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The Father is like a great king, in Heaven; and whenever we pray to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ at our side, delivering our requests, it is as though the Father is so full of love for His Son that - as He declares to the Saints, Who surround the Father in Heaven - I can refuse nothing to my Son Jesus, nor can I refuse anything He asks for His friends.
The Church is like a house, where the faithful are happy. Only if people leave the 'cellars' of sinful behaviour are they free to follow Christ to Heaven when He calls them, at the end of earthly life. His is the only Way. To refuse His invitation is to be lost forever, unable to ascend to where the Saints live, in Eternal Bliss.
The Church teaches the truth, in every age of our history, yet each of the mystics experiences it - for example, St Paul, St Teresa of Avila, St Thomas Aquinas. It is the Christian mystic who prays with trust, reverence and humility, who knows God better than anyone, through union with Christ in prayer. The mystics have produced the most lyrical and intellectually-coherent accounts of what they have learned of God - which knowledge echoes and confirms the truths taught by the Church, and illumines them.
As well as being fervent teachers, the Church's greatest sinners, when forgiven, have been the most lyrical in their expressions of gratitude to God for helping the weak and hopeless: for example, St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Ignatius Loyola, and St. Francis of Assisi.
God is loving, pure and wise; therefore God chooses, for intimate friendship, a person who loves Him and is reverent, prayerful, humble and obedient. That obedience includes loving his neighbour, and the Church. God cannot bring into close union with Himself those who hate fellow creatures, or believe Jesus was a liar, or hide away in sin, or despise the Church, or are self-important, or pray with little reverence, or despise popular devotions that lead people closer to Heaven, including honour to the Blessed Sacrament, and to the Virgin Mary and other Saints.
Priestly celibacy enables a man to move towards Heaven on an uncluttered highway, without distractions. He can be single-minded in Christ's service until his old age, when he can enter Heaven, and be rewarded for all Eternity for his self-giving, and enjoy the bliss of God's love, with all the Saints.
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.
Millions of babies have been killed in the womb, and have been denied not only life on earth but also Baptism. They do not become saints in glory, but they are in God's care - as if tiny clouds which float peacefully in front of heaven.
It is not the duty of the priest, at a Requiem Mass, to announce that the deceased person is certainly in Heaven. His duty is to lead the Church in prayer, and to offer the Holy Sacrifice for the remission of the sins of the living and the departed. Only God knows who has been saved - though we should live in hope - and who has gone straight to Heaven: God and His Church, who canonises the Saints.
They do not see our sins; yet the saints in Heaven are in Communion with us. They see our joys, and comfort us by their prayers when we are in pain or dispirited. There is no death, for those who live in Christ: only 'life in Christ'
God invites us to love Him, to follow the hard road of obedience until we die, and share His love, with the Saints, eternally. People who refuse to love God and who deliberately take the broad road, refusing to repent of their sins, find that at death, by their own choice, they remain on the same path, on which there is no light from Heaven, nor any Heavenly peace, joy, beauty or companionship. To be without God is to exist in Hell.
Just as a tornado, with tremendous power, causes lives to be changed as it whirls across the earth, the prayers of the Saints, with tremendous power, funnel down to earth the graces of God, to a particular place, to bring about change in the lives of those who pray, and those who are prayed for.
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.
It is important to pray for those enslaved by sin. Our traditional teaching is true: that by the prayers of the Saints and holy Angels - including St. Michael the Archangel - evil can be overcome, by the grace of Christ, souls helped and even earthly problems ameliorated.
When St. Augustine came to England in 597 AD, he came because he had been sent by the Pope. No Christian, in any era, acts wisely, if he ignores the Pope, and the constant teaching of the Pope and the other Catholic Bishops on matters of faith and morals, or ignores their guidance about discipline, the liturgy, and other matters.
Just as my children and husband and other relations are always in my heart and prayers because we are members of one family, so the whole Church - the Communion of Saints, on earth, in Heaven and in Purgatory - should be held in my heart. We are a great family, with special relationships binding us. All people deserve respect and love, but especially those in our 'household of faith'.
Just as some people on earth encircle a special religious site which is precious to them, so the Saints in Heaven encircle Christ, adoring Him and the Father and the Holy Spirit: the Blessed Trinity, by whose grace we receive forgiveness of sins on Earth, and are helped to grow in holiness, ready for Heaven.
Just as an orchestra member steps forward to make music at a concert without any further practice, after years of training, so those souls whose sins have all been forgiven, and who have done penance, or have gained a Plenary indulgence, have no need for 'training' in Purgatory, before they join the great chorus of praise of God in Heaven, with all the Saints.
Long ago, when the evil one dragged down two-thirds of the stars from the sky, he hoped to seize the victory; but Saint Michael defeated the evil one and threw him into the depths.
The whole Church of earth, Heaven and Purgatory is one at Mass. The Saints look on as they see Calvary re-presented in our sanctuary, during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Saints and Angels are awe-struck at the love of Christ for human beings in need of rescue, that brought Him to endure torment and death, to conquer sin and death.
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