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Christians should ask for the grace to be charitable; but this does not mean that we must fail to speak necessary truths in order to spare people's feelings. Charity without truth is merely flattery, or leads us to placate those who need help in order to change. We should be as simple and straightforward as Christ, in our speech: kind and gentle, but unafraid to offer unpopular truths.
A queue of women approaches doctors today, many not to request health-care but to request the destruction of their tiny babies before birth. Some women with living babies embrace maternity, as God intends; the others destroy their infants, by allowing others to do so, so that nothing interferes with their hopes for their own life, e.g. of pursuing careers, or fame, or even sport - though some are remorseful.
The two forms of the Rite of Mass which have been given to us in the Western Church have both been given by Christ our God, Who wishes none of us to be partisan, despising what others prefer. Yet Christ, like many of His flock, sees the regrettable mistranslations in the older translation of the Novus Ordo; and the style of language in it that represents a different attitude towards the Godhead and the life of grace: not as reverent as the Extraordinary form suggests.
If any of us is walking steadily towards Heaven, longing to please God, but aware that we have seriously hurt someone, through selfishness, and have not yet put things right, we will find peace of mind when we humble ourselves, and try to show that we are contrite. By our reparation and contrition, we prepare, by God's grace, for Heaven.
Christ points to Padre Pio - now Saint Pio - and invites us to follow his advice. Christ knows that we are often full of anxiety. With the grace of Christ, we can manage to do, for one day at a time, what Saint Pio recommended, over and over again: "Pray, hope, and don't worry".
Wise people reflect, and actively prepare for Heaven. As we occupy ourselves with ordinary concerns, it's as if we are on a walkway which moves slowly towards the moment of our death. Then, the quality of our relationship with God will be revealed - or even the lack of one. Some people will see God and leap into His embrace. Others gladly surrender to purification, ashamed at not being ready for Heaven. Others continue to do what they did on earth, ignoring or despising God, and freely walking away on the steep road to Hell.
People who have really loved God have offered thanks and praise, even amidst difficulties. These, if they persevere, race towards Him when they die, impelled by love to enter His embrace. But those who have kept His laws, but have grumbled a lot, because of their worldly desires or preoccupations, must, after death, do penance for their luke-warmness before they can enter Heaven.
If we were able to look over a huge hedge that surrounds Heaven, we would see gleaming squares and bright fountains where people can stroll in perfect companionship, if they are not busy praising God. Heaven is beautiful, and goes on forever; but everyone who enters must have a beautiful, holy soul. Wise people try, by God's grace, to get ready in good time.
The love of God is like a great flame that encloses all who trust in Christ. By our Baptism, we are made members of the Church and children of God. We already share in the life of God, and can be confident that our prayers are heard, and confident that, if we do not leave that state of grace, we will be carried across the Abyss when we die, to be brought towards Heaven: carried in the love of God, with no fear of being lost.
A selfish person, always determined to have his own way, whatever the cost to people in particular, or to society, is like a raging bull, ready to charge. He knows nothing of patience or charity. If he calms down now and then, it takes only a pinprick to make him bellow again. Only by Divine grace, and conversion, can that sort of nature be changed and made Christ-like.
Christ's attitude is one of eternal surrender to the Father's Will; yet Father, Son and Holy Spirit have one single, loving purpose: by the lifting-up of Christ, in His Death and Resurrection, to make a Way in which weak people can follow: people who have also surrendered to God's plans and have become Christlike, loving, obedient and dutiful, relying on Divine Grace.
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.
Good priests live as if in a radiant light, the light of grace, because of their love for Christ, which is shown out in love for the flocks they teach and cherish. Bad priests are like those areas in space called black holes, which emit no light, but draw in what is good, and destroy it.
We must pray with fervour, that everyone will see the truth: that from Christ, (and from His chosen Apostles) has come a river of redeemed humanity: each person forgiven and transformed by grace - except for those who now resemble dead fish floating in that river because they deserted Christ, whether through deliberate mortal sin or ceasing to believe in Him.
Terrible loss is risked by Catholics too proud to confess mortal sins. If it seems strange that forgiveness from Christ through His Church, in Confession, is like a 'door' to a state of grace, and the promise of Eternal Life if we remain faithful, we need only consider the fortunate few who enter a small gate in the great fence surrounding a great Palace. They have access to great riches, beautiful galleries and artefacts, and a close relationship with the Royal family, having consented to do as they were asked.
Just as desperate drifters all over the world might travel the highways of rich countries but have little hope, so, people who are spiritually lost might be in danger of despair. Yet to turn to God is to change things, by His grace. With encouragement from sincere God-loving people, those in turmoil can see a prospect of change.
Saint Paul spoke wisely about bearing our sufferings. We are right to offer up our sufferings in union with Christ, and, with Him, to intercede for people trapped in mortal sin and in danger of being lost for ever. Someone in mortal sin is as if trapped on a small ledge, above the great Abyss; and by our prayers and the grace of Christ he or she can be rescued and made safe.
We are indeed blessed if we are able to reveal our souls and lives to Christ, now, in prayer, to receive guidance, consolation and forgiveness. If we die, without having lost our state of grace, but without having really surrendered to Christ, we shall have to reveal our hearts and lives to Him in Purgatory, with nothing to distract us from our shame and remorse. Far better to trust in Him now, and strive for sanctity.
Marriage can bring tremendous joys, but there are dangers to avoid: sins to be avoided in order to lead holy married lives, to create a holy family, and to help one another, by God's grace, to be worthy of Heaven. The downward path which leads to darkness represents the way taken when people disobey God by contraceptive use, or deviant sex, or adultery, or other forms of grave betrayal or uncharity.
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.
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