A good priest is pleased to show the place where he offers the Holy Sacrifice daily on the altar; and he can be sure that all part hurts, memories, and failings can be offered up and 'burned up' in the great fire of love which is Christ's sacrificial prayer to the Father.
Christ came to earth, true God and true man, to dispel the clouds of ignorance of misunderstanding that clouded human minds on the subject of the Godhead. He came here, as a tiny child in the womb of the Virgin Mary, in order to Sacrifice His Life, out of love for us, to save sinners from Hell.
We have a strong channel to Heaven, as if one made of brick! When we trust in the Father's love, and in the merits of Christ, and we call out with confidence, in prayer, saying 'Forgive my sins', or, 'Help me', or, 'Protect me from Satan', for example, our prayers are answered. To offer sincere prayer in the name of Christ is both to receive help, and to receive peace, from knowing we have certainly been helped.
Some Catholics speak rightly about God's love for us, but suggest that He is not strict about sin, and overlooks disobedience. Real love is both tender and strict, whether in our loving God, or in a loving parent who, for example, is strict in order to keep a child safe from a dangerous well or a live electric rail beneath a station platform.
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.
Just as a man on a boat, in danger, battered by great waves, can send up a flare, to gain help, so, we can send up a 'flare' to God, in and through our prayer - and we shall receive help, and we shall also receive the peace that comes from knowing we are loved.
Just as Christ was touched by the people who lowered their sick friend through the roof, so that he could be healed, so He is touched when we bring our sick or sad friends to Him, through our intercessions. Through our faith, and His merciful love, people in need receive help, even if we cannot yet see the results.
Christ wants us to know that He speaks to us about sin and Hell because of His great love for us. Just as a householder acts with kindness if he warns a new neighbour that there is an old well in that person's garden, where anyone could be lost, so Christ acts with kindness when He explains in various ways that certain types of behaviour can destroy the life of grace within our souls, extinguishing the light of the Holy Spirit within us - unless we repent and change.
Priests who find joy in the knowledge of God's love for them are like men who raise their faces to the sunshine to enjoy its warmth. Someone unhappy is as if holding an umbrella over his head, and shutting out the sun's rays. The umbrella represents any sin not yet confessed, or any injustice not yet put right, of which he was the cause. He needs to be at peace with God.
A market-stall can be seen as an illustration of the generosity of God - except that all His gifts are free. They are always available. It is through prayer and the sacraments that anyone can receive these gifts. He is full of love for us, and delights in giving us His Spirit, His Son, and encouragement, forgiveness, and hope.
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