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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.
Christ our God teaches us, and helps us, through His Church; yet there are countless Catholics held back from holiness or lasting joy because of their fears: fears that, if they choose to believe and practice the Faith in its fullness, they won't be able to bear the loneliness, or persecution or ridicule, or lack of luxuries, or chastity, or the rejection of sinful pleasure; some fear God's future plans, unknown. Some fear having more children.
If we are tempted to give in to sadness or anger, but instead, take out the Rosary, and pray for people in great need, we grow in grace, and even save souls by our intercessions - through the grace of Christ and the prayers of His Holy Mother
Some people say: How can the Saints be happy, if they know that some souls are in Hell? Just as an adventurous person, centuries ago, risked death in the Wild West, because he longed for excitement, and took no notice of friends' advice, so some souls risk damnation for the excitement of sinful pleasures; they listen to no-one and will arrive in Hell unless they repent before they die; and the arrival will be their own choice.
When we have emerged from sinful ways, as if from underground, it is important to strive fervently to stay in the path which leads to the distant mountain of sanctity. Our aim is to reach - by God's grace - the glory of God in Heaven; so we should keep walking, pausing only to put right those things we have done wrong; and we must keep our minds on Heavenly things, not on past sins or temptations.
It is the Will of God that religious icons or paintings in any medium show out the limits of the Catholic Faith, even the sad ones which warn us to avoid the tricks and temptation of Satan or risk falling into Hell, by our own freely-made choices.
There is no room in a heart both for malice and charity. A person who acts with deliberate malice might be trying to be worldly or sophisticated, in imitation of some modern hero, but more often he is prompted by the evil one who delights in causing us to belittle, hurt, humiliate or terrify one another.
There are times in a person's life when he might not want to be separated from God, and so have opened the door of his soul by good thoughts, or prayer, but looking upwards, realises he has not yet gained the courage to make real changes in his behaviour. He can be powerfully helped by the prayers of people aware of his plight - by the grace of Christ.
Just as a conifer develops good health, and fruit, if it is well-nourished and watered, but dies if it lacks nourishment, or is poisoned by a neighbour, so the person full of grace produces good works, if nourished on prayer and the sacraments, but suffers spiritual death if it fails to take necessary nourishment of the sacraments or accepts the 'poison' which is the devil's temptations to sin.
The evil one is always trying to lead astray people who love Christ. If he cannot tempt them to sin, he tries to imitate Christ, to tempt them to believe in false teachings in prayer, or false visions, or to persuade them to develop a longing for special spiritual experiences. By trust in Christ and His Spirit, we can learn to discern what is evil and what is good.
St. Michael the Archangel swoops down in a great fire of charity to help or rescue those endangered friends and followers of Christ who have called upon him for protection against the evil one's assaults, or for help in overcoming temptations. He prays for us, and offers reminders of God's goodness, and of the hope of Heaven.
If the evil one wishes to cause distress, he will attempt any number of ploys, whether spiritual assaults to cause fear, or false visions, or a flurry of images to annoy the soul during prayer, or new and vigorous temptations to sin, or other trials. Trust in God is essential, and holy water is very helpful, as is the Name of Jesus - and Our Lady's prayers.
The soul of a person who lives to please and obey Christ is like a fertile valley. Although enemies might rain down missiles from above, behind the mountain tops, they cannot conquer, if that devoted soul relies on God's grace, given in prayer and the sacraments. This keeps the valley peaceful and beautiful, whether the enemies are the worldly-wise, or the demons who bring torments and temptations.
If the evil one sees a fervent soul, he will go to great lengths to seduce, disturb, frighten or mislead her. If he cannot tempt her to sin, he will try to mislead her with false visions of Christ or the Saints, or to terrify her by horrible imagery or apparitions; or, if Christ has spoken in prayer to that soul, the evil one adds a few words, as if from Christ, to confuse her.
It can be helpful to turn from habitual prayers to a Litany, or to Sacred Scripture. If our routine prayers are disturbed by assaults from the evil one, or unwanted images, temptations or suggestions, we can change our plans - not by, abandoning prayer, but by praying in another way, so that his plans are confounded; and we shall still give glory to God, and benefit our own souls and those of other people, as we remain in the 'bright cloud' which is God, our hearts full of love for Him.
This is a picture of a mind, as someone wonders if he can avoid a moral obligation. Although we can freely make any one of several decisions, in following a good career, or choosing a spouse, for example; yet when we are reluctant to act, in moral issues, we often see that there is only one way - Christ's Way - by which we can please God, do good, help others, and gain or re-gain our peace of conscience. He can give us the courage to walk where He leads us. We can avoid our kaleidoscope of temptations, and call on Christ to lead us: to holiness and Heaven.
Many people who sincerely love Christ and do His Will become the targets of the evil one. If he cannot tempt them to sin, he mocks them for their kindness, or their purity, and makes them endure salacious spiritual assaults of various types; yet all the time, Christ is close to such souls, supporting them in their trials. It's as if each of these faithful persons stands amidst piles of stinking rubbish, but is being held in the arms of Christ.
A person speaking in parliament to initiate or support immoral laws need not believe that he has won his case, or succeeded in changing matters, for ever. Justice will prevail in the end; and he himself will have to account for all his sins to the almighty Father whose laws he has ignored in order to promote what is merely popular, or easy to support.
God has made a Way, through His Son, Jesus Christ, by which we can walk straight towards Heaven, with His help. It is our duty to co-operate, in love, and to resist all temptations: all temptations to over-indulge in natural earthly pleasures, and temptations to indulge in perverted, evil actions and ways, hidden away in sin.
Some of the Clergy have become dispirited by the state of the Catholic Church, which is damaged by dissent, rebellion, disobedient laity, and some Bishops too timid to teach the Faith in its fullness. The great temptation is to walk away, to enjoy the world's pleasures. But Christ asks them to turn to Him, for the power to bring about renewal.
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