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There is nothing in one's life which cannot be seen more clearly, with marvellous results, when examined 'at the foot of the cross'.
A screaming child, incoherent with anger, needs to be left to realise his need of help, and to admit his foolishness. Our wise God gives rebellious adults opportunities for reflection. He does not force us to do His Will. He even allows us, if we insist, to separate ourselves from Him eternally.
Someone who does great work for God can be held 'upright' in humility by two guy ropes: the knowledge of his sinfulness and of God's holiness.
After reflecting on my day I can 'strain' out faults and failings, by contrition, as I once 'sieved out' stones from a flowerbed.
Imagine how embarrassed a bride would be, whose dress had been stained by a spilled drink, and who then thought about her walk towards the altar. Similarly, everyone who approaches the altar to receive Holy Communion needs to think about their present state. Is there a large 'stain' on their soul, from serious sin, which makes them unfit to approach to receive Christ their Saviour?
Illness gives us an opportunity to ask ourselves, as we think about the end of life: "Shall I meet God with a peaceful or a guilty heart?"
War can endanger or corrupt the fighters. It can even endanger the souls of the injured innocent by making them bitter or full of hate. What sort of preparation for Heaven is armed struggle and all the evils that cause war to flourish?
Each of us can ask: "If Christ were standing, visible, before me, what would I be most ashamed of?" What, in our souls and lives, do we need to put right?
Few people are brave enough to speak about the 'Four Last Things' - Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell. Reflecting on them will help us change our behaviour while there is still time.
The Lord showed me that Heaven is like a circular area full of Divine glory, occupied by the Three Divine Persons and the Angels and Saints. Christ and His holy Mother want to greet new arrivals, which is why each of us needs to ask himself: "Am I ready to enter?"
Each of us can picture himself as standing at the 'edge' of Heaven, near the steps that lead up to Christ and Our Blessed Lady, who are surrounded by the Saints. Each of us can ask: Am I ready to enter? Do I now lead a life of purity, love and peace?
If we want to help ourselves to think about our readiness for Heaven, we can do as Christ asks, and picture ourselves as standing at the foot of the steps which lead to the Father's throne in Heaven - as if we stand with our head through a fake landscape, at the seaside. Then we can ask ourselves, of Heaven: "Am I ready to enter?"
The Father reminded me of the importance of the prayer-card which I am completing: "Ready for Heaven?" God loves us all; but there is a desperate need for sinners to repent and change. Some Catholics are far from ready for Heaven. Many are not even fit for Purgatory.
A person who is always anxious about his state of soul and about the likelihood of going to Heaven is like a man on holiday who charges around the aircraft, enquiring anxiously about the weather, and the time of arrival. It is best to rely on the navigator and pilot.
Christ can see into our hearts. He 'sees' our sins and weaknesses, the forces that mould us, our deepest yearnings, and our daily decisions. If we believe in Heaven and Hell, we will pray, and make wise choices.
Each of us is on our way towards Heaven or Hell. By our own free decision, we are moving closer to God or away from Him. We need to look at everything in our lives, and ask ourselves: "Does this help me to achieve sanctity, or hinder me?"
Christ asks us to conduct a fundamental reappraisal of our current attitudes and actions to do with reverence towards Him. It is time that we acted as if we recognise Christ as our Lord and God, each time we enter a church or receive Him in Holy Communion or welcome Him into our homes in the Sacrament of the Sick.
Christ gives every sinner opportunities for reflection, repentance and change. Yet people who continue to ignore His invitation are heading for spiritual disaster as surely as people travelling on a fast steam-train as it suddenly approaches a fallen tree on the track.
An astronaut who looks back towards the earth he has left can see things in their correct perspective, seeing what was important for the flight and what caused needless worry. We ought to examine our lives, to see what is essential, as we prepare for eternal life, and what is distracting or even dangerous.
We need to examine our lives, to see if Christ is really 'enthroned' in our hearts and homes, or whether the 'god' we serve is our own desires and ambitions.
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