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People are not wrong to enjoy the innocent pleasures of this life: including sailing. But wise people, whatever their pastimes might be, know that they must prepare for a lengthier journey than any they make here. We must all move from earth to Judgement, when our lives draw to a close, and must account for our behaviour. How important, to repent and turn to God, rather than be fixed in rebellion, eternally.
People know that kindness is important, but many forget that chastity is essential, in a life of true friendship with Christ, and preparation for Heaven. Those who mock people leading chaste lives and avoiding immoral entertainments also mock past ages in the Church for the care taken on this matter; but it is better to be disciplined and resemble a cared-for garden than ignore the Commandments and have a soul that resembles a jungle.
Christ invites us to reflect upon the wearing of a chapel-veil or headscarf by women in past times, or in other parts of the world today. He wants us to know that it is a valuable, visible sign of reverence and humility, in accordance with Scriptural precept and long-standing custom: a sign which He asks us to persevere in.
The history of the Catholic Church is one of struggle, then joy. Christ asks us all to be hopeful, no matter how dire the problems we see in the Church in our era. Some people in past ages have gone to their deaths, not knowing how a terrible crisis would be overcome, for example, at the Reformation, in England, and more recently in the chaos following the Second Vatican Council. But there will soon be great improvements in the Sacred Liturgy, and then in Catechesis.
Faithful Catholics must continue to be brave and vigilant. Life in the Church has been endangered for two generations, undermined by dissent and watered-down preaching, and false notions of pastoral care; and Catholics who have pointed out the danger - like people revealing a dangerous degree of subsidence next to a Cathedral - have been ostracised, and labelled as 'prophets of doom'.
An altar is not a mere table. A priest is not just a leader. A priest who lives in dark times - whether interior darkness or external difficulties - should keep in mind the Heavenly realities. The priest who, on earth, has faithfully lived and offered Sacrifice as 'another Christ' will be served by Christ at the Banquet in Heaven; and his past earthly hardships will seem insignificant.
There is no need for concern about the Pope's decision to assist Anglicans who want to become Catholic whilst retaining some of their 'heritage'. He knows that Anglicans do not have valid orders, and that special measures are necessary rather than leave many Christians without all the Sacraments. The Holy Spirit, pictured in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome as a dove, in a Scriptural image, is guiding the Church today, just as in past ages, through all the Popes of the ages - and despite the personal sins of individual Popes.
It is tragic that when the Real Presence has been banished from a Christian group, the joy of members must often depend on whether or not a person sees a particular pastor as a congenial and helpful leader, and not on a joyful dependence on Jesus Christ, sacramentally Present on the altar and in the tabernacle.
Bishops are appointed to teach, and to lead the Church in prayer. When the Pope's advisors are discussing which men might be appointed as Bishops, it is not enough for anyone to say that a certain man is very 'pastoral', if he is not also doctrinally-sound in his beliefs, and fervent in ensuring the reverent conduct of the Sacred Liturgy.
It is good that the Pope is advised by a group of colleagues as he chooses men to be Bishops. It is not enough for men to be known as good 'pastoral' men, if they are unsound on doctrine or lack concern for the reverent conduct of the Sacred Liturgy.
Everything that happens on earth has been planned, permitted or chosen by God. Yet God's gift to everyone in His plan of salvation, and to everyone on earth, is freedom. Whoever serves Him does so having freely chosen to do so. God coerces no-one, not even the Mother of His own Son, Jesus Christ. If we look past the figures of Christ and Our Lady, to whom we pray so often, and approach the Invisible Father, we can remember: a wise person is one who chooses Life.
It is important for us to be kind to the elderly as well as the sick. It is inevitable that when elderly people have serious mental problems, solely due to old age, their spiritual state can seem to be changed. They might be moody or impulsive, when they were not so in the past. A person can seem to resemble an old barn which still stands, but is evidently deteriorating. We must beware of falling beams - sudden rages - though persevering in kindness.
The fact that the Catholic Church is persecuted is a sign that she shares in the sufferings of her Master, as the True Church that has been criticised in every age. If the people of the world were to march past us, criticising Catholics, even the very last of the persons would have something bad to say about the Church; but the Church consists of the Saints and the Holy Souls too. We must not lose heart, but trust in the promises of our Saviour, and in His graces.
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.
We are not wrong to say things have gone wrong, in Church life. Sensible people draw sensible conclusions from evidence - for example, if we saw blood flowing past us, in a gutter, we would conclude that a body must be nearby, perhaps mortally wounded. So when there are clear signs of a disaster in the Church, with priests and religious having left, in thousands, and with children often uncatechised and irreverent, it is plain that the so-called 'Renewal' of the Church after the Second Vatican Council was in many ways a time of chaos, dissent and exaggeration of the reforms proposed, with disastrous results.
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: Preparation, by Elizabeth Wang
This text is published as Chapter 1 of How to Pray (Part One: Foundations), entitled 'How to Prepare'. An introduction to the life of prayer with much practical advice about how to deepen your prayer...
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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