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Christ holds up St. John Vianney, inviting all priests and Bishops to peer through the mists of time to meet a Saint whose priestly ministry was simple, fervent, Christ-centered, self-forgetful, pure and holy. St John is the ideal patron Saint for all Clergy. Faith and love are important, today, not trying to be being 'relevant'.
St. John Vianney's burning desire was to share the Faith and to save souls. His first preparation for his priestly task was to pray to the Lord, at the tabernacle, pleading for his flock, and also making a worthy preparation for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which he would offer for his parish as well as the whole Church.
Out of love and concern for children, St. John Vianney founded an orphanage; but he did more than that. He visited, daily, and taught the children the Catechism, so that they would become holy children, holy adults, and then Saints in Heaven.
It is Satan who helps some of the Clergy to water down the Faith, and to act against the Faith in ways that others do. Christ sees it is as hard for an orthodox priest to speak with a luke-warm Bishop today as it was for Franz Jaggerstatter to speak to the army officer, or St. Thomas More to speak to his king.
God is not far away from us; however, a person who trusts in the Son of God, and tries to lead a good life, knows that only a veil separates people on earth from God and the Saints in Heaven. A person who lives for selfish aims, feels as if God is far away - if that person believes in God - and that between God and himself there is an impenetrable wall. This false impression is caused by his sins.
Some good souls cannot go straight to Heaven. It is common to hear people say, with a smile, that they will have to go to Purgatory, that they know they are not saints. Yet it is a tragedy, in their eyes, when they arrive, to be held captive there, as they see at last what lack of love for God, or laziness, kept them from achieving real holiness. What remorse they feel there, when they see that they could have become worthy to leap straight from earthly life into the embrace of their Saviour, Jesus.
When we are praying the Gloria at Mass, or when the priest prays the Eucharistic prayer; it's as if the skies split open, to reveal the great company of Saints who also praise the Father. We are united with the whole Church, through Christ our Head.
Christ does not see many images of Angels or even Saints in many modern churches, though He would be pleased to see them; but He assures us that real Angels really surround Him at the altar, both at the Mass and during Benediction, or by the tabernacle. They are servants of Him, the King.
Though we do not usually see them, the Saints and Angels are very close to us, urging us on, as we follow the path to Heaven in this dark world. They delight in our successes in the spiritual life. Their companionship is not enjoyed by people who take the wrong path which leads down low, as if into a ditch, as they try to hide their sins from God.
The Church recommends to her children many devotions, three special ones having been practiced by Saints through the ages; we honour Jesus in His Sacred Passion; we adore Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament; and we honour His Holy Virgin Mother Mary, at whose consent Jesus was made flesh in our world.
The Blessed Virgin Mary surpasses all the other Saints so much, in holiness, that she is as far 'above' them as a viewing platform is far above a deep valley. Truly, she is worthy of our deep veneration, though not to be adored as we adore her Divine Son.
Christ looks on with joy, with His Saints, His heart grateful that some of His flock revere the Traditional Mass - now called the Extraordinary form of the Rite - and that some priests offer it, and some of the laity assist because of their love for Christ, first of all;but also because of their desire to support and encourage priests who revere ancient ways.
At every Mass, we can remember our spiritual Communion, through Christ, with those Catholics who languish in jails, in countries in which the faithful are despised and persecuted. What a marvel is our union with others, in the 'Communion of Saints', stemming from our Baptism, and how powerfully we can help one another, through Christ, by our prayers.
The Church is a Divine Institution composed of sinful human beings on earth as well as Saints in Heaven and Holy Souls in Purgatory. To refuse to believe in the Church or the Papacy because some Popes were very sinful is as strange as to refuse to believe that public transport should be abolished because some conductors are immoral or that all schools should be shut because a few head-teachers prove unfit to be in charge of children.
St. Therese can be seen, raptuously praising God in Heaven because her relics have been used to inspire devotion to God. People feel close to her, are reminded of her holy life, and have greater confidence in her intercessions for us who still struggle on earth.
St. Therese of Liseux was overjoyed that her relics had inspired people to have greater devotion to God; yet the gaze of the faithful should eventually turn from relics to the Church's greatest treasure: Jesus Christ Himself, sacramentally Present in the Blessed Sacrament, in the tabernacle, as here, in Westminster Cathedral.
We celebrate all the souls of holy lives, on All Saints Day. Holy Patriarchs and Prophets have already reached Heaven. It's as if they are held in a Fire of Love, in ecstasy, in blazing light, as a mighty Breath sweeps their robes around them. They did what the Father asked of them rather than their own will. They had responded to the Spirit's promptings, out of love for the Father Who created them and calls sinners to repentance.
Helped by our prayers, offered in the name of Christ, the Holy Souls make their way towards Heaven. All those who are about to be welcomed into Heaven are by now carefree, purified, and no longer remorseful or saddened by their sins. They see Heaven as an undeserved free gift, so their hearts and minds are full of thanks and praise - just like the Saints whose company they are about to enjoy.
The whiteness of an alb represents the purity that a good priest should have; a very sinful priest is like an area of emptiness, from which the Holy Spirit has fled, leaving only darkness. How can sinful priests be helped, or holy priests kept pure? - By the intercession of the faithful, the Mother of God, and all the Saints, who petition God to help the Clergy.
The beauty and glory of Heaven is indescribable; yet we know that the blazing charity of the Saints, as they praise and thank the Blessed Trinity, is like a circle of flame around the awesome Godhead.
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