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As the Son of God looked down from Heaven towards the filth and darkness which He would enter, far below, when He came into our sinful world, He saw the Blessed Virgin Mary, who had been prepared, at her consent, as a safe place for Him who is all purity and goodness. She was like an 'ark', to hold and protect Him for a while.
Mary, the Immaculate Virgin Mother of Christ, has a purity which is extraordinary; and we, who are not so pure, need to do penance for our sins, as well as to pray for help and forgiveness.
The sacred Domaine in Lourdes can serve as an image of the soul of each individual. It should be kept holy. Nothing unholy should be allowed to disturb or sully its peace, purity and beauty.
Just as Christ is no longer a poor carpenter, but our Radiant Saviour, and King of Heaven, so His ever-Virgin Mother, Mary most holy, is no longer a lowly peasant woman but is the Queen of Heaven. There, everyone praises the Father not only for Christ's love and compassion, but also for the amazing purity-of-soul of Christ's Virgin Mother, and for her humility and courage.
We can no more know what it is 'like' at the heart of the Godhead than we can know what it is 'like' at the centre of an exploding star in the heavens. But we do know some things which are certain, because God has revealed them, through His Son. First, He is Love: like a fire of love. Secondly, we need to be pure if we hope to enter God and be joyful rather than tormented.
Those who died in a state of grace, but not pure enough for Heaven, must remain sheltered from glory, for a while, whereas a person who is full of love for Christ, and has confessed her sins, received Holy Communion, and also gained a plenary indulgence, finds that after death she flies straight into the arms of Jesus, in Heaven. She is greeted, too, by all the Saints - including Christ's Mother Mary - and all the angels.
We need to be 'washed' before we work for others. Christ's main message for His disciples to share, and for us to follow, is about repentance. Unless we are reconciled to God, we cannot do good work for God in the world. It is foolish to try to 'save the planet' if we have not taken steps to accept salvation from God. A cookery teacher who never washes her hands before class will probably poison as many pupils as she feeds.
All that is good comes from the love of Christ for us: with the Father and the Holy Spirit. All good things of nature and of grace come from the Lord and give Him glory - and all beauty, worthwhile accomplishments, like music, art, drama, dance, sport, engineering, architecture, literature - if they are worthy of God Who is goodness, purity and truth.
The sanctuary of a Catholic church is a holy place, just as was the holy of holies in the Temple at Jerusalem. A man who enters the sanctuary as a priest to offer Christ in sacrifice, in the Mass, should be pure and holy in body, mind and soul. If he is not, he should repent, and confess his sins when he can.
It is true that, in earthly life, some people have had glimpses of the beauty and purity of the holy angels; but in Heaven, the Saints will see the Angels in all their glory, as they race through Heaven at tremendous speed, to do the Father's Will.
People in Government, in any country, who promote legislation which encourages abortion or sexual immorality, or other serious evils, will find themselves moving along the 'broad road' to Hell, unless they repent before they die. In Hell, there is no love, peace, purity or joy but only fire, terror, noise, anger and pain.
In the play called 'Pygmalion', a rich man gave lessons to a poor working girl, and transformed her speech and outlook, and clothing. Christ works an even more marvellous transformation, by His grace acting within a willing soul. He transforms the whole person, leading each to Him, to find security, joy, peace-of-soul and fulfilment in sharing His life, and also to grow in wisdom, purity, courage, hope and charity.
All who love and serve Christ and their neighbour with sincere hearts, and who persevere in love and purity and gratitude until they die, can be sure of being drawn across the great Abyss, after death, as if on an express train which is supported by the upstretched arms of Christ, Who Himself is the bridge to Heaven.
The life we lead on earth must inevitably lead to either Heaven and Hell (even if to Heaven via Purgatory). Those who love Christ, and persevere in charity and purity in earthly life, will enjoy Eternal life in even greater charity and peace, with Christ. People who seethe with hatred, ambition or resentment, in this life, and persist in their selfish ambitions, will find themselves in Hell with others who are self-centered and lack love for Christ.
Many people who sincerely love Christ and do His Will become the targets of the evil one. If he cannot tempt them to sin, he mocks them for their kindness, or their purity, and makes them endure salacious spiritual assaults of various types; yet all the time, Christ is close to such souls, supporting them in their trials. It's as if each of these faithful persons stands amidst piles of stinking rubbish, but is being held in the arms of Christ.
No sinful human being was worthy, or ever could be worthy to enter the glory and purity of Heaven. So God the Son became man: holy and sinless. After His work on earth He made a Way to Heaven. He was worthy to enter; and He can draw into Heaven, after Him, each person who has been made worthy by the grace of Christ, and through having persevered in grace to the very end.
This is the ideal, for a priest: to be totally conformed to Christ - and for lay-persons too, who want to do the Will of God. Whoever conforms his will to the Will of Christ, and believes and practices the teachings of the Church, for love of Christ, and has a pure heart, avoids all sin, and shares the Faith where he can, and loves his neighbour, is a channel for God's powerful graces to others, even if he or she has weaknesses and imperfections from character defects, or poor upbringing.
God wants us to lead lives which are as pure as fresh snow, with each of our thoughts, words and deeds holy. We should have pure intentions, treating everyone with kindness, speaking the truth always, and leading chaste lives worthy of Christians. None of this can be achieved by our own power, but with God's grace we can change, and prepare for our life in Heaven. Christ asks us: will we be ready for Heaven, when we die?
Some Catholics seem to lead pure, orderly, admirable lives - like a garden freshly-covered in a blanket of snow - but beneath the surface there is a great depth of filth, gloom and decay. The remedy for sin is Confession, and a renewal of God's grace within the soul.
Each of us should pause to ask: "Am I worthy to enter Heaven?" Heaven is a place of peace, purity, thankfulness and joy; we need to repent, and to ask God's grace in order to change, if we are still disfigured by turmoil, immorality, ingratitude or discontent. How can we praise God with the Saints unless we are like them?
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