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A home where God's Will is believed and acted upon is like a lit cottage in a frozen landscape - so pleasing to God, but rare, in that there are few households even amongst Catholics where is found neither contraception nor abortion or pornography or adultery and where charitable speech and behaviour is the norm, by the grace of Christ. These bright households also care for their sick members if they can, including the elderly.
Some parents are automatically banished to a care home. Some people neglect their elderly relations, and lead busy and joyful lives even though their old parents are hundreds of miles away in poor accommodation, with little care and no luxuries. The Fourth Commandment is about honouring our father and mother, which means, no matter how old or frail they become.
When an angry and uncharitable person pours a torrent of abuse upon an innocent person, the effect upon that soul is as if a torrent of filthy water had surged into a home. It is important to sweep out that flood-water, which is the venomous phrases and insinuations causing distress, or they might stick in the mind, to fester, and cause spiritual sickness or self-pity.
We must never forget how powerful are the sacraments. Death is the 'cut-off' point: the moment in which we lose our ability to decide for God, or against Him. There are few death-bed conversions. Usually, as people live, so they die, either loving God or focussed upon their own desires. This is all the more reason for asking a priest to anoint a sick or dying person. Christ, through this holy sacrament, can free from sin someone who was about to fall into Hell.
We pray, in the Mass, "Save us from final damnation". It is Jesus Christ who calls out from our altar, across the Abyss which separates earth from Heaven, and asks the Father to save those who are present, or who are associated with the Mass, for example sick members. The Faithful Departed are the other people helped by His sacrificial prayer. Catholics who refuse to attend regularly or at all, are refusing to be present as Christ prays for them. They condemn themselves, by their attitude.
We can save souls, by the grace of Christ, through our prayers and sacrifices. No matter how sick we are, nor how feeble our efforts, if we offer up our prayers, and our pains as penances for people trapped in sin and in danger of falling into the Abyss (into Hell), and if we offer everything in union with Christ's Sacrifice, we join in His work of salvation.
It is Christ who is as work in us, and Christ Who deserves the praise, when He enables us to be charitable towards everyone and in every circumstance, whether praying for the dead and the bereaved, caring for the sick, celebrating other peoples' joy, or offering gentle words to someone who has been hurtful.
We are mistaken if we think that ours is a civilised age. There was a temple dedicated to pagan gods, near Christ's home town. Living creatures - even human beings - were thrown to their deaths, at the back of it, to persuade the gods to grant some favour. In our days, slaughter continues, though mostly hidden away. For the good fortune or convenience of many today, lives are sacrificed through abortion, or people are quietly killed if deemed sick, elderly and useless, or the chronic sick are helped to commit suicide.
Modern countries call themselves civilized. But they differ from those ancient cultures who offered human sacrifice only in that people today usually try to hide what they do. Unborn babies are routinely killed, supposedly to bring happiness to the mothers, and some elderly or sick persons are killed, to make life easier for other people: killed in modern hospitals, quietly, by professionals who defy God and ruin their own souls.
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'.
Europe is endangered by the immoral laws enacted there. Those who campaign for, or enact, or support immoral laws are as if digging a pit for the citizens of their countries. How can countries thrive, or set a good example, if they kill millions of their own number by abortion, and by legalising suicide, and by the killing of the sick and elderly by doctors, who are trained to heal?
The problem at the heart of many modern tragedies is that a person refuses to love his neighbour. This is true, whether soldiers burn the crops of terrified people, or healthy people treat the sick as a nuisance, or someone sets out with deliberate plans to make a person miserable. People who do such things ignore God's wishes. We need to examine our true intentions.
We are right to put prayer first - to put Christ first - no matter how busy our day. Whether we are religious sisters or mothers looking after sick children, we will do our work better and more cheerfully if it is underpinned with prayer. Blessed Mother Teresa insisted that her busy sisters had an hour's adoration each day.
The Mass is unique because the One Who gave it to us, Christ, is unique, amongst founders of world religions. He was conceived of a virgin, claimed to be one with God the Father, proved His Origin by the healings of the sick, raising the dead to life, calming a storm - and by His rising-up from the grave, after being unjustly and cruelly put to death.
It gives joy to the heart of God, to see people helping one another, and especially to see people with special needs being helped by kind friends, relations or parishioners. These needy people are those whom others would have thrown away, at birth, since so little respect is shown for the gift of life, and for individuals.
Just as Christ was touched by the people who lowered their sick friend through the roof, so that he could be healed, so He is touched when we bring our sick or sad friends to Him, through our intercessions. Through our faith, and His merciful love, people in need receive help, even if we cannot yet see the results.
No child, however tiny, and however sick, can be unnoticed by God, Who looks with love upon these infants as they suffer all sorts of illnesses and are even in danger of death, from very ordinary causes. God is holding them in His arms, whether they are allowed to live, or are brought through death into His loving care.
Someone exhausted or ill might feel so oppressed by a 'cloud' of weariness that she feels her prayers can barely rise up to Heaven. But the Father does hear her; and He is delighted that in her exhaustion or illness she still trusts in Him, believes in His love for her, and turns to Him in prayer.
We should be able to defend the Faith. It is not superstition. We believe in things Divinely revealed, but our faith is not unreasonable. God's beauty, power and laws are discernable in nature - including our nature and conscience. There is historical evidence for Christ's life; and His friends were transformed and made brave by His Resurrection. We have two thousand years of evidence - despite sins and mistakes - that Catholicism elevates society, marriage, government, education, treatment of the sick, and children, and brings peace, and hope of Heaven.
By trust, we help to build a good society. Christ set us an example by entrusting Himself to human care. He asks spouses to trust one another. He asks mothers to be worthy of their children's trust. He wants children to be able to trust their teachers, and the sick to be able to trust those who look after them; and the elderly too, even if they are not sick, should be with people they can trust.
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