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There are a thousand ways in which the enemies of Christ try to draw us away from prayer, or from His service. Horrible images can be driven away by the use of Holy water and prayer, and the sign of the cross.
Even as we pray to Christ, offering our lives in His service and praying for help in our need, we can be certain that He is holding us, and all our concerns, close to His heart. Indeed, He is holding us in existence; and all that concerns us - life, family, work, friends, prayer, struggles, church - is of concern to Him too.
A government leader should be like a father, acting towards his people as a good father of a family acts, encouraging mutual understanding, and protecting them, always acting justly, in a spirit of service not pride.
At the Last Judgement, the Angels and Saints who have joined in the praises of Catholics at Mass will gaze upon those Catholics who used to pray with them but who stopped attending. They will look on with pity, as those unhappy souls realise how dreadful has been their carelessness in God's service - or as some souls finally turn away from God, to enter darkness.
It is a dreadful surprise, when a true follower of Christ approaches Him after death, only to discover that she had been fervent in prayer, but had neglected to help her neighbours and relations, or that she had been of service to the needy but had failed to praise and thank God for all His gifts. In Purgatory, the soul can be purified.
Some Anglican women do hear a call from God to full-time service amongst Christian people; but it is mistaken as a call to Priesthood, when it is not His wish that women be priests, nor that people believe that Anglican Orders are valid.
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.
It is a strange era, when some doctors provide a service to certain people, showing willingness to abort their female babies. The message they send out is a terrible message. "It is all right to kill your daughters, who are worthless, and will be a drain on your family".
Abortion, here in the UK, kills six hundred babies each day. It is a national tragedy, that a barbaric practice such as abortion is commonplace in England, funded partly by the National Health Service, permitted by legislation, carried out by doctors upon women who have chosen to have their unborn babies killed: swept out of sight, because inconvenient.
The Catholic Faith is simple. Through Christ, our Saviour, we can change. Every person on earth has decisions to make about his or her behaviour. Every decision forms part of a life in the service of God, or life in the pursuit of selfish endeavours, to the exclusion of God. Everyone will be judged, at death, on earthly behaviour - whether a housewife or doctor, cleaning lady, victim of crime, or criminal. Each finally reaches Heaven or Hell.
We are on a long climb, as if up a rope, on a cliff-face, in our efforts to reach Heaven in a state of holiness. We sometimes grow weary. We are in pain, or tempted to let go of the rope to enjoy some freedom from our daily routine of service. If we really let go - by deliberate mortal sin - we are doomed, except for a miracle. By faith and prayer, we can persevere to the top.
A person who deliberately commits grave sin, perhaps through becoming resentful or bored in the 'long haul' of ordinary life in Christ's service, is as foolish as a climber who lets go of his rope, in order to move towards something attractive seen in the distance. As a climber falls to his doom, unless by a miracle he is caught in mid-air, it takes a miracle of grace for someone in mortal sin to be converted, and saved.
Christ looks down from Heaven upon women who have had abortions. He longs for each one to repent of having allowed the precious little body of her baby to be thrown away like garbage. He knows that through repentance each one can receive forgiveness and peace from Him, and lead a fulfilling life in His love, and service, and in new hope.
In Christ's sight, a person is in a pitiable state who does not believe in the existence of God, or Heaven - or Jesus Christ, or Judgement. This means that such a person is ignorant of, or opposed to, the main purpose of life, which is union with God, in His service, both in this life and in the next.
A brave politician who is willing to defend innocent life by protesting against the misguided Government's provision of abortion 'services' is of the same mind as God on this issue, even if he is mistaken about less important matters in everyday life, and unclear about other matters of justice.
Many people have a poor understanding of the purpose of the Priesthood. It's as if they peer at these men through a great cloud of incomprehension, and yet expect Baptism, marriage services and burial. If more of the Clergy did what the Lord has called them to do - asking sinners to repent and to avoid Hell, and to accept the grace that leads to Heaven, people would understand them more clearly, and some would respect them for their courage.
Christ has called His priests to be apart, as He was, when He prayed on the mountain to His Heavenly Father. A priest must lead his flock along a narrow road, high into the peaks which lie ahead: peaks of sanctity. He can only lead if he himself is prayerful, and charitable and willing to bear hardship in the Lord's service.
If we try to escape the Cross, we merely flee into darkness. No Christian can expect to escape some sort of crucifixion, whether interior desolation and trials, and the dark nights, or persecution, or the knowledge of one's own sinfulness. The only way to sanctity and Heaven is upwards, with Christ, one with Him in crucifixion followed by Resurrection even in this life, to find fulfilment and joy in His service.
There is no easy way out of trouble. If a priest is very sinful, or dispirited and hopeless, and wants to escape from his misery, the only sensible way is by turning to Christ, beginning again to trust in Him, to repent, to pray, and to receive His gifts, for the service of God and neighbour, just as the only sensible way for a man in prison to act is to act well, until the door opens to freedom rather that try to dig a tunnel with bare hands through a brick wall.
Just as, in a cold, snowy street, the people are encouraged to be cheerful because of the unseen work of electrical engineers, gas suppliers and other who provide background services, so in the 'winter' of the Church in recent times, people who love Christ and the Church have helped to keep others cheerful, and hopeful, through fervent and sustained evangelisation and declarations of faith.
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