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It is the same attitude of total self-will that makes possible such evils as the torture and imprisonment of people because of their race, and the slaughter of little unborn babies because they are deemed inconvenient.
It is God Who has given each of us life, and various gifts, and promptings to do good. People who decide, on a selfish whim, to stop serving God and to fulfil their own selfish ambitions are like a chemist who, having been trained, and given responsible work to do, suddenly wanders off into the sunshine, leaving his work at a critical stage, and hindering and upsetting his colleagues. When millions act like this, we have today's world.
God gives us the gift of life, and wants us to appreciate the gift, not to bewail it and complain. It is not to be spent in self-indulgence, or in self-pity or inertia, but in doing good and giving joy, and so becoming joyful, and, by God's grace, ready for Heaven.
When we die, perhaps unexpectedly, a person is in one of three states: either standing in the Light of God, ready to enter Heaven, or still at the foot of the stairway to Heaven, so that our Purgatory will consist of necessary purification, or else still trapped, by our free choice, in a grossly selfish way of life: trapped in unrepented sin, unable to enter Heaven, and therefore in Hell for all Eternity.
God sees an extraordinary sight, as He looks down upon countless members of the Church who plan their own lives, according to their own ideas and desires, yet deign to give only a moment of their time, now and then, for prayer, unaware of His immense holiness, or His Sovereignty as well as His love.
There is a tremendous need for intercessary prayer. It is possible for the non-baptised to be saved, if they have never heard the Gospel but have persevered until death in doing good and avoiding evil; but many non-Christians have refused to believe in Christ. Others have committed grave sin and refused to repent. Others have mocked the Church or mocked her priests. Others have ignored the call of conscience, and followed selfish ways, knowing these were wrong. Thousands fall into Hell, everyday, alongside unrepentant Christians.
A selfish person, always determined to have his own way, whatever the cost to people in particular, or to society, is like a raging bull, ready to charge. He knows nothing of patience or charity. If he calms down now and then, it takes only a pinprick to make him bellow again. Only by Divine grace, and conversion, can that sort of nature be changed and made Christ-like.
Some souls lead lives of such resolute self-will that, instead of being full of Divine warmth and glory they are like snowy waste-lands, where the snow is frozen on the trees, or even like those places in Siberia where the permafrost never melts. These souls will need a lengthy purification in Purgatory - if they die in a state of grace; not mortal sin. Their love for God has grown very cold.
Some souls have not heeded the warning that the evil one, like a lion, prowls around seeking those he can devour. They do their own will, not God's Will, until death; then are horrified to enter the 'lion's mouth', which is the evil one's 'embrace'.
How to Pray: Stages of the Spiritual Life
This text is published as Chapters 7 and 8 of How to Pray (Part One: Foundations). An introduction to the life of prayer with much practical advice about how to deepen your prayer life. 7 ABOUT THE JO...
Autobiography of Elizabeth Wang, Appendix on Prayer
This text forms part of Elizabeth Wang's Falling in Love: A Spiritual Autobiography (1999). It tells the story of her life and of her spiritual journey as she came to know Christ and His Church. You ...
A Picture of a Faithful Diocese
A short piece of writing by Elizabeth Wang about how the Catholic faith can be lived and celebrated within a Faithful Diocese, and the responsibilities of all the faithful - and especially bishops - t...
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