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Every Bishop will one day give an account to Christ, of what he has done to save the souls of those in his care when on earth, looking after Christ's flock. A wise Bishop reflects, today, on what he will one day say in Christ's presence.
Some priests want to follow their vocation on their own terms. There are warning signs to be seen, when a priest is in danger of preaching his own version of the Faith, and not the Faith in its fullness as handed on since the time of Christ. These signs are a lack of respect for the Pope, contempt for the Catechism, combined with an unhealthy acceptance of serious sin in the lives of his flock.
Christ brought to my mind the image of St. Peter, in my local church, saying: St. Peter did not let the memory of his own failures stop him from preaching repentance to other people. Christ asked me not to let the memory of my own sins hold me back from prayer and brave words by which I can help others to repent of their bad behaviour and find peace in and with Christ.
A good priest feels privileged to be ordained, is awestruck by Christ's love, believes all that the Church teaches, never grumbles about his work, is keen to hand on the truth, is fearless in preaching, tells the whole truth about faith and morals, and requests reverent behaviour in church, where Christ is Really Present in the Blessed Sacrament.
It is a work of mercy to pray and preach so that people who are cruel and thoughtless towards others will repent before they die. Those who have no respect for fellow human beings, or no respect for the poor and the weak, are as if an inch away from Hell, should death suddenly arrive before they can repent and avoid eternal punishment.
Christ told me how little the Cross is mentioned by preachers and teachers today: the Cross on which He suffered because of the grievous sins no longer mentioned. He is grieving, too, because people say that devotion to His Mother is old fashioned, and because Catholic school children are often taught more about self-esteem than humility.
Many priests fail to mention the Cross. Jesus died on it, because of our sins. Few warnings are given from the pulpit, by many priests, about the serious sin by which people condemn themselves to Hell if they do not repent before they die. Many are lost because they have failed to repent of their adulteries, suicides, abortions, and lack of faith in God.
Christ bore horrible insults in His Passion, as He was mocked by the soldiers for His preaching, His claim to be the Son of God, His Galilean background, and also His purity and innocence.
Many Bishops are unwilling to speak about sin and repentance, thinking it uncharitable to tell people they ought to change if they wish to please God. The Apostles, however, thought it highly charitable to warn others about where sinful behaviour would lead them. They spoke of Hell as well as Heaven.
A priest who fails to teach about sin, and separation from God, is as irresponsible as a parent who allows a toddler to play by a busy road, or to open tin cans alone, or to replace the blade in his father's razor.
Many clergy preach, but very few preach about the serious personal sins that can lead people to hell; and few help them to repent and seek Christ's help to overcome their sins.
Many of the Clergy are content to encourage their flocks in doing good; yet they neglect those people by failing to warn them of the grievous consequences of deliberate rejection of God, the Church or the Commandments. Falsely supposing that a man will be saved, no matter what sort of life he has led, they never mention Eternal suffering in Hell
Think about the uproar when careless school teachers allow the children to do as the please on school trips, only to find them lying dead near a river-bank. What will all of Heaven think when careless priests and Bishops, who have let people do as they please, see them falling down into the depths of Hell?
A disobedient man will one day learn the truth. Thousands of souls who persist in mortal sin fall into Hell, at death; yet even people guilty of lesser sins must suffer after death, if they are not fully purified and ready for Heaven. For example: Bishops, priests and theologians who have failed to teach the Faith in its fullness or who have led others astray by their support of heretical ideas.
When we hear from the pulpit distorted versions of the Faith, when a member of the Clergy explains away the supernatural and casts doubt on such events as the Transfiguration of Christ, or His bodily Resurrection and Ascension, or His Mother Mary's Assumption into Heaven, we must nevertheless hold fast to the faith we know to be true.
Christ asks His priests to avoid modernist influences. A member of the Clergy who offers a distorted version of the Faith in his preaching or his writings, or who explains away the supernatural, or who contradicts the Church's moral teachings, causes confusion to the Faithful. He harms them as much as a parent harms his children if he feeds them contaminated bread.
Some preachers live alongside their flock, keeping silent. We can picture a man who finds a field of corn, growing naturally, but refuses to let it be cut to feed the hungry because it looks beautiful. That is what happens when Missionaries refuse to endanger 'natural' religions by refusing to offer the Gospel. They deny the people, amongst whom they live, the bread of truth, and the Bread of Life, which is Jesus Christ, with His Church, Sacraments, and Eternal Life.
The living God is a 'Holy Fire', blazing with love in our sanctuary, it seems, as we gather to offer Him honour and praise in His house of prayer, through the Holy Mysteries. Christ is Present; with His Angels and Saints, enfolded in the glory of the Father: glory into which we hope to plunge at death, having been purified in the Sacred Liturgy. Our reverent attention should be drawn towards God, for Whose glory this Church was built.
The Lord wants us to remember that our Catholic churches have been built for the glory of God and not the glorification or parishioners or Clergy. That is why it is not appropriate to have self-assertive, frivolous or irreverent behaviour taking place within.
The Lord explained about a further image of Hell, where people are trapped as a result of their own free choices, if they have not repented before they die. He said that very few people preach today about Hell; but if more will speak of it, a greater number of sinners can be helped to repent, and be saved.
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