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If the evil one sees a fervent soul, he will go to great lengths to seduce, disturb, frighten or mislead her. If he cannot tempt her to sin, he will try to mislead her with false visions of Christ or the Saints, or to terrify her by horrible imagery or apparitions; or, if Christ has spoken in prayer to that soul, the evil one adds a few words, as if from Christ, to confuse her.
Those who are constantly within the Church but fighting in the Church, protesting against her doctrines and disciplines, will not make much spiritual progress. Discontented, acting against Christ Who has given us the Pope to guide us, and the other Catholic Bishops, the dissenters should do what Saint Peter did before Christ. He surrendered to Christ and to His Will, just as the Saints have, through the ages, in love and obedience. Surrender is the 'key' to joy in Christ.
In Mediaeval times, people were taught the truth about the Mass, the central act of our religion, and the greatest means of praising God - through His Son, and His Son's Holy Sacrifice, re-presented in the presence of the Saints, the Holy Souls and the Angels. What is important are prayer, adoration, and the knowledge that we join in the worship of Heaven. (It is because most children are taught only that the Mass is a community meal, that there are so many images given, through Radiant Light, of every aspect of the Holy Sacrifice. The Lord wants every effort made to teach the truth about these Holy Mysteries.)
It is as if the Holy Souls are undergoing purification by reflecting, just below Heaven, within sight of the Abyss that leads to Hell, how good God is, who has rescued them from sin and disaster. They are helped by our prayers - and by the prayers of the Saints, which are like lifelines: long ropes let down from Heaven, so that the Holy Souls can be pulled up to glory.
Some people say: "How cruel of God, to allow anyone to suffer in Hell". Rather, we should say, "How amazing it is, that, after repentance, weak, sinful people should be allowed to serve God, and then fly into the glory of Heaven, to live with Him in bliss, forever, with all the Saints!" Sad to say, some people who say they want to go to Heaven are not willing to believe in Christ, or do the Will of Christ, Who has opened Heaven for repentant sinners.
We cannot be certain who has gone to Heaven; however, we must never be sad that holy people we have known who seem to be forgetful in old age, or who seem to be forgotten after death, are indeed forgotten. Each one is as if carved on the Mind of God, and honoured for a holy life, as well as being honoured in Heaven, with the other Saints, canonised and uncanonised.
The Saints pray fervently for our well-being and salvation. Their prayers draw down upon the earth a great torrent of Divine graces, as they look with pity and love upon us, in our struggles to be holy. They persevered in the Faith, in love for Christ, until the end. Earthly life seems very brief, to them, who now enjoy God's love in Eternity.
Everyone will one day give an account of his life to God. Whether he is a President of a great nation or a slave from a poor cabin, everyone must find out the results of his own behaviour - and discover whether or not he is a real friend of God, and worthy to accept the free gift of union with God and the Saints in Heaven.
Each Saint in Heaven is like a flame of pure praise in a great fire of praise of the Father. We hope to join them, and to be reunited with friends and relations, who have loved God. The truth about Heaven is that whoever does not love God, and does not want to praise Him, does not enter - by the free choice he has made to exclude himself.
The Saints in Heaven are overjoyed that we love and serve God, and that we believe what the Church teaches about the Communion of Saints, and ask them to intercede for us. The Saints, who all love Christ and His Mother, are also full of joy on seeing us, too, honour the Blessed Virgin Mary, who gave us our Saviour, and who has appeared at Lourdes, to Saint Bernadette, asking us to pray and do penance.
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?
During the Mass, the whole Church is united in praising God the Father, through, with and in Christ, in the Holy Spirit. All the Saints of Heaven are adoring the one true God Who has brought them to His heart, for all Eternity. We too can hope to enter Heaven if we receive the Sacrament of salvation, and remain faithful.
When a Catholic church is designed not to be the threshold of Heaven, for a holy people, who adore Christ Really Present in His Divine Glory, but as an architectural gem, of beautiful proportions but with no sign or symbol of Christian faith, it is unworthy of the name "House of God". The Faithful deserve to see reminders of the crucified Saviour and of His ever-virgin mother, and of the Angels, the glory of Heaven, and the Communion of Saints.
Through Christ and His Church, we can avoid confusion, and avoid Hell. God longs for Catholic priests and Bishops to teach the simple truth, in ecumenical relationships as well as Church events: that God became man, founded one Church, which is still here, teaching the truth, forgiving sins, making people holy, and preparing them to lead holy lives and then to enter Heaven, to be with God, the Saints and the Angels forever.
Though we cannot see them, the other members of the Church, of Heaven and Purgatory, are united with us in praise of the Father, through Jesus Christ, at every Mass. We can take comfort from the truth, that we are already doing, on earth, in our prayer, what we hope to do in Eternity, when we are perfectly joyful in God's Presence.
Heroic people in England and Wales have defended the truths of the Catholic Faith, throughout fifteen hundred years - St. Thomas More and St. Margaret Clitheroe amongst them. In our day, brave witness is necessary if people are to realise that it is wrong to kill unborn babies, and that marriage requires a man and a woman to keep their vows, and live together in charity, open to life, in an exclusive relationship which is life-long.
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".
We sometimes seem to arrive at a fork in the road, as we wonder what God is really asking of us, in life. One way of deciding is to act as the Saints have acted; we don't copy their vocations, but imitate their virtues. If one way ahead requires vanity, self-assertion, neglect of basic duties, and exaggeration of our gifts, it cannot be the way God points out to His friends.
God is at work, in His merciful love, in Purgatory. People who die, but who have not taken sufficient care in earthly life to conquer their faults, to be active in charity and reverent in prayer, need to be totally transformed before they can enter Heaven, to be as holy as the Saints. They are appalled at how luke-warm they have been, but grateful to God for His love, as He moves each one little by little towards the light, and prepares them for Eternal Life.
It can sometimes seem as if the small number of Parliamentarians who want to do God's Will in opposing laws which permit abortion, and the killing of the sick or the elderly, cannot possibly succeed. Yet Christians do not work for good all alone. Just as an army of Angels accompanied the brave men who once crossed the Channel to defeat an evil regime, so armies of angels and Saints are ready to help any 'child of God' who calls for their aid and has confidence in their communion with him, 'in Christ'.
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