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When a person has come close to spiritual disaster, and has lived as if in an icy wilderness of isolation, cold, pain and hardship, it can seem impossible to believe that another 'world' exists, of joy, peace, warmth and fruitfulness. With faith in God's love, trust in His power, and prayer, we can allow God to change our inner landscape from cold to warm, and change even the pattern of our ordinary days.
Jesus Christ is swift to console His friends in their heartache, pain or exhaustion. If we call out to Him in faith and humility, asking for the privilege of a spiritual Communion, He is very close to us, bringing peace that only He can give, and guiding us in our actions by the inspiration of His Holy Spirit.
In giving us hundreds of beautiful, joyful, spiritual images, Christ wants us to know that He leads us by love, not by threats of punishment; yet for a full catechesis (as shown in the recent few dozen paintings of the Radiant Light series) there must also be serious mention of death, Hell and Satan, to show the Eternal consequences of unrepented grave sin and the loss of God, in ways people can understand.
Christ told me, about my Radiant Light paintings, that they are powerfully effective in helping people to assess their souls and lives. Just as a man who sees a drama on stage might see his own life mirrored, and want to make changes, so a person seeing his life or attitudes mirrored in many of my paintings can be led towards contrition, or to greater praise.
Whether people are atheists or God-fearers, they suffer. There is so much suffering in earthly life that we are tempted to complain; but if we were to load all our pains and problems onto a large lorry, to send them away, we would soon have another collection. What counts is to live a good life here on earth, even with suffering. We can please Christ when we resemble Him in patience and obedience, in union with Him, and interceding for others. We give glory to God, grow in virtue, and prepare for Heaven.
For every little or large suffering we willingly bear in patience - even an experience of pain at the dental surgery - we can help to save souls, by that offering of penance in union with Christ. We can help someone in mortal sin who suddenly realises what a dangerous state he is in, or perhaps a dying person, who suddenly receives the grace to turn to God, in trust and hope.
Christ's own people found it difficult to recognise, in a Person suffering pain and humiliation, the King or warrior they awaited as a Saviour. But in His Resurrection Christ performed a marvel greater than any achieved in a throne-room or a battlefield. Truly, He and God the Father are One, as Christ said.
How people laugh at us, if they find out how much we struggle for perfection, and the heights of sanctity. To please God is seen as foolish, but to take tremendous pains over a climb to the summit of Everest is seen as admirable. Most Catholics would be wiser if they reflected on their priorities. Do we choose to spend our time and energy in ways that will make us ready for Heaven?
Amazing results can spring from generous acts and prayers, in union with Christ our Saviour. Through every act of freely-borne penance, or patience in pain, it's as if we can reach out, in Christ, to draw people back from the edge of the Abyss: people who are trapped in unrepented sin, or who have terrible problems and weak faith. None of our sufferings need be wasted.
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!
It is shocking that people are indifferent to the pain felt by each baby who is torn apart by abortion, in an age when people are rightly concerned to minimise the pain felt by a lobster as it is killed before being cooked. Pro-abortionists know that to become concerned about pain in abortion is to prove beyond doubt that a human being is being slaughtered, not a mere mass of cells; and they do not want to be reminded.
When we feel nearly overcome by the troubles of the world, or temptations from Satan, we can turn to Our Lady, Who loves to help us by her prayers. It's as if she raises her hand to God, who sends down grace that causes a pathway to appear amidst the tangle of coils in which we feel trapped. With such help we can be freed from anxiety and helped to endure our pains.
Only by the grace of God can we persevere in grace. We should give thanks to God, and take no pride in our success, whenever we manage to endure a distressing or painful episode, or a time of persecution, without becoming resentful, envious, or full of self-pity or gloom. It is as though we have forded a dangerous river, with our soul held high above our head.
By the intercessary prayers we offer 'in Christ', with faith, we can help to draw up souls closer to holiness and Heaven - even those who do not yet know or love Christ. This is true, so long as the person prayed for does not deliberately refuse the graces God sends her - as if cutting herself 'free' from God; and one who accepts grace finds its brilliance painful, perhaps, as it illuminates dark areas of his conscience and his daily life. It's as if he must shield his eyes.
Christ understands what many of the elderly suffer. On the Cross, He suffered not just pain, but also the helplessness, weakness and loss of control that many patients experience who are neglected in hospitals, and who should turn to Him for consolation when they are grieving about the apparently disastrous end to their lives.
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...
What is Mary Like? by Elizabeth Wang
This text is the complete version of the pamphlet WHAT IS MARY LIKE? “Now having met together; they asked him, ‘Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘...
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: 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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