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The Saints and Angels stand around Our Blessed Lady now, in Heaven, in awe of her privileges -- her Immaculate Conception, and her Assumption into Heaven - and in awe of her amazing holiness; yet she is as simple as a child, and kind, like her son, Jesus. We must not be afraid to approach her, to celebrate her feasts and to ask for her prayers.
No unbaptised baby will suffer after death. All the innocent babies who die by abortion, or in miscarriages, or in infancy, fall into the care of God. Though not praising God in glory with the Saints, they are held in God's love, in peace. It's as if they have fallen into a comfortable cot, held out in the loving hands of Jesus.
Our prayers 'in Christ' are very powerful! When we turn to a Blessed or a Saint in Heaven, asking for their intercessions, to help ourselves or other people, we can be sure that the Father hears their prayers whether we pray for a Bishop, a priest, a lay-person, or for departed souls. Grace is poured out upon souls, because of God's goodness, the merits of Christ, and our Faith.
We who love Christ are never left alone. When a devout soul dies, a person who loves Christ and has served Him in humility, it's as though only a short step will take that person into Heaven, assisted by a helping hand from the Saints who have gathered around the death-bed, to assist their friend.
Just as sailors at sea know how to 'batten down the hatches' and survive in a storm, because of some basic duties and basic wisdom, so must we hold fast to some Catholic 'basics' that will help us to remain faithful in all the storms of life. We need to know and love Christ, to turn to Him in prayer and in the Sacraments, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and Confession. If we study the Scriptures, and ask for the prayers of the Saints and Angels, and show love to our families and to the poor, we do well.
All who persevere in love, and enter heaven, find that the blind, the lame, the deaf are healed. No-one suffers shame in Heaven. All are forgiven; and they are as joyful as carefree children. And no-one is sick or disabled. They might bear visible wounds, as Jesus does; but the formerly blind now see, the lame walk, the deaf hear; and everyone - the Blessed Trinity, and all the Saints, and all the Angels - is beautiful!
In St. Joseph's shrine, in Missouri, for example, people of earlier centuries were immersed in Catholic imagery and culture. Absorbing it, they were helped to withstand the alien culture outside the places of worship. Today, we need to be so immersed; and since so many of our Catholic churches have been stripped bare of imagery, that is both inspiring and educational, God has provided both truth and beauty in the Radiant Light collection of pictures, in which anyone on-line can be immersed.
We should rejoice, if we have the relics of a Saint amongst us. We should ask for the prayers of the Saints, and receive their wonderful help, which is God's help poured through them. No matter how little-known some are, each Saint is now glorious in Heaven, and is a powerful intercessor for members of the Church: for those of us on earth, and for those in Purgatory.
When we turn to our friends, the Saints, to request their prayers for ourselves and our intentions, it's as if the Saints lead by the hand the one who prays, to bring her closer to God. It has been the delight of Christians, since the earliest days of the Church, to know that those who have gone before them, to Heaven, are alive in Christ, and praying for them.
Saint Michael is a powerful warrior, glad to protect God's children from the evil one: from temptation and spiritual assaults. We should turn to him in prayer, and to other holy Angels, and to the Saints, when we are in need of help, as well as to our Saviour and His Virgin Mother.
God gives us all sorts of help, in earthly life. When we turn to a favourite saint, to ask for his or her prayers, it's as though we have turned towards an elder brother or other relation about building a home, for example, if he were an architect. Christians are wise if they turn to the great experts in the Faith: the heroes and heroines who remained faithful and reached Heaven.
The fact that the Catholic Church is persecuted is a sign that she shares in the sufferings of her Master, as the True Church that has been criticised in every age. If the people of the world were to march past us, criticising Catholics, even the very last of the persons would have something bad to say about the Church; but the Church consists of the Saints and the Holy Souls too. We must not lose heart, but trust in the promises of our Saviour, and in His graces.
By our own freely-made choices, we alter our destiny. Those who persist in selfishness and sin, despite the help given by God to reflect upon their lives, and to turn to Him in contrition and trust, will find themselves led, at death, into total alienation and spiritual hopelessness, as if through a dark doorway, unlike those who have persevered in faith and love, and who are raised up in the glorious life of Heaven, to share the joy of the Saints, forever.
The Lord has a question for us. He invites us to look at a picture of the Saints who are gazing towards Christ in awe, love and adoration; and the Lord asks us: 'Are you ready to join them?' - by which He means: 'Have you been reconciled? Have you decided to lead a life of purity, holiness and charity?'
Even if they are kind to their friends, very many young Catholics cannot be bothered to pray, to give up their sins, to attend Holy Mass, or to show reverence, like the Saints. Many loll in an armchair to pray, without much respect or reverence, and then feel virtuous because they have spoken to God.
All the Saints love to intercede for us; and all of the Saints have loved Christ; but if we wish to seek special help for the Church we are wise to ask for the help of those Saints who have had a special love for Christ in His Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament - such as Saint Thomas Aquinas, or Saint Francis of Assisi who loved to prostrate himself in adoration before his Divine Saviour, in the monstrance.
Through the goodness of God the Father and the merits of His Son, our Lord, we can help the Holy Souls by our prayers, including those who usually have no-one to pray for them. We can help them towards Heaven, where they are greeted, and welcomed into glory, to join the Saints at God's Heart. It was with a similar welcome that Christ greeted the Saintly Souls, such as prophets and patriarchs, in the underworld, after His death and before His Resurrection; and He told them that their long wait was nearly over.
There are many places of pilgrimage which attract us, whether the sites of martyrdom of Christian heroes and heroins, or the shrines constructed over places connected with Our Lord, Our Lady or the Saints. The one great Destination where we should all yearn to arrive at is Heaven, which all who enter enjoy the love of God and the Saints, forever!
How to know Jesus Christ
Finding Christ, Finding Life: a talk by Elizabeth Wang, given at the French Church, Leicester Square, London, 2006. INTRODUCTION. You probably know that I’m an artist. The project I’m busy with, now...
Holiness, by Elizabeth Wang
This text is the complete version of the pamphlet entitled 'SPEAK ABOUT HOLINESS'. It is based on a talk given by Elizabeth Wang. Preface. This little book contains the full version of the text I wrot...
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